Monday, November 24, 2008

New Linkin Park live CD out today!

OMG. I was equally excited about this CD/DVD set coming out this week and about the Twilight movie coming out last week. In fact, by last Wednesday, I think I was more excited about this. The original release date was tomorrow, the 25th, but it got bumped to today at the last minute, so obviously I needed to have it today. It's so, so good.

In my car, the first few tracks sounded like they had a little static, but I think that's completely attributable to my car, because I'm listening to it on the computer right now, and it sounds fantastic. OK, just to hit on a few highlights without covering the entire CD - the drum solo on Bleed It Out, Jay Z comes in for Numb/Encore and Jigga What/Faint, the piano version of Pushing Me Away, Chester's voice sounds amazing on The Little Things Give You Away, Given Up completely rocks, really I could go on and on and on. I'm so into this CD.

I haven't watched the DVD yet, because I haven't been home yet, but I saw a review earlier today that said it was also amazing. On the CD, right before Shadow of the Day, Mike is talking about shutting off the lights or something, but I don't know what it's all about. I'm sure the DVD kicks just as much ass as the CD does, though. I love this band. Buy the CD.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight movie

The film adaptation of Twilight came out on Friday. I saw it twice on Friday night. I'm going to see it for a third time today. These multiple trips to the movies are not because I love the movie, though, but the opposite - I'm not sure. I enjoyed it, I can say that. And I liked it more the second time than the first. I think that's attributable to the fact that I stopped analyzing and comparing it to the book the second time, and just watched it for what it is. It's not bad, per se, but the special effects, as expected, were a little on the cheesy side, and some if the acting was just not up to par. I think for fans of the book, it was a decent adaptation and a descent movie. I'm still trying to figure out whether people who haven't read the book would even really understand the movie. I think they would, but some of it might not be so clear without knowing all of the drama going on in Bella's head. The movie skimmed over some of the build-up in Bella and Edward's relationship, which is the best thing about the book, IMO.

The movie also had a little more action, instead of just introducing the bad vampires 3/4 of the way through, they were a background plot line during the whole beginning of the movie, so that made it a little better and added something to the beginning that was missing from the book. Robert Pattinson as Edward was believable, but not good enough. None of the Cullens were casted perfectly, except maybe Carlisle, who looked great. Edward is supposed to be perfect in every way, they all are, but they weren't attractive enough. None of them were drop-dead gorgeous, and Robert Pattinson, while he looked really good in some scenes, didn't look good at all in others. Kristen Stewart as Bella was pretty good, though. Not quite clumsy enough, and maybe a little too pretty, but otherwise not bad. I was pleasantly surprised by Charlie, Bella's dad. At first I didn't think he looked anything like what I had pictured when I was reading the book, but he played Charlie perfectly. The supporting cast of Bella's high school friends was all wrong. It seemed like they set out to make the cast as racially diverse and politically correct as possible, and that just didn't fit with the book.

The settings and scenes were perfect, though. Forks looked just as I imagined it, very green and lush and overcast. The school was not quite as I imagined, but Bella's house, the Cullen house, La Push beach, Port Angeles, the woods, all of that was very good. The prom scene at the end was better in the movie, set at some pretty location, rather than at the high school. Edward's Volvo wasn't right at all. It didn't look tough enough, I guess. I was picturing a sporty, but cool shiny silver Volvo, but he drove a hatchback. No good. There were certain scenes that I loved though. When Bella goes to meet the Cullens is great; when they first arrive at school the first time Edward drives her is great, and I wish they had expanded out that day at school a little more, I loved that part of the book too; and the Edward/James fight scene at the end is done pretty well.

Overall, though, I liked the movie and I'm looking forward to seeing it for the third time today. Hopefully I'll like it even more after that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fort Minor

I'm going through yet another new music phase. This one is pretty obsessive. I've always been a pretty big fan of Linkin Park, but only recetly just started really getting back into them. I'm really excited about their new live CD coming out next week, actually. So, maybe two weeks ago, I downloaded the album they put out last year, and while I was screwing around on iTunes, I came across the fact that Mike Shinoda, the rapper for Linkin Park, had done this hip hop side project, Fort Minor, a couple of years ago. I figured out that I knew the song Where'd You Go from the radio, but I had never been all that impressed by that song, so I didn't pay too much attention at first. Then I read some of Mike Shinoda's blog posts on his website and I was totally impressed by him. I guess he's always had a hip hop bend in him, and took the time to pursue it with Fort Minor during a break from Linkin Park. Some of what he had to say in his blog was really interesting to me, and I've always ben impressed by his Linkin Park lyrics, and after reading some of the stories behind some of the Fort Minor songs, I decided I needed to listen to them and not just write off the whole CD as being just like that radio song that I knew.

Wow. I'm really glad I did. Where'd You Go is probably my least favorite song on the album. His lyrics are really intelligent (mostly, there's a few just fun, hip hop anthem type songs, too), and the music is really interesting. I like music that makes me want to pay attention to the lyrics and the music, especially hip hop, because so much rap and hip hop is just about beats and bitches and all that, but Mike is really good. His music, like Linkin Park's, is really interesting and complex, and his rhymes are smart and thoughtful, with meaning. The music is not artificial, keyboard sound effects stuff, it's real music, and it's real good, and I've heard that Mike played most of the instruments on the album too. I'm just so impressed by this guy. So, then the mildly addictive phase that I'm now into is that once I downloaded the Fort Minor CD, I started checking out some of the acts that Mike collaborated with on it, and then some of the acts that they had collaborated with, and now I have this whole sort-of underground hip hop thing going on, and it's all I want to listen to, and I'm craving more and more new stuff.

The funny thing is that a lot of what I'm listening to right now is not new stuff, it's just new to me. I love discovering new music, and I love introducing other people to it, and I think some of my friends are getting a little tired of the hip hop I'm constantly trying to get them to listen to lately. For real though, check it out! The link to Fort Minor's website and MySpace are at the right.

NaNoWriMo Winner!

To follow up on my creativity post below, I finally decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I signed up on October 30, and started plot outlining and character development sketches that night. I started writing for real on November 1, and haven't stopped. I love it. I have had such a good time writing and watching the story unfold as I type. I love writing dialogue, even though I'm not entirely sure that I'm punctuating it correctly, I need to work on that, but December is for such editing and cleaning up.

If you'll recall, the goal and challenge of NaNo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I heard that was about 175 pages, or about 6 pages/day. Yeah, I hit 50,000 words on Monday, November 17, just over halfway through the month, and that was around 100 pages. I write in Times, 12 point font, 1.5 spaced, 1 inch margins all around. Go me, I'm a winner! So having achieved that goal, there is still this little issue of the book not being done. At all. There's a lot left to write, I think. So, my new goal is to finish the book by November 30. Not the editing and cleaning up, like I said, that's for December, but just to get the story told. I did manage to get the whole thing nicely outlined and I have an ending, so I know where it's going, which is good. It's reassuring, really, to be writing toward something now, instead of just writing with a vague idea of what's coming.

So what am I writing, you ask? Where did the plot inspiration finally come from? I'm writing chick lit, which is something I never in a million years imagined writing, but it is pretty easy to write that kind of story, I guess because it's just a story, and I'm not really going for some deeper meaning, or anything like that. A good place to start for my first book, I think. So the story is about a young woman, in her late 20s, from the east coast but living in Vegas and working back and forth between Vegas and LA. She's a workaholic, doing event planning for celebrities and really high-end parties, except she hates celebrities and all the publicity crap that comes with them. She thinks they're all full of themselves and have too much money for their own good. She's had a lot of trouble keeping relationships because of her work schedule and the priority that she puts on her career. This is all fine and good until she finds that one casual friendship/relationship has evolved into something serious at the same time as he meets a famous actor who is different from the rest of them, and winds up dating him too. Now she's forced to chose between these two seemingly perfect relationships, with her dream job looming in the background. It's definitely kind of cheesy, and a complete girly book, but it's been really fun to write. There's really no source of inspiration for it, it started from the idea of a girl meeting and then dating her celebrity crush, and sort of evolved from there. The main male character, the actor, is loosely based on my celebrity crush, and that's about all the inspiration I have. Who is it? Not telling.