Thursday, January 10, 2008

A post-Christmas update

Wow I haven't posted in a while. I was going to, but since New Year's Eve I haven't felt so well, and before then I was busy.

Let's see, lots to say. But I am off today so I have time, and I feel well and awake enough.

On Christmas Day we went and saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets which was cool but I didn't love it necessarily. It's more my dad than anyone else in my family who likes the National Treasure movies.

A few days later, I went out to the movies by myself and saw The Golden Compass. I almost blogged here that night, but I ended up being too tired or was working on something else or something. I don't remember.

Just checked to see what day that was. I remember I made a purchase that day that I got an overdraft notice for from my bank. It was December 27th.

Anyway, so I saw The Golden Compass. It so did not live up to its potential in so many ways. Given all the footage I've seen in trailers, I think that a lot was cut between the closing of production and when the film was released. Like the ending from the book, which was probably the biggest cut of all. It's not like they went through the source material, didn't like the ending, and changed it. That has been done with other book-based movies, a good example being the recently-done Count of Monte Cristo movie with Jim Caviezel (perhaps better known as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ). The ending of that is different from the book, but it was okay, because having a sad ending (as in the original novel) for a love story would not have flown in the film world. (Or at least in the American film world -- in Bollywood movies it appears to be ok to end a love story sadly, like in Kal Ho Naa Ho when you have the happiness of Naina [Preity Zinta] and Rohit [Saif Ali Khan] getting married, but it's against the backdrop of Aman [Shahrukh Khan]'s death).

But anyway, there was quite a lot of changes from the book, mostly little things that I can't remember. The change in the ending was the main big change. Oh and the filmmaker's persistent thing about not consistently using the correct term for the alethiometer. The first trailer called it an "alethiometer", another trailer called it "the golden compass" (supposedly to match the movie's title), and one trailer used both, either interchangeably or together. In the final film, they switch between "alethiometer," "golden compass," and "symbol reader." The thing about the alethiometer is that it is not a compass at all, despite the fact that it resembles one. Actually "symbol reader" is more correct, since this is a term used in the books to describe the alethiometer and what it does. The "compass" thing comes from the American book publishers, who confused the alethiometer with a compass and thus published the first His Dark Materials book under the title The Golden Compass (the original British title was Northern Lights, and they credit it under this title in the credits for the Golden Compass movie -- it's written as "Based on the book Northern Lights by Philip Pullman").

One other change I didn't quite get was the way the "alethiometer-reading scenes" were done. It seemed like they just wanted to show off their cool special effects by using as much CGI "Dust" as possible in this movie. Granted, the "Dust" looked like it was described, like golden powdery stuff, and in the books, Dust is what makes the alethiometer work (although this is not revealed in book 1 as I recall, yet they seemed to state it in this movie by introducing Dust in the prologue and showing it, and then having it reappear and look the same). Anyway the scenes would be the same every time, with Lyra setting the symbols, and then you would see lots of pretty golden CGI Dust and faint images would appear in the Dust that would depict the question's answer. Not terribly exciting. For goodness's sake, the movie is rated PG-13 (which somehow does not totally surprise me), you can show a girl going into a trance to find an answer to a question using a stupid symbol reader. It's not that scary for the age group that will go see this movie!!

Ok enough ranting. The movie stank. Nuff said.

Let's see. What else have I been doing?

~ Work: Not much to say here. We lost Corey on New Year's, and Matt just basically disappeared, so I'm back to closing more often. Oh and Katie, who was our bakery manager but who went on maternity leave early in the summer, is back now. I am kinda glad cause I have issues with Tori. Not like we fight or anything but she does things that annoy me, like assign me to one task, suddenly think of another one while I'm doing the task she assigned me to do, and pull me from task #1 to do task #2 instead. Meanwhile, we have a new cake decorator, Jon, who likes to make cakes with flowers (or his new passion, clowns), might be homosexual, and is not totally lovely to be around alone. He creeps me out a little, and annoys the heck out of Heather (and me too, but her more). He does things like leave spatulas stuck in icing buckets (which aside from annoying Heather to no end is also a Health Department violation), among other things. When you tell him to do something, half the time he doesn't do it, and when you call him out on what he didn't do, he gets defensive. Okay, granted, I get defensive too sometimes when people call me out on stuff, but generally, sooner or later, I can accept that I did wrong, and I move on and try not to do the offending thing again. It kind of depends on how the person approaches me about it too. I prefer if someone pulls me aside and talks to me privately, because that usually helps. I usually try to confront a person privately too if they bug me in some way.

On the work front, also, I got a letter saying my insurance had started, but I haven't gotten cards yet, which is worrying Papa. I'm a bit worried too, being sick right now and also in need of a vision checkup (my eyes are really sensitive to light recently, and I'd like to know why, plus I probably need new glasses by now) and probably a teeth cleaning too. Not to mention I'm long overdue to get my wisdom teeth pulled.

~ School: I'm all enrolled for my class, and it would appear that a book isn't required for it (I double-checked at the school bookstore when I went to school today) so I don't have to deal with that drama. It's late-start, so it doesn't start till February 5 (which is also the day we have our presidential primaries -- that reminds me, I gotta study up on my Republican candidates!). I don't know if I'll need art supplies or if they're provided; for most of the art classes, you have a materials fee tacked on to the enrollment, but there wasn't one for this class. Hmm. Well, we'll see. I may e-mail the instructor about it, though probably not tonight.

On the future school horizon, I need to do my FAFSA soon now that it's January. I haven't gotten my W-2 yet saying what I earned in 2007, which would help for the FAFSA. I don't know who to talk to about that. Maybe the bookkeeper.

Also, Cal State hasn't let me know if I've been accepted yet, which is very odd. They said 4-6 weeks, and it's been 8 weeks and 2 days. I don't know what's up. Even if offices were closed over the holidays, they would've looked at their databases when their offices reopened (supposedly right after New Year's) and started operations again, I would think. I know there's not a problem with my application, as when I've checked their system my application comes up as "complete," meaning they don't need any more paperwork or anything like that right now.

I just checked it and it wants me to send 2 "final" transcripts by March. But according to the flyer they sent me with the steps after applying, it says to send the final transcript by July 15. So these must be different transcripts. I'll have to call A & R tomorrow and see if they sent the transcript I requested to Cal State.


In other news, I have been buying manga like mad. I'm not sure why but I must obviously be having some passion for light reading. I bought a bunch of it today when I went out, as well as a couple DVD's (Throw Momma From the Train, which I'd been looking for, and one called The Passion of Joan of Arc, which is an old French silent film that they thought was lost in a fire but then found intact in a mental institution in Norway in 1981) and a CD (the soundtrack for the Broadway version of The Secret Garden).

Today I went out to buy my January bus pass, since I'd forgotten to do so before December ended, and illness prevented me from going January 2 when the school offices reopened (I've literally worked every day since then, till today). I also made a trip to the Barnes & Noble close to me and then to the mall, before coming home about three hours ago. When I told Mum I'd been out, she was surprised (since I'm still getting over being sick) and told me to stay home and rest tomorrow (since I have tomorrow off too).

I actually bought some Tylenol Chest Congestion medicine (cause, according to the box, it "helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to make coughs more productive," plus it's non-drowsy, so I figured it was worth the high price of $6.50) and I took it when I began eating dinner around 8:30 tonight, and I haven't been coughing as often as I was. I feel better too. Having an inhaler (which was actually one of Grandad's, but Mum and Papa checked it out and found out it was okay for me to use) helps too.

Having lots of books around (particularly on my new desk, which is awesome) has brought on, as usual, my strange daydreams of various forms of book destruction. I don't know why I have these daydreams. They may be nothing, or maybe just a subconscious thing. They started when I began reading more often while in the bathroom. Believe it or not, I would actually have daydreams about *cough* doing my "bathroom business" on the book I was reading, even though I would never do that, even if I hated books, cause it's just gross! That's the main one, although I think I have had daydreams about taking part in bibliocaust (book-burning; I didn't know till recently there was an actual word for that) but I can't remember.

I don't think these subconscious things mean I deep down hate books and don't know it. I know that's not true, just from the way I devour books. And even if I really subconsciously dislike books, this may be an indication of the total opposite. It's like in the Read or Dream manga, where Yomiko says to Anita (who hates books but lives with two extreme bibliophiles, or book-lovers):

I...I think I've read more books than most people, so there's something I've discovered. Books come to those who need them. No matter the obstacles, no matter the distance. It's the same with people. You're surrounded by book lovers...because the books have led them to you. People are the same, but there are many ways to interact with books. Reading them, writing them, loving them, even hating them. If you truly had no interest in them, you wouldn't even feel hatred.
I suppose it's true with anything, you can't hate something you have no interest in. You may not express the interest; it may be deep down, where you may not be aware of it yourself. I disliked Harry Potter until around the time Half-Blood Prince came out. But once I read the books, I got really into it. On the flip side, I got all interested in the Golden Compass movie, and then saw the movie and came away disappointed. Or, perhaps a better example: my best friend Amy really likes an anime called Serial Experiment Lain. Now the general pattern has been that when Amy introduced me to an anime show, I usually ended up liking it. She introduced me to Pokemon for instance (of which I am still an ardent fan, even though she's not). But not so with Lain. I had expressed some interest in it when she told me about it, but when I finally saw it, I didn't like it. It's depressing and confusing. I should mention that the guy who wrote it wrote it while he was on acid, or so they say anyways.

Gah. My internet keeps going in and out.

I need to watch my finances. When I got that overdraft notice recently, I was surprised. I soon learned I hadn't been keeping good track of the funds in my checking account. I use my debit card a lot, without really realizing just how much. It's nice to use for groceries and buying lunch at work. The main issue is all these darn manga purchases. I've mainly been buying manga at the local Borders Express, which is still having a "buy 4, get one free" sale, but only on manga and graphic novels. So due to the sale I feel compelled to buy 5 mangas every time I go there, so I drop $40 a pop (give or take) every time. Also, I have been spending a pretty big amount of money at Barnes & Noble, usually buying music or DVD's but also books (I think I seriously spent like $70 one time, and I don't even remember what I bought).

This is avoidable, I think, since I can try to not make trips so often to Borders Express to buy manga (having a class later in the day will probably help; I won't be as likely to go out after class to do it because I'll be wanting to make sure to catch the last bus home). B & N is tougher cause it's by my work and is pretty much the only place open in our shopping center when I work till 9 (besides my work, which is open till 11, Starbucks, and maybe Target), so I go there a lot after work, and occasionally before work too.

I don't know how I'll work it out, but I will. I get paid tomorrow so my checking account will get somewhat replenished, but not by much.

Ok nothing else really to write, except I've been tired as heck, and sick, and when I was sick over New Year's I was cooped in the house recuperating and it was boring (which is why I relished the opportunity to go out today; other than work, and church once, I haven't been out of the house since New Year's Eve).

Oh and on New Year's Eve I rented two videos. One was a Bollywood movie called Bride and Prejudice (a play on Pride and Prejudice, which this movie is an adaption of), with a popular Indian actress named Aishwariya Rai. It was pretty good, funny, and like the plot of Pride and Prejudice. The film also had some guy who was the spitting image of Ryan Seacrest, except he had a British accent. I watched this movie on New Year's Eve (on which I also saw the real Seacrest, co-hosting Dick Clark's program once again).

The other was the Hayao Miyazaki film Howl's Moving Castle, which I had been meaning to see for a while. I only had time to watch it in Japanese, since I watched it toward the end of the 7 days I had the videos, which is a shame cause the English Miyazaki dubs are really well done. It turns out the movie is based on a novel published in 1986 by British author Diana Wynne Jones. I do not know when the movie's story is supposed to be set, especially since it's set in an imaginary setting and not even on Earth, but the feel was very much like Anne of Green Gables in my mind, so I'm guessing the time period is supposed to be similar to the late 1800's or early 1900's.

Oy it's 11:09 already and I'm tired. Good night.

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