Sunshine Blogger Award

Thanks to Ellie at Blogging for Dopamine for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  Ellie is another nerdy girl who blogs about books, gaming, and science.

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For this award, the rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions set by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and then write 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger award logo in a post/on your site

My award images are kind of taking over the whole side of my blog now, so I’m thinking of moving them to my About page.

Aaaand the questions from Ellie:

  1. Are you hooked on any particular TV show at the moment? What is it?

The only two current shows I’m really watching right now are The Expanse (great space sci-fi) on SyFy and Into the Badlands (martial arts epic) on AMC.  I’d definitely recommend both.

I’m also always watching Asian dramas on Netflix; my recent favorites are Hello, My Twenties and Descendants of the Sun, the latter of which I would recommend to anyone.  It’s probably the best Kdrama I’ve ever seen.

2. What was the last book you read? How did you find it?

The last complete book I read was Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I read it all in one day, and it was an entertaining read; I liked the characters and some concepts, but it lacks the wit and depth of the original.

I am currently in the middle of The Princess Bride by William Goldman, which is wonderful, just like the movie.

3. Battle of the entertainment mediums! Which is your favourite – books, TV, films, comic books, video games, tabletop games etc.?

Books!  I could not live without books.  (And 99% of the time, the book is better than the movie anyways.)  But I also greatly enjoy all those other media, especially comics/manga and games.

4. Is there any fictional character you have always wanted to be? Who?

Hmmm, I’m not really sure. I guess my fake namesake, Meiling Li from Cardcaptor Sakura.  Also, I would love to be Belle from Masqueone of my favorite Beauty and the Beast retellings.  She just seems to be so full of life and on top of things.

5. Science or technology?

Well, I am “science” and my husband is “technology,” so I get plenty of both in my daily life. 🙂

6. Have you ever read a book that you felt was written just for you? What was it?

I have read many books where I felt it was just the right time for me to be reading it.  But I’m not sure I’ve ever felt a book was written just for me.

7. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Pasta!  I love to eat plain noodles with a little butter and parmesan cheese.  It would take me a really, really long time to get sick of it.

8. Can an adaptation ever be better than the original?

Sure!  Some stories and some visions are just well-suited for a certain medium.  Even movie adaptations of books can improve on them, giving needed editing and streamlining while adding visual interest.  Some movies I think were better than the book: The Jane Austen Book Club and The Help.  I could make an argument for Catching Fire and The Princess Bride, too.

9. Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

Probably Marissa Meyer, whom I met on a tour for her book Heartless.

10. What’s your favourite season?

Probably summer, because I love warm weather best.  But I will say that Ohio’s best season is unquestionably fall.

11. Share one of your favourite quotes!

“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”

This is a line from A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin.  I’m going to embroider it on a pillow or something someday.  Like Arya, I repeat it like a mantra for strength.

No nominations from me this time because I’m just too busy, but feel free to consider yourself tagged if you’d like to answer these questions, too!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

From County Kerry.

The view from Cahergal Ring Fort included a surprise preview of Ballycarbery Castle out by the water.  Amid the modern houses, the 16th century ruins still stand tall.  We visited the castle immediately after the ring fort; you can see some closer images of the ruins here, here, and here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

GeekyNerdy Book Club: As You Wish

51aluqonyfl-_sx329_bo1204203200_This installment of the GNBC features As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.  It is a memoir by Cary Elwes (who played Westley in the film) about his time spent making that film.  If you have never seen The Princess Bride…well, first of all, you should go see it, because it’s wonderful and funny and appeals to so many types of people.  But obviously this book is intended for fans of the movie, and as I consider myself one, I enjoyed it greatly.

I have been a fan of Cary Elwes in many roles, including his turn as a thief on Psych, and his role as a Robin Hood with an English accent.  He has always seemed like a very charming man, and consequently his book is very charming.  He comes across as very modest and gracious, (mostly) level-headed but with a spirit of joy in life.

I’ve never read a memoir from a film set before, so it was very interesting to me to learn not just about The Princess Bride, but how all movies are made in general.  Shooting on location, training, stunts, cast interactions, the whole process.  For example, the very first scene Elwes shot was the Fire Swamp, which involved setting Robin Wright (Buttercup)’s dress on fire, and then later practically improvising the stunt where Westley dives headfirst into the quicksand (he was originally just supposed to jump in feet-first).  He also trained with fencing professional for months to be able to do the swordfight scene with Inigo.  I was constantly telling my husband (also a fan) all these little tidbits I was learning as I went along.

The book also makes frequent use of perspectives from the other cast members (Fred Savage, Christopher Guest, Christopher Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, etc.), the director Rob Reiner, and the writer William Goldman (who also wrote the original book).  Everything that everyone says just gives you a sense that they all had such a good time making this film, that they put so much love into it, and it has a very special place in their hearts.  I think it really shows in the finished product.  Because of this happy energy, it is a fun, light read, and because of the format of vignettes and anecdotes, it is very easy to pick up and put down if you don’t have much time for reading.

The book covers many of the famous scenes from the movie, as well as some behind-the-scenes things, and it even covers a little of the release of the movie.  I always kind of figured The Princess Bride was considered a “cult classic,” because I had never heard of it until I was in high school, and the book outlines why this is.  Upon its release, the studio had trouble marketing it, apparently because of the mix of genres, and though the initial audience reaction was great, the movie basically flopped.  But once it started making its way onto VHS and getting spread by word of mouth, its popularity picked up,eventually becoming such that the cast had a 25th anniversary reunion screening at the Lincoln Center in 2012.  The movie is now thirty years old and just as popular as ever.

I think this book will definitely change the way I see the movie the next time I watch it.  I will now never be able to NOT think about the fact that Westley is actually getting knocked out by Count Rugen (no acting required!) and that he had a broken toe in some scenes, etc.  It does kinda pull the veil of movie magic back a bit, but I still find it entertaining, just in a different way.

Reading the memoir also inspired me to start reading the original novel, which I am also really enjoying.  Even just getting through the author’s forward is an entertaining journey.

Next time on GNBC we will switch back to fiction, so keep an eye out for a new pick soon.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Security

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From Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Dún Aonghasa, or Dun Aengus, is a highly defensible prehistoric fort on a small Irish island.  You can see some of the fort’s walls to the upper right.  One side of the fort is a 100m cliff face, and the other sides are protected by several rings of walls.

The rocky ground of the island was very useful in mining for defenses for the fort, including the walls and also this kind of cheval de frise shown sticking up here.  One would imagine its inhabitants felt as secure as possible here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Security

Movie Review: Your Name (Kimi no Na wa)

Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) was the biggest movie in Japan last year—it is now the fourth-highest grossing film of all time in that country.  It was technically released for one week in LA last year, in order qualify for Oscar consideration…an then it wasn’t even nominated.  Luckily, it was brought back to US theaters this weekend, where I was able to see it.

A synopsis of the story from Google:

The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint. When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, something shifts, and they seek each other out wanting something more – a chance to finally meet.

And here’s the English trailer (you can find the Japanese one here):

It’s easy to see why this movie was so popular last year.  The animation is gorgeous, and the story is a great mix of genres, with a feeling I would call bittersweet, tinged with hope.  I think even people that don’t normally like “anime” would like this movie.

I’m not sure how long Your Name will be in theaters, but I’d definitely recommend seeing it while you can.  I was able to find a theater only 30 minutes away from me showing it in both dubbed English and Japanese with subtitles.  (I’m sure it will be out on DVD soon, too.)

I saw it with subtitles and loved it. As always, there are some things that just won’t translate well. There’s actually a really funny scene where Mitsuha has switched into Taki’s body and speaks to his friends using “watashi,” and when they give her a weird look for using such a feminine form, she starts cycling through pronouns until she arrives at “ore,” which they finally accept as normal.

There’s plenty of other humor, too, which is a nice balance for the pathos of the story. No spoilers, but it ends up being way more complex than a simple teenage body-switching story.

The last thing I want to mention is the music!  As you can hear from the trailer, the music is done by a J-rock group named RADWIMPS, and it is amazing.  You can stream the soundtrack several places, including Spotify.  There are even English versions of the songs from the movie.  Definitely check out the opening song “Yumetourou,” the ending song “Nandemonaiya,” and the theme heard in the trailer “Zenzenzense.”

You can also check out the MV for “Sparkle” here with clips from the movie.

Hope you all enjoy this one as much as I did!