This is an old post from my Livejournal, but I really like it and I think you guys might enjoy it too, so I figured I'd crosspost it here. :) I want to post more content like this on Dream Somehow as well as typical life posts and art updates, and I figured ths would be a nice way to kick-start that. :)
I saw the 'Rise of the Guardians' today in the cinema with my mum, and I'll spare you a spoilery review by simply saying that the I personally enjoyed it very much. The animation was beautiful, a particular scene near the end involving dinosaurs, of all things, was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The characters were a lovely spin on their original folk law/fairy tale selves, and there were no silly gags or Dreamworks!Popculture references in sight. I loved the film. It was magical.
Truthfully, though, having thought about it, it was so much more than that, to me. I spent the entire film with teary eyes and heavy heart. Yes, there were some tropes that could have been avoided and yes, the ending could have been far 'larger' and grander than it was, but there was an underlining theme to this film that forms a bit of an emotional trigger for me, and it's one that I'll happily embrace despite any flaws a film might have.
'Rise of the Guardians' is about belief. It's about that silly, 'childish' belief in magic and magical things that dissipates so quickly as we reach adulthood. That time when you believed in the Easter Bunny, in Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy? Those moments spent writing Christmas lists or carefully placing your tooth under your pillow? This film targets those exact moments in time, pinpoints that moment in your childhood where you believed, without question, in the existence of these beings. And that, right there - that belief in something magical, and special, and outside of our real world is something I'll defend well into my adulthood. Because it's real. They're real. All of them.
Maybe I'm at that ripe old age where I don't believe in Santa Claus anymore, but that doesn't mean he never existed. Right?
The truth is, I am highly emotional, I am extremely nostalgic and I am unreasonably, unflinchingly sentimental. Santa Claus to me was the magic on Christmas morning when I walked into the lounge and saw the pile of presents under the tree. He was the bells outside my window when I couldn't sleep, and the note thanking me for the mince pies and sherry on Christmas morning. The Easter Bunny was the mischievous sod who made treasure hunts that sent me all around the garden in the early hours, looking for eggs planted among the Spring flowers. He was the note that mentioned a 'Swedish family member', later revealing an egg hidden inside our family Volvo. The Easter Bunny, right there, is that memory; a clue I didn't understand as a child, a moment in time captured forever in that memory. I doubt my parents remember it, I doubt my dad recalls the night he wrote that particular clue. But it's here, forever, inside of me, stored away under the guise of Easter Bunny trickery. My adult self might 'know' the truth, but the memory doesn't have that knowledge. The memory never will.
And there were so many others. Firecracker, the stallion in the field opposite dad's cafe. I never saw him, not really, but I'd spend ages looking for him while sat in our car, waiting for dad to finish his business, as my mother pointed out that he's just there!, can't you see? And she'd tell me to look a little closer. I nearly saw him, I think. I caught glimpses of him, at least. It doesn't matter that I now know, in my grown up-addled state, that those fields never housed horses, or any livestock, for that matter. The knowledge I have now doesn't come into it. Firecracker is as real as any other childhood memory. The dragon breath that made the clouds turn red and pink in the evenings. The first star each night that actually answered wishes, should you ask. The pegasi that flew alongside the car when dad drove me places. The mysterious land my friend Amanda and I found across the stream and down a country alley.
I remember those things, I remember them happening.
If we're lucky, we believe in these things until we're about eight, nine years old. Maybe my judgment of modern children is wrong. Maybe it's far lower than that. I'm just using a ballpark number here, based on my own, most likely skewed, perspective. And, if we're lucky, we'll live to be in our 90s, maybe even reach the ripe old age of 100. That means we have nine years, out of ninety or a hundred, spent believing in something a little more. Only one tenth of our entire life will be spent believing in magic, and fairy tales, and superheroes, and bogeymen.
Isn't that disproportionate and sad? Shouldn't that mean we prolong the moments of innocence and magic for as long as possible?
Hell, I am a grown up. There's no avoiding that now. I'm barely a 'young adult' anymore, but there's still this pinch in my heart, a tiny unreasonable, ridiculous hole in my heart that screams to my creative, artistic, dreamer's mind; what if Hogwarts is real? What if the books and the movies were written as a coverup, the ultimate doublebluff? That J.K had known that something was up, all along? The same with The Doctor and his silly blue TARDIS. Is it all just a game? A daft ruse by the BBC to convince us it's just a TV show, yet all the while giving the facts right there, in our faces? What if The Doctor really is real?
If I can't let go one-hundred percent, even as a rational, questionably sane adult, why are so many people so utterly complacent that their children are losing their fairytale dreams? Is life too fast and too busy to waste time with silly stories when the children we tell them to will inevitably know the 'truth' eventually anyway? When our time believing is so unavoidably limited to those brief few years in childhood, maybe priority should be put on enabling the dreams and daydreams of our children. Maybe time should be spent dedicated to enriching the fantasies and silliness of fairytales and superheroes.
Life is fast, and life sure is busy, but it's also pretty short in the scheme of things. Childhood is just a fraction of that, and if we can't make it last any longer, why don't we make it so much larger?
I picked up this book on a complete whim after watching Kristina Horner's video review. I'm a sucker for a twist and absolutely hate being spoilered, so when I heard this book had a pretty major twist/spoiler in it, I just had to grab it and see what all the fuss was about before anyone ruined it for me!
'We Were Liars' is immediately entirely my cup of tea. I love young adult fiction, love teenage drama nonsense, and love over-privileged, rich white person silliness (see; Gossip Girl, 90210, Revenge). This book doesn't bathe in it or revel in it, though - through The Liars' eyes, we see the rich, All American family for how it 'truly' is, and it isn't very pretty even before the darker events in the book. First person and casual, Cady's voice instantly pulled me in. I finished this book in two baths (who doesn't mainly read in the bath?) because I was so invested in the story, in the mystery, in finding out the 'what' and 'why'.
I've never read an E. Lockhart novel before, but I really love the way she writes. I can absolutely see why a lot of people wouldn't be a fan of her writing, because it is extremely poetic in places, with fluffy obnoxious purple prose that I, personally, adore. Back when I actually wrote fiction myself (a degree in Creative Studies in English kind of knocked out my passion for writing, ironically), my entire 'deal' was long, fluffy prose. Lockhart uses absolute metaphors (bleeding, being shot in the chest), and a really informal structure wonderfully. She intertwines the story with fairy tales that increasingly reflect the real life world around Cady and it's all just so nicely done. Clever, too.
So, the twist. Suffice to say, guys....
~ *here be spoilers*~
I knew there was a big twist, which is, as I said, why I wanted to snap the book up right away. I wonder what it would have been like to read the book without that knowledge, because the punch to the gut I received on the reveal was enough even with that mental preparation.
I kind of saw it coming, in an entirely wrong kind of way. Because I knew there was a big twist, I started imagining the most random things, but one of the things I immediately thought was "I bet Cady's dead." It would have been very Sixth Sense, it would have explained why The Liars didn't reply to her or care about her all summer long (I mean, really? Why wouldn't they otherwise? Their friend was ill and away and sad.) But as the story went on, and it seemed more and more unlikely that Cady was dead. It never occurred to me once, however, that The Liars were dead instead.
It was horrible. I finished the book during a game of Civilisation: Beyond Earth and as I read the ending, I'd absolutely stopped paying attention to the game. I cried. I felt like I'd been cheated somehow, that I'd been lied to.
Which was entirely the point, I suppose.
I immediately reopened the book and flipped through random pages, any pages that featured The Liars alongside other characters, constantly amazed that there actually hadn't been any interaction throughout the entire book. Of course there hadn't, because The Liars hadn't really been there. In fact, there was only one real moment that stuck where Cady even mentioned The Liars to anyone else - to the Littles, asking if they went out on the boats with Johnny last year. Their response was simply a "no". It made sense at the time, and made more sense on reflection.
It never felt weird - The Liars hadn't gone to dinner because they hated the Aunties and the horrible family affairs, for example. It made sense. And as I flipped through the book, I started to pick up on things. The haunted house. Carrie wandering at night, crying. Will's nightmares. Why Mirren hadn't received the doll Cady sent her (signed for, by her mother, but of course, never received). Why nobody replied to her emails, which seemed so cruel and out of character. It also explained the other things, the messy house, the scrabble tiles, the lies they told about where they were and what they'd done during her blackout days. If they were ghosts apparating simply for Cady's benefit, they wouldn't have been around to do anything while she was asleep, so when they appeared and were suddenly questioned, they came up with nonsense, lies, anything to keep up the pretence for Cady.
It was, on reflection, heartbreaking. They did it for Cady, because they loved her (and they told her as much, over and over). It was tiring, it was hard. This was a part that got me, from Johnny:
"And honestly, Cady, I love you, but I'm fucking tired. I want to lie down and be done. All this happened a very long time ago, for me."
It made it all so much worse. We were living with these guys, loving them, learning what made them tick and they were so alive and real as we read. In the space of a page, you learn that it was all a lie, that they're not only gone, but have been dead two years. We feel cheated. We feel heartbreak. Gat, her Gat, who isn't her Gat because he can never be her Gat. It all made sense before the reveal, and then it made so much more sense after. What a horrible story. It was beautiful, and it was horrible.
I don't know if this book has a movie deal yet but crikey, it'd make an extremely beautiful, haunting film. It's perfect movie material, and I'd be first in line to watch the reveal again on the big screen, ready for the punch to the gut.
It's been a week, is that long enough for spoilery discussion? I'm very paranoid about this sort of thing (I hate being spoiled on things myself, so I refuse to do it to others if I can help it) so I'd like to make sure. But with the second episode being shown tonight, I figured it's about time I mentioned the brand new series of Doctor Who, and my thoughts on Mr. Capaldi as our newest Time Lord hero.
Just to be sure, though....
Man, I still don't like River Song.
Anyway, last weekend marked Capaldi's debut as the Doctor, and I've been pretty good at avoiding spoilers about what sort of a Doctor he's set to be. I'm not very aware of his previous work as an actor, but I instantly warmed to the idea of him when I saw his old fan letters to the Radio Times and realised that this was a role he was truly passionate about. As lifelong ambitions go, 'playing The Doctor' isn't one many people get to experience, so the guy must be giddy to tick this one off his bucket list.
For most the episode, we really didn't get to experience Capaldi's Doctor. He took the regeneration a lot harder this time around and spent a big chunk of the episode falling around, babbling nonsense and generally scaring Clara half to death. Madam Vastra (who, along with Jenny and Strax instantly make any episode 100% better) chastised Clara on her reaction to the Doctor's new face, and I must admit, I took issue with her heavy handedness about it. I get why they were doing it, I guess - to drum it into the viewers also that we also mustn't immediately judge Capaldi on his older looks, but there was far more going on than a change of face and I entirely understand why Clara was so put out about the whole thing. If he'd come out of the TARDIS looking like Capaldi but acting like Matt Smith? I don't think Clara would have had much concern, but instead, our first glimpse of the newest Doctor is kind of alarming. He acts like an old man suffering with dementia, remembers nothing, gets people confused and generally doesn't convince us he's the same old lovable Doctor we've grown to know these past few years.
Of course, that's all temporary and by the end of it, he's acting more Doctor-ish and less worrisome. He's still not quite there, still learning who he is, but as the episode progressed he found his footing quite well. And from what little we saw of that, I really like him! He reminds me in a lot of ways of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock - unsurprising I suppose given Moffat - and the bizarreness is refreshing against Matt Smith's wackier ways.
Speaking of Matt Smith, I quite liked the telephone call at the end. I never thought I'd accept Matt Smith all that much given my huge ridiculous love of Tennant's Doctor, but seeing him again made me realise I'll miss his Doctor a heck of a lot. Again, I think it was a way of coaxing us, the viewers, into the transition as much as Clara. It's sad that Capaldi, being such a departure from the run of "young sexy" Doctors, needs these constant reminders, but I suppose there's a whole generation of people now that forget or just plain don't know Doctor Who's origins, and don't realise he's not actually meant to be a young sprightly young man. I quite liked Vastra's explanation; "You might as well flirt with a mountain range.” Ten/Rose aside (says I, the huge Ten/Rose fangirl), it's nice to remind people that he's not just a young sprightly wacky man pulling all the ladies. He's something far, far different, alien indeed, which is probably why I've always enjoyed the moments when he shows that - his darker, morbid moments full of long purple prose about dying stars and humanity's frailness.
I've heard a lot of people rage a little about this new woman, who called the Doctor her boyfriend, clearly being set up to be part of the series' arc. I personally got more of a 'crazy' vibe from her, that she's not the next River Song (please!) but in fact someone with a far darker association with the Doctor. Who knows! I suppose we'll find out over the course of this series, if Moffat doesn't do his usual trick of vomiting up some convoluted plot full of grand ideas and grander plot holes.
It was pretty solid episode, even if the teaser with the dinosaur was entirely misleading. I can't wait for the rest of the series - I'm so glad Doctor Who is back! For now, though, here's a .gif of Strax smacking Clara over the head with a newspaper, which was quite possibly the best part of the episode.
Moose doesn't really seem to care about having big plans on his birthday, but in my family, a birthday is always a thing to be celebrated! It's a chance to lap it up, be spoilt rotten and generally have a good time! All for just being born! What's not to love? So while he was ready to simply meet up with friends and have a few drinks, I decided to book a little surprise. I was fortunate to find out about an exhibition called Digital Revolution over at the Barbican in London. I didn't really know what to expect, some reviews said it was a little gimmicky but everything I read sounded like the sort of dorky fun we'd enjoy, so I went ahead and booked us tickets, and I'm really glad I did!
The exhibition is sort of divided up into three different sections. The first was a really nice display of old vintage computers, consoles and gaming systems. What was extra nice was that it wasn't just all the standard retro stuff, it had things like an original version of Conway's Game of Life, JODI and Manic Miner, as well as random extras like working Speak & Spell machines! The first room was packed with consoles and computers including the original Tomb Raider, Pong and Pac Man. There were also a bunch of very small games I'd never heard of, but no doubt had been instrumental to game development back in the 1970s and 1980s. Kind of wishing I bought a manual, now!
The exhibition went on to show various ways in which we use computers and technology in media with behind the scenes looks at How To Train Your Dragon, Gravity and Inception. It also had a pretty nifty area dedicated to Minecraft, complete with interviews by Notch and Yogscast!
As we went on, things got a little strange!
These birds were a strange exhibit where you could ring a number specific to each bird, and it'd call them up! And they'd dial up, clock in and respond to you! The whole bird was made out of mobile phones, right down to their wing "feathers". It was really neat!
There was an emphasis on digital art and representation, which included some nifty camera action and special effects....
My favourite part of the visual section was a part where they had three screens behind a small body of water. Each screen had your shadow projected onto it, and the shadow changed depending on what you did and how you interacted with it. In the first scene, if you lifted your hands to the sky, the shadow would create birds that would fly down and land on your hands, and eventually you would fade away as they sort of pecked away at you. The second scene was similar only this time, the birds landed on you. The third screen was the best, though!
The shadow literally gave you wings! I gotta admit, I actually got a little emotional here! You didn't just lift your arms in the air - if you just raised your arms, you'd be left hanging awkwardly. Instead, you had to sort of throw them upwards which, accompanied by a huge woosh-ing sound, erupted these gorgeous feathery wings from your arms. And they moved pretty realistically too, folding the way they would fold if they were real. I left the exhibit with the desperate need to create a winged humanoid character because, man, I got all emotional and silly! I want feathery wings, dangit!
There was a mini section devoted entirely to indie games, where we got to sit around playing various titles like Thomas Was Alone, Fez, There Shall Be Lancing and Cave Story, among many others! Actually made me really excited for Eurogamer next month! There was also a smaller section downstairs where the whole room was dark and lit by lasers which reacted to your motion and "touch", so you could form shapes with them or push them around to each other. Pretty neat, but not it didn't hold our attention very long sadly.
The whole exhibition was really fun, and a really good way to spend a couple of hours in London doing something different and nerdy. I think the show's still going on until September so you've a chance to pop down and see if you want!
We celebrated the rest of Moose's birthday by catching Guardians of the Galaxy (absolutely awesome) in Wimbledon's Imax, hanging out with friends in London, nomming at Bodean's (killer 'Real American' food) in Soho, and stalking the Inbetweeners 2 red carpet premier (though the girl in the front of the crowd didn't much appreciate my shouting "I CAN SEE THE ONE IN GLASSES!" - well excuuuuse me if I don't watch the show!)
Last week, my parents and I went to see a performance of Singin' In The Rain at he Bristol Hippodrome! It was absolutely incredible! I've actually never seen the movie (I know, for shame!) but I'm a sucker for old musicals and I knew it'd be right up my street. I'm just itching to watch the film now because the show was just so darn good! The whole troup as a whole was probably one of the strongest I've seen on stage, the leads were incredibly talented and the guy playing Cosmo (Stephane Anelli) was absolutely perfect for the role, had me laughing like a loon the whole time and just seemed hand picked directly out of a 1950s comedy. He was perfect. The others were great too, James Leece playing Don Lockwood had a voice to die for, and of course, they could all dance!
The show features thousands of litres of water raining down from the sky, leaving the actors dancing on inches of water during that iconic number and scene. The front row became a literal splash zone (I'm sure the actors purposefully try to get people soaking wet with their swooshy dancing!)
Seriously wonderful performance. If you have a chance to catch it on tour I totally recommend it. I'd watch the show again in a heartbeat! For now, I think I'm going to hunt down a DVD of the original movie instead.
I spent so long being in the closed beta for Wildstar, under a heavy NDA that I've attuned myself to not talking about it even though the NDA's been lifted! Wildstar's a game I've been interested in since I saw the very first trailers and teasers years ago. It's an MMO, which is a game genre I'm not actually a huge fan of, but I wanted to give it a go because the humour and art style was just so great!
Moose actually received a beta code on Christmas Eve, so by Christmas Day we were playing around on it. The two factions are Exiles ('good' guys) and Dominion ('bad' guys) - and as soon as I saw the Dominion videos, I was sold. They're classy, cultured and sophisticated. Which is, of course, why I play a Chua.
Chua are the Dominion's 'animal race'. They're sort of crazy chipmunk-hamster-chinchillas, with a penchant for explosions and murder. They're the shame of the Dominion, who keep them around for their engineering prowess, but I think they're just adorable and swell.
As I said, Wildstar is an MMO, but it has something I've not found in other MMOs; actual combat. This is the main reason I'm sold on it, to be honest, and why I'm giving it a real go despite having never enjoyed an MMO before. You don't just click a bad guy, apply a type of attack and wait. The combat is action-based. You dodge, double jump, sidestep and run around the enemies, apply stuns and knock-ups and skillshots while dancing around them. It's crazily mobile.
Sure, there are some grindy aspects to it. There's a lot of tasks that are 'collect 20 these' and 'kill 20 that's, but the graphic style, humour and additional gameplay aspects save it, I think. I've not played any high level stuff yet (my highest character is a level 25 Chua) but what I've seen so far, I love a lot. Also, you can have your own house. That you decorate yourself in any way you like, right down to the wallpaper and carpets. It's like The Sims, but with extra explosions.
Anyone else playing, or thinking of picking it up? The game's got a couple more closed beta days left, and then it's released officially on June 3rd! Can't wait!
A while ago I had the privilege of working for a company called Soapasaurus, who produce gorgeous, often nerdy themed soaps that smell so good. Like me, they attend a lot of conventions around the country, and they've created a My Little Pony character called Bubble Bright to feature on some of their labels! This 'Spring' themed soap is wonderful, featuring an adorable Easter Egg design (seriously, how cute is that??) and they describe the scent as "A fresh and green floral fragrance with cucumber skin and watery notes of refreshing melon on the top. Supported by a rich floral accord of rose, lily and cyclamen enhanced by fruity, peach musk accents". So good!
Soapasaurus have many other wonderful products, including Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft and Pokemon inspired soaps! The Doctor Who soaps are Rose scented for crying out loud! These guys rock, and I seriously suggest you all try 'em out and give Lush a run for their money! All of their soaps are 100% Vegetarian too!
This post is not sponsored! I've created work for Soapasaurus (and will hopefully have the pleasure of doing so again!) but all opinions are my own. And in my opinion, they rock. So there. Buy soap! Be clean! Smell great!
That Reaperfox girl...
Hello! I'm Selena, aka Reaperfox, and this is Dream Somehow, my little home on the internet. This blog is dedicated to my adventures and my daily nerdy life!
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