There's so much to catch up on! I've been seeing movies, reading books, living love, etc., etc., etc! Keep an eye out for posts soon on the Summer of '10, Into the Now circa 2010, and others.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief - Grade: C. Eh. The book was better. But isn't it always? *le sigh* They did cool things, not all the actors sucked; I enjoyed myself.

Letters to Juliet - Grade: A-. This movie was cute. I like that she's getting away from role in Mean Girls, though let's be honest, I struggled sometimes to keep that image of her out of my mind. But she's not a bad actress. The storyline was very heartfelt, and I liked this movie. Would I see it again? Hrmmm, dunno. But once was okay.

How to Train your Dragon - Grade: A+. This was a wonderful movie. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Laughed, may or may not have cried, really got emotionally involved. This movie was simply wonderful.

The Last Airbender
- Grade: F. F is for Fail. This movie was AWFUL. Horrible. A complete disappointment and thoroughly, thoroughly upsetting. As an avid lover of the cartoon series, I was hopeful. It's not a book, so they can hopefully get it right. The previews were breathtaking and really exciting. And then... No. *shakes head* IT was my man M. Night too, so I was super looking forward to this movie. I mean, how much did I LOVE Lady in the Water? In a movie where you mispronounce the main character's name from the get-go, you know it's going to be bad. Katara was too wimpy, and cry-babyish, and Sokka?! I mean, could they have been any more OFF? Ruined. Just ruined. The only characters they got RIGHT were Momo and Appa. Oh wait, that's because they are played by the same person in both the animated and live action. Figures. Yeah, HATRED for this movie.

House of Wax
- Grade: C-. Ew. This movie was gross. I'm not a big fan of horror, but this movie was on tv and caught my eye. But then it was gross too. Blood and fingers being cut off and what not. And then the storyline was just stupid. Like really? That's... that's the basis for the premise. Boo. Be a little more creative next time.

The Goonies!!! - Grade: A+. How can you NOT love this movie!? CLASSIC!!! "Heyyyyy youuuu guuuuuuys!" Turtle had never seen it, can you believe?! She lived under a rock when she was little. Serious. Such a great adventure movie. Indiana Jones for kids.

District 9 - Grade: A. What a heavy-hitting movie! Definitely wasn't expecting that. Was thinking something Independence Day-ish, and instead got this confrontation of social and racial issues now facing us shrouding in "aliens." Such a good movie (Turtle cried!) lol. I'd recommend everyone see this at least once.

Ponyo - Grade: B-. Meh. As always, the cinematography was breath-taking. Just gorgeous. Wasn't a big fan of the storyline though. Miyazaki has much better films than this one; which was kind of disappointing since it was "his last." I guess I'll console myself in the fact that his son is off to a brilliant start.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- Grade: A. Not going to lie, I was nervous about seeing this movie. I'm not the biggest Michael Cera fan; the type of movies he's in aren't the kind of movie I particularly enjoy. Most times I think the humor is crude, the storyline overly weak, and... I'd just rather not. I was quaintly surprised. This movie taped into everything I embody as a Classic Gamer. Any of you who were gamers back in the day - original mario and zelda for the nintendo - should definitely give this movie your investment. You'll be pleasantly pleased.

Predators - Grade: B. We all know I'm a huge Aliens v. Predators fan, even though the 2nd one sucked. So when I saw a new one was out, I wanted to go see it. When it came to the Dollar Theatre, I made the trip. It was worth a dollar. The last person I thought would see the movie went with me. Turtle. Way to break out of your shell girl! She thought the movie was super gross and bloody and repeatedly squealed, which made it all the more exciting for me. :) It was a decent storyline, especially the twist. Pretty good.

The Road - Grade: A-. One of the better book-to-movie adaptations. Well done, believable, heart-breaking. Turtle bawled. A very gritty story. I didn't have any problems with the actors either, and all the important book elements I felt were brought into the film.

Precious - Grade: A. Nominated for and winner of multiple awards; this movie caught my attention before I knew anything about it. The movie is not for the faint of heart, or anyone who has reservations about language or sexual content. The movie is openly raw and real, with some of the best acting and documentation of the real I've seen. I applaud this movie for its courage in bringing to light issues many turn their backs on in favor of ignorance.

Grave of the Fireflies
- Grade: D. The critical acclaim for this movie drew me to rent it. Roger Ebert claimed: "It belongs on any list of the greatest war movies ever made." Pretty lofty claim. It wasn't Miyazaki or his son, but I thought we'd give it a try. Result: Bleh. The movie was awful. The storyline was completely unnecessary and could have been averted at any point if the main character hadn't been so stubborn. Rather than highlighting the awfulness of war, it simply accented the stubbornness of a boy who ended up killing his sister because he was stupid and prideful. I wouldn't put this movie on any list of war movies.

Shelter - Grade: C. A lot of my friends talk about how this is their favorite "gay" themed movie. So I finally gave it a go. Blah. The storyline was flat, the characters transparent, and the steamier scenes weren't even scintillating. I wasn't impressed. Prayers for Bobby was 100x better.

Skeleton Key - Grade: A+. This one has been on my list for a long time. I'm not super into scary movies, but this one caught my eye and I wanted to see it. So glad I did. The movie has a twist in it that was super 6th Sense. Like you get to the end, *cue twist*, and you're left going WHOAAAAAAAAA. My brains are on the floor in a heap. Good times with this movie.

Invictus - Grade: C-. Eh. I'm not too into sports movies, but this won awards I guess, and had really good actors. And to top it off, the movie was completely anti-climactic. Which I guess if you're covering a "true" story, you can't stray too far from what really happened. But I was just waiting for the rally, the break-away, the heart-pounding rush of an exuberant win. And then it was just eh. Not such a fan.

The Blindside - Grade: A. This movie is everything people say it is. Heart-felt, powerful, hopeful, and inspiring. What a great mom. This is the kind of true story that SHOULD be a movie.

More on the way!

I have so much to be thankful for in my life it's hard to know where exactly I should start. I'm not going to cover everything by any stretch, but a montage nonetheless will be nice. :) I'll stick to 50.

I am thankful to be alive.
I am thankful to not know want.
I am thankful for my friends; you help keep me going.
I am thankful to have a wonderful job, and a stellar boss who is unbiased.
I am thankful for my family. Especially my imperfect parents.
I am thankful that my sister is doing so much better and will graduate soon.
I am thankful to have a warm bed, clothes, nice things, and food.
I am thankful I have the freedom to do what I want.
I am thankful for Veterans :P
I am thankful for Jessica. She will always be interconnected with my path.
I am thankful for struggle.
I am thankful for heartache.
I am thankful for difficulty.
I am thankful for suffering.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have to grow and better myself.
I am thankful for the support I receive.
I am thankful to not be alone.
I am thankful to know who I am.
I am thankful for HONESTY.
I am thankful for courage.
I am thankful to be gay.
I am thankful for my heart.
I am thankful for love which knows no bounds or discrimination.
I am thankful for elements.
I am thankful for great writers who can't help telling stories.
I am thankful for the internet, so I can blog this. :)
I am thankful for heat.
I am thankful to be able to walk, run, and swim.
I am thankful for (can't believe I'm saying this) Utah.
I am thankful for my friends (again).
I am thankful for late nights, good conversation, and memories.
I am so thankful for memories.
I am thankful for chapstick.
I am thankful for leaves.
I am thankful for belief, and its power.
I am thankful for human consciousness and interaction.
I am thankful for Cheese.
I am thankful for music, in all its varieties.
I am thankful for the ability to express myself, with emotion, poise, and dignity.
I am thankful for language and all its nuances (Wordsex!).
I am thankful for the role models, influences, and people who have helped me achieve so much and be where I am today.
I am thankful for my EU Ladies (LoLo, TikaRika, Brandiline, and KeriBeri)
I am thankful to not have debt.
I am thankful for organic food (bunnies!)
I am thankful for the power of literature in my life.
I am thankful for battery-powered lights so I can see in my dark closet.
I am thankful for faith and worship, in all their forms.
I am thankful for BOOTS. Especially new ones! Yay!
I am thankful for my siblings.
And I am thankful to be able to give thanks.

Happy Dia de Gracias everyone! Please remember how and why you are blessed, not just this day - but always. Muah.

This post has been in draft form since MARCH. LOL. So YAY for having INTERNET!!! Now I can blog. With vengeance. While I wasn't internetting, I *was* reading. So here come a slew of books, watch for another 11 very, very soon!

Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon - Grade: B+. I enjoyed this book, though at times I had trouble getting through. Was definitely able to put this one down, unfortunately. But overall liked the characters and the plot.

Rick Riordan's The Titan's Curse (Book 3 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A. Rick Riordan bounces back in the third book of his series. I had no trouble with this book, and may even have shed a tear or two. The characters are becoming more and more believable, and I think I love them. Nicely written.

Timothy Carter's EVIL? - Grade: A+. Not a sequel, or a series, but I read Epoch for Kerry when I was playing Intern. Epoch was a decent read, but EVIL? outdoes it by LEAPS AND BOUNDS. Hilariously brilliant, irreverent and ingenious all at once, this book had me in stitches. And it humorizes sensitive and otherwise untouchable-with-a-ten-foot-pole-by-conservatives subjects in a playful and appropriating way. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a little humor who doesn't mind talk of homosexuality and pubescent teenage boys' favorite solo activity ;)

Rick Riordan's The Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A-. Riordan just can't seem to make up his mind, can he? Book 3 was wonderful, and this book was almost as good. However, I felt like in many places the vastness of the plot for this novel overwhelmed the great character interplay that I've come to enjoy throughout this series.

Rick Riordan's The Last Olympian (Book 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A. Really? I'm at the end already? That's the whole series? I absolutely loved this one, and was so worried that the end of the series would flop or not wrap up wonderfully, but Riordan did not disappoint. He made the climactic final battle full of suspense, twists and turns, and poignantly dramatic as well. I'll confess to having tears at this one. But that's how a good series SHOULD be. I mean I've invested all this time in you that could have been spent... yeah, not going there... I should get a good payoff at the end, right? I think that's the least I can demand as a faithful reader.

Leah Cypress' Mistwood - Grade: B+. Yay! It's finally here! One of my editor friends from the NYC had this book in manuscript form the first time that I met her at WIFYR, and that was pretty much all she raved about. And now it's finally out in print. I don't think I've been this excited for a book since I read Homefree. And for a first-time novelist, Cypress doesn't do too shabby. The conflict definitely drives the plot, and the characters are beyond interesting. I thought much of the language structure was sort of geared more-for-kids, and wasn't all that elevated, but it's YA lit, so I guess I cut her some slack? Nah. I'd like to have seen a more-tightly written plot going to all the same places she did loosely.

Brian Jacques' The Sable Quean (Book 21 of the Redwall series) - Grade: B. I was at the library one day recently and on a whim checked to see if he had anything new. He did! I'm going to vote this one better than others (I'll put it on par with Doomwyte or High Rhulain) because it wasn't completely recycled like some of his others. It still felt kind of the same (I think the majority of them have this problem) though, so I wasn't completely giddy. I did read it all the way through the first time I got it though, which is rare with a Jacques book (long long airplane rides helped, I'm sure).

Clay Coleman's Stranded! (Book 1 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I loved these books when I was little! With such fond memories I tracked down the series again to give them a read. They are super short, I can read one in a bout an hour... but they ARE made for 10-year olds, so...

Clay Coleman's Attack! (Book 2 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I didn't remember these books being so gross! Brain matter on the beach, blood in the water, I must have been an icky 10-year old. LOL Anyway, these books are entertaining. The writing isn't the best, but again with the 10-year olds...

Clay Coleman's Mutiny! (Book 3 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. Mutiny! Betrayal! Will the boys survive?! So intense. There are some parts where the plot stretches, but... do I even need to say it?! :)

Clay Coleman's Discovered! (Book 4 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I think this one's my favorite. They are all...okay. Don't know that they make top ten lists or when awards, but they aren't boring.

More books are coming!


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