Thoughts on Prometheus and Other Life Forms…

Such as the ones I help out everyday at work. Work…right…I was going to blab about that today, (you guessed it, more changes!) but alas, something much more interesting happened: the new film by Ridley Scott, Prometheus. The hubby and I have been anxiously awaiting this film for a long time now. Anyone who is a hardcore fan of the original Alien film, Ridley Scott, Sci-fi, the meaning of life, needs to drop everything they are doing at this exact moment and run to the theatre and see this film. NOW.

The film itself has been shrouded in a lot of secrecy, and smartly so. I think having too much hype and pre-conceived notions about it would have ruined the joyous wonder of experiencing it. People have speculated as to whether this is alternately another installment in the Alien saga, or a prequel. Or even that it had nothing to with Alien at all. Since I’m sure the internet and those who love to abuse it will post spoilers galore, and give loads of glorified opinions on the philosophical ramifications of thus and so, the creature’s design, comparisons to Alien, etc. , I’ll spare you all of that.

This is not specifically a review of the film, it’s more about the impact that it had on me. It is smart, and it makes you think. It is also gorgeously filmed with a soaring musical backdrop. The acting – particularly Noomi Rapace, the original Dragon Tattoo girl, Lisbet, in the Swedish version of the film – is excellent. The story and writing are excellent. H.R. Giger‘s design still informs the look. But most of all – it is filled with a hell of a lot of suspense and horror that is reminiscent of the original Alien.

I was engrossed the entire time watching it, and I was very much drawn into the story, as well as the fervor that the lead character had for finding the answers to our origins. It was all handled elegantly, and without the likely cheese factor that such a subject might be prone to (Cocoon anyone?). Go see this film – I hope I’ve made that clear. Final word on the content – it is graphic and definitely deserving of an R rating. Anyone contemplating on taking a kid or teen who is used to gory films, they may not appreciate the origin of the species theme, and find it too boring.

Now that I’ve planned out your weekend’s entertainment, I bid you farewell until next time when I’ll bring you up to speed on the work/new book release stuff. Happy Alien hunting!

Advertisements

The Grey, The Hunger Games & Struggling to Survive

Apparently, I’m an idiot for not staying after the credits to see the extra scene at the end of the Liam Neeson survival film, “The Grey”.  Although, as John and I both felt, the very fact that everything was left unresolved made for a very impactful end; one that made you have to think for yourself. God forbid.

As long as we’re on the subject of this film, I do want to point out that it is not a typical action thriller. Even though Liam Neeson is so bad-ass that he makes bad-ass cower in the corner, there is a heavy philosophical undertone that is not typically Hollywood. The film is based on the short story (ya’ see short story writers – it’s not just novels that rule the world!) “Ghost Walker” that one of the screenwriters, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers wrote. The story truly makes you consider life, death, and how we choose to fight for our right to exist. Heavy man. Definitely not typical Hollywood. I worry about this film’s prospects though, as it was marketed to appeal more to the Action/Thriller crowd. “Hey dudes, how about a nice exciting film about the underlying layers to the meaning of life with intense metaphysical takes on death? Then we can grab a couple brewskys and shoot some pool after.” Hmmm…

I am also currently reading the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, “Mockingjay”. Hey – we’ve been through this before – I get around to stuff when I’m ready, not necessarily when everyone else is obsessing over it. The fact that I made it to a film on opening night for the first time since “Return of the King” is about all I can handle in the being-up-to-date department. Which reminds me – less than 11 shopping months before The Hobbit opens!

Okay, I’m back. For those of you woefully behind the bestseller times – such as myself – The Hunger Games is a YA dystopian trilogy that is going to emerge  in theatres soon. I think they may be trying to turn this franchise into the next Twilight phenomena. God help us – they’d better not ruin it. They have an excellent actress playing the lead (Jennifer Lawrence) and the author (Suzanne Collins) is contributing as a screenwriter. We may be safe.

The books are excellent. Suzanne Collins has said in several interviews that she doesn’t write about adolescents; she writes about what war does to adolescents. The central theme to these books is very much one of survival; again, fighting for one’s right to exist, to stave off death. The choices that each individual makes are not only the difference between you surviving, but another person dying.

The similarities in theme between both The Grey and The Hunger Games cannot be denied. Neither Hero/Heroine of these stories is magically endowed with awesomeness, they are not super heroes. They are everyday people with checkered, difficult pasts that exist in challenging and depressing circumstances that find themselves tested to their limits. Neither of these characters give in. They fight, not only against the odds thrust at them, but against their own personal doubts about the sanctity of their own lives. Can I hear another “heavy man” from the audience?

Yet, these are not depressing stories at all. Hard to believe, right? Yes, they do make you think because they are not cardboard stereotypical beautiful or magic people. They inspire because they are so relatable.  You feel if they can transcend these outrageous circumstances, than you can probably get it together enough to pay your utility bill on time this month. Because seriously, if Batman gets pummelled by Ra’s al Ghul, there’s no way that I can possibly be expected to achieve much with my limited skills. I told you Liam Neeson was bad-ass. 

I like that the characters in The Grey and The Hunger Games are real. It gives me hope.

Spider Whisperers Rule!

I guess I now have a rep – too bad it’s not as an internationally best-selling writer. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. Sherry Roberts, author of  “Book of Mercy”, just posted an interview with me on her blog. This is it – go check it out:

http://sherry-roberts.com/2012/01/meet-spider-whisperer-and-writer-wren-andre/

And while you’re there, you really should check out her blog, and look into getting your very own copy of “Book of Mercy”. It is available from Amazon in print and Kindle versions:

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Mercy-Sherry-Roberts/dp/0963888048/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325914907&sr=1-1

The story centers on a woman in the small North Carolina town of Mercy, who has no idea she is about to disrupt the plans of a group of ladies who are intent on ridding the school library of “undesirable” (in their eyes) books. Sherry tackles the very serious subject of book banning with a great dose of humor. This is a recommended read!

I also recommend that I get some sleep tonight. But first – I must go and save my spider friends from certain annihilation at the hands of John’s slipper!

Kindle Fire vs. Kindle – A Non-Techno Geek Review

I gotta Kindle Fire – I gotta Kindle Fire – I gotta Kindle Fire – nananananana. Hey – I never claimed to possess any amount of maturity. What is actually startling about me owning a Kindle Fire (courtesy of Christmas and the hubby’s wallet), is that I am the least latest-gadget-on-the-market type of person that could possibly exist. My regular keyboard Kindle – last year’s Christmas booty – was a carefully thought out and patient acquisition.

“I’ll wait until the price goes down.” “It’s better to get a later version, after they’ve worked the kinks out.” “How the hell am I supposed to afford an almost $200 gadget that is basically a vehicle for books the way that deep-fried appetizers are vehicles for ranch sauce?”

But, eventually, after drooling over other’s Kindle eReader ownership – some who had barely been adults for more than 5 minutes and were making minimum wage at part-time jobs – common sense took over. “Shit – what I really need in my life is more instant gratification. If I only had a Kindle, I could buy it now with one click, and be 60 seconds away from reading a book that might take (God forbid) two or more WHOLE DAYS to arrive.” So I strongly suggested that I should be gifted that for Christmas last year, and it has been one of my most favorite things ever. I have basically treated it like a newborn infant, and coddled it lovingly since its arrival. And yes – I have had lots of instant gratification, randomly bought books I probably never would have heard of under any other circumstances, discovered the joys and intrigues of the indie world, and been able to avoid purchasing additional bookshelves for my home, as I no longer need all that extra space. There are many fantastic things to say about the Kindle.

So why even bother with the Fire? For me, the fact that it was the latest thing on the market had zero appeal. What did catch my attention though, was the fact that I could do all of my social media stuff, email, and have my eReader. Then when you throw in the Cloud storage, movies, TV, music and a ridiculous low price of $199 – well – you had me at pre-order. My hubby’s first remark was that I should sell my Kindle. Why keep it? I can do everything on the Fire after all.

But it didn’t feel right to do that. My pretty white Kindle was My Precious, and I wasn’t ready to let it go. I’m very glad I didn’t.

The Fire arrived a few weeks ago, so I’ve had a chance to download Angry Birds, do a lot of swiping and tapping, go on Facebook and Twitter, add my email accounts and write notes, download more random apps, and fill my Netflix queue with all types of crap. I’ve also done a little bit of reading. Not a lot. I’ve actually played Jewels more than I’ve read anything on the Fire. However, I’ve finished two books on the Kindle in that same time period, and downloaded several samples.

Here are the main differences, as they relate to my personal preferences. The regular Kindle is much lighter. It’s not that the Fire weighs as much as a brick, but when you’re lying in bed reading, or holding up the eReader; it does make a difference after a period of time. The screen on the Fire is backlit in the same way as your computer screen, so for some people, that can strain your eyes for long periods of time. You also do notice the glare. Personally, I can do without seeing my frowny face staring back at me while I’m reading. The regular Kindle has that awesome non-glare screen and grayscale background that is easy on the eyes and works great in outdoor lighting.

On the other hand, the Fire is in COLOR. It is clear and books show up crisper on the larger screen. The ability to enjoy a graphic novel or magazine is an excellent reason to have the Fire. Then there are all of the other app and web abilities that the Fire provides that is not available on the regular Kindle. I should mention that any of the recent whining in reports about the Fire being a fail because some features are wonky, doesn’t bother me.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/246037/kindle_fire_customers_biggest_complaints.html

Probably the one thing I wish was different would be the external volume control, but seriously, did any of us even grasp ten years ago that such a thing as an electronic tablet connecting you to the web, with instant movies and books and TV and music, could even exist now and not just in a Phillip K. Dick novel? God, we are spoiled babies.

Waaaah, my amazing electronic tablet isn’t perfect – the power switch is in a funny spot! Waaaah, I want my $199 back.

Does anyone remember what you paid for your Compaq Presario, Gateway or Dell computer tower of death ten years ago? Do you remember how awesome and fast it was? Exactly.

My final assessment: I like both for the different reasons I stated above. I plan on keeping my regular Kindle, and using the Fire as my portable device. Basically like a smart phone that doesn’t make calls. I can check email, Facebook, Twitter, read if I’m waiting for someone or taking a break (since it would be fine for a short period of time), and maybe have music to listen to – which you can do simultaneously on the Fire.

I now have Precious One…and Precious Two.