Sunday, February 14, 2010

"The Lightning Thief"- robbed of its story

(a fellow blogger asked for my opinion, this is not a review as such)

Just buy the book

As the mother of a demi-god, I can say I have been responsible for his discovery of the Percy Jackson series. I read the Lightning Thief before he did, suggested it for about 2 months. When he finally tried it, he was hooked. Like many other Percy Jackson fans, he already was well versed in Greek mythology and the mythological creations came alive through Rick Riordan’s well-written settings of current life. At the Last Olympians’ book signing, Rick Riordan mentioned that he was getting ready to visit the set of the Lightning Thief in Vancouver and the attending demi-gods and camp half-blood regulars cheered with the excitement and expectations of seeing the story on the big screen.

We saw the movie in advance because of the work of a very loyal mythology teacher who rented a movie theater space for her many students; we were ready for the big reveal. As the film unfolded, it was clear to me from the very beginning. This seemed like Chris Columbus’ film version of attempting to make Basil Fawlty’s famous waldorf salad and it truly was, full of ‘waldorfs’.

You can always expect parts to be excluded from a film version of any book, but this treatment only kept the title, a few characters, and added a lot of action in an attempt to dazzle. It did not. The key ingredient; the story with its built-in protagonists and antagonists, was missing. The film seemed to be made for a one-time only audience. It certainly cannot have been made for building up a successful adaptation series as the Harry Potter films have been. What was the point? The Percy Jackson series have plenty in it to make it useable for script content. Sure you’ll need to leave things out, but the basic story line is easy enough. A dyslexic and ADHD 12 year old discovers that he is the product of a liaison between a mortal and an immortal god, in Percy Jackson’s case, Poseidon, god of the sea. He discovers that mythological creatures are after him for some reason unknown to him and he soon finds himself at Camp-Half blood, the only protected spot on the planet for many other illegitimate mortal/immortal off-spring whom (the Greek) monsters are after. In the first book, Percy ends up on the quest to not only prove his innocence, but to find Zeus’ lightning bolt that he’s been accused of stealing. The readers of the book encounter many mythological creatures, a few who even make it to the screen; Medusa, the Hydra and the Fates.

Uma Thurman as of the film's highlights

But there are plenty of others missing. Also missing is Ares, god of war and father of Percy’s main antagonist at camp Half-blood, Clarisse. Both characters are very important for the rest of the series. Instead of learning more about mythology, we learn that this is a basic road film as the kids (Percy, Grover and Annabeth) drive themselves. They, the characters and the actors are at least 17/18 years old. There is quite some action but the action misses the point. Percy is actually 12 years old and he finds out over the course of the first two books, that there is a prophecy. This prophecy suggests that he, Percy Jackson, will become a dangerous weapon at the age of 16. So where are we to go with this film?

Alas, another kid lit book bites the dust at the hands of the director and the studio whose own myth is that children’s books fans are really not that important and that just filming one book out of a series is good enough. My suggestion is to blow off the movie and read the books instead. At least you’ll know there’s another one coming when you’re done with the first. “A gin and orange, a lemon squash, and a scotch and water, please!” –snaps fingers- , “and someone please order Mr. Columbus a real waldorf salad”.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pentagon lifts media ban on returning coffins: FINALLY!

It is shameful that there ever was a ban. Now people are getting a double whammy; not only was and is the economy NOT ok (hasn't been for a while and it did not just start now with Obama at the helm), but now people will get to see the literal, death toll now the ban is lifted. (and how did the odd picture come out?)

"WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday said he was lifting the ban against media photos of soldiers' coffins returning to the U.S. and will instead leave the decision up to families.

Gates told reporters earlier this month that he was reviewing the policy and that if the needs of the families could be met, and the privacy concerns could be addressed, he favored honoring fallen troops as much as possible."

It was about bloody time! It's funny how the GOP is now getting up in arms (no pun intended) over 'big government' and all kinds dramatic slogans that will make their flock reel but finally, reality-politics is coming to town and reality bites! Bad economic times the likes of the Depression, hell, it's supposed to become worse than that really.

Seeing the fallen soldiers return after patriotic notions got them to enlist (that or poverty because in middle schools, the military is trying heavily to recruit already) so here they are. After all that, and then not even to be acknowledged, no, allowed to be acknowledged if the family wants it.. it was one of those shameful laws. That said, it was apparently in place since '91 so that said, there have been fallen, returning soldiers during the Clinton years who did not receive their due recognition either.

Good on you Obama people. I am still the Independent and won't agree with foreign politics (business as usual) but I will have to give kudos when warranted.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lullabies if you can't sleep..

I'm looking for some of the songs on my daughter's cd. It's Putumayo's 'Dreamland; world lullabies and soothing songs.

Tanja Solnik's "Numi Numi"

Angelique Kidjo with Carlos Santana "Naima"

Claudia Martinez "Arriba Del Cielo"


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sometimes all you need is a piano and Tim Finn

Tim Finn's "Winter Light" from the >"Chronicles of Narnia" soundtrack. Remember that voice from Split Enz and Crowded House?

Both kids are probably 'flu-free' (try saying three times fast)but I'm just keeping them home for one more, last day. They ought to be out of the woods completely by next week (they're both doing fine, especially 'daughter dearest' who's driving me batty with her motormouth and 'liveliness').

I keep in mind it's the flu. Some kids apparently got the type A flu only to return later to have picked up type B. So..let's not and say we did. I need next week to get ready for my mom's arrival in early March and I need my peace!!

Later peeps or when you look to your right "twitter boys and girls"!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the flu

after a 4 day weekend with the kids, at the end, one got the flu and the other one followed suit. Amazingly, so far so good. We all had shots and the oldest, who was asymptomatic but had this chest congestion thing going on..again..was the one who started but seems fine with no fever for several days. In fact, when he must have started having it, he only had very low grade fever the first days with feeling a bit chilled and that mostly at night.
Then, just the night of school starting, the youngest woke up with a fever and we've just finished a day of moaning and groaning, eyes glazed over and 'feeling sad'. When I took her to the doc to confirm it was the flu, she got sick and bless her little independent self, she grabbed the bucket and did her thing without me having to pull over. (I was going as fast as I could).Then she asked for the towel I had brought so she could wipe her little mouth. (5 1/2yrs)

As I parked in the parking lot and saw the 'content', I thought DANG. More than I thought. What to do? Where's the nearest spiggot?? So I ended up composting it ahem, on a strip of grass next to the concrete paved parking lot. Usually, my husband is the one who's the designated 'cleaner upper' for 'that kind of stuff' as I normally gag and try not to follow suit (blech!), but I'm proud to announce I managed to clean the whole thing, stay composed and clean it out to boot with heaps of those antibacterial wipes we always have in the car. Last thing you need is to get back in the car with that 'smell'!

Plus,'s a way to get into your own separate room sooner at the doctors; ask for a bucket for throwing up. We got one and quickly got whisked to our own little room. [g]

Poor baby had fever and was just miserable and aching all day. When we finally got home around 4sh..I put her to bed and at 6:45sh..she woke up, hair looking like she sweated it out and her pajamas feeling accordingly and since that fever! So what to do? If she hasn't had a fever for 24hrs, technically, she could go back to school. She's chipper now and hasn't crashed back into misery as I expected it. I thought it would be a long night last night but no. She did wake me up twice as she of course, slept too much. Now she's happy and watching the Backyardigans.

My son who's been sequestered in his room and the guest room (tv and bathroom) is now still asleep. Having the flu but no fever for days and asymptomatic. could be worse. So another reason for not having posted. Again!
Later peeps. I've been collecting all these articles I had wanted to comment on but they're all old news now..c'est la vie!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Signs of the time; it's time to learn economics!

John Mauldin in The Market Oracle "Back to the 1998 Crisis, Subprime's to Impact for a Longtime"

Even though all the pro-Obama voters (and non-voters the world over) have experienced an anti-climax "bleh" after the whole election kerfafle was done, I do know, we are far from being out of the woods. There are forces at work to the conspiracy theorists, who are determined to undermine and undo the American dollar. Globally, financially, we are connected to whatever, whomever, where ever, a stock market or industry would collapse.

Most recently, US Treasury Geithner accused China of manipulating their currency. However, what has been common practice in most American administrations, republican or democrat is having a discussion be two way. 'Cause apparently, the Obama administration hasn't been listening.

Simon Smelt, New Zealand economist

Here is Simon Smelt, writing for "Seeking Alpha";

"China’s leadership likes to communicate by brief but loaded signals, both to its own population and beyond. They are less inclined – have less need - to posture than politicians in the West. That is, they mean what they signal.

Whilst China is reliant on the U.S. as its biggest market and for the investments it has made there, the U.S. is reliant on China for ongoing cheap credit and goods. Given this inter-dependency, what is China signalling about its intent amidst current market turmoil?

The signals are clear but don’t seem to have been well picked up by the media. I suggest that there are three loud “No”s to be found in what China has been saying on the international stage, as well as some quieter “Yes”s."

Here are Simon's three 'NO's':

1 - "...In 2005 a bilateral Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) between China and the U.S. was set up. Reportedly, Beijing has put a lot of effort into this and sees the SED as the primary channel for dealing with pressing economic issues. It is the mechanism for dialogue between the G2 on strategic issues, including those of worldwide importance.

What all this boils down to is that China expects to be involved in the big decisions. The message is:

No more U.S. hegemony in the financial world

Lacking a suitable multi-national mechanism (memo from China: “don’t blame us – we’ve been calling for one”), the G2 will do fine instead."

2 - "...The U.S. has long run a trade deficit with China. The U.S. fiscal deficit by the government is more recent. It stems from the Bush years and is about to get much worse due to the various bail-out and stimulus packages. The Chinese can scarcely object to the trade deficit – they have funded it for years. So, the message is: don’t rely on us to buy your extra bond issues caused by your economic mismanagement.

So, the second Chinese “No”:

No extra U.S. bond purchases by China above the normal level"

3 - "...China will voice its concerns over U.S. government finances and the potential for a weaker dollar when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits China on Feb. 20. The idea has been floated that a guarantee might be “one of the prerequisites for more (bond) purchases”.

What’s going on here? The Chinese know full well that “guarantees” in the normal sense of the word can’t be given. What they are communicating is more than a bit of anxiety. It is the third “No”:

No policies that could lead to sharp depreciation of the U.S. $"

Read the whole, very well explained financial relationship and US/Chinese exchange on the current financial situation at Seeking Alpha's "China's Three No's to the U.S.: Is Washington Listening?"

Well people, time to stop being an unconscious consumer and use the time to learn some economics instead!

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Getting the twitter bug - Stephen Fry, do you hear me now?

Stephen Fry

In the spirit of publicity, I figured I needed to be more web savvy. So I figured I'd check out Twitter, having seen the twitter feed on Utah Savage's page, plus dh is on it. I started out yesterday and boy, it's a 'viral' and addictive thing. I'm keeping it under control as much as possible (i.e. don't follow many and not have that much followers, that'll get you tagged as an online marketing schemer). I have as of writing 15 followers and I am following 26. That includes CNNinthefield, Het Parool(a Dutch newspaper I grew up with) and 4 bloggers that I know. I don't necessarily follow whomever is following me either since they are following gezillion people and they are obviously in it for the marketing part. Of course, can't blame them but, it is not considered impolite NOT to follow someone who follows you.

Stephen Fry and the guy who plays Seeley Booth, sorry, can't find the time to check right now

That said, I wished Stephen Fry would follow me, he's a wonderfully accomplished, HILARIOUS comedian/actor (latest gig being Agent Seeley Booths' British psychiatrist on Bones)AND since I am on the board of the Gilbert and Sullivan society, having a famous brit for possible publicity/fundraising activities would be great!

My board and publicity committee doesn't know it yet, but I'm trying to think of non-Gilbert and Sullivan ways to raise money for our productions. Since Gilbert and Sullivan is inherintly British, I would suspect an actor like him could appreciate the endeavour. any of my blogger buddies, Enigma, Jim, Billie, Kel, Paula, Maria, Mary, Cyber Otter, Lindsay, Gary, Zee, DK, Ruth, Heathlander I missing anyone? Get on the Twitter train, it's fun!

That said, gotta get off the computer to get ready. My 11yr old has his first classical guitar recital and I need to boogie. I will explain more about twitteretiquette too.

Stephen Fry, do you hear me now? [do you hear me now?]

Labels: , ,