If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Me again!

Sorry about the hiatus, y'all. It's been a little crazy around here, and oddly, almost none of it has to do with Christmas.

Monday was spent shopping in the city with Vicky. It's become our tradition to go shopping on her birthday, but since I could not shop Tuesday, we went Monday. I went with much trepidation, most of which proved to be unfounded. Traffic in the city is always stressful at best; I just pretend I'm back in Italy and it works out all right. I was more concerned about crowds in the mall. Most of the time, her birthday is the only day in December I'll willingly go to any mall, and I like to shop! Apparently, though, Monday morning is a good time to shop in December because the crowds were very light and all the sales clerks were in a good mood. Have I mentioned how glad I am not to be in retail this year?

Tuesday-Vicky's actual birthday-was spent getting up early to go to the hospital for a minor surgery. I won't go into great detail other than to say it was female related in the (as my doctor put it) Pain In The Neck Category (as opposed to the Must Deal With Category). In my view, it was MY Big Pain In The Neck, which moved it back to Must Deal With. Long story short, I spent nine hours of my life on a 90-second procedure which could have been done in the doctor's office had my insurance company been willing to pay for it. It was one of those times I wished I was independently wealthy so I could just pay for the daggone thing, but one of the diagnostic tests was over $600. We're not there. Yet. Anyway, I'm recovering quickly and feeling pretty good, and the degree of success of the procedure will take time to determine. For the record, it is NOT how I would choose to spend my child's birthday. I must say, though, that I'm impressed to have gotten it done so quickly, considering I first heard of it in early September.

On tap for today is a rather lengthy to-do list; Mom and Stepdad will be here with the Dog tomorrow afternoon. Also today is the staff Christmas Party at the Day Job. That'll be fun--we like cleaning out the fridge at work! Note to self: Wear fat jeans to the party, and cobble together dinner for the rest of the family.

I'll be scarce for a few days and likely won't get in here again until after the 28th, unless I have funny Ryan vs. Dog stories. I'll try to get pictures of those. Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006


A couple of weeks ago, Vicky and I went to see The Nativity, and one of the pre-movie trailers was for Eragon. She leaned over and asked if we could take some of her friends to see the movie for her birthday instead of ice skating, and I happily told her I'd talk to her dad. (First, it keeps me away from ice, and second, I wanted to see the movie, too!) Since her birthday is Tuesday, we went to the movie yesterday.

For those not familiar with the story, it was written by a 15-year-old homeschooled boy who obviously read a lot. I would guess that his bookshelves were populated by Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, and various Star Wars novels, and they probably still are. My initial reaction is that the movie rocked. I loved the effects and the music, I loved that the dragon wasn't born all-knowing and wise. Like Eragon, she had a lot of adolescent fool in her. For the record, Christopher Paolini wrote dragon hatching in much the same way I do, which thrilled me. All of the characters had flaws, although the movie was only an hour and a half so there wasn't time to really get to know any of them. There was a lot of stereotypical Middle Earth, some Star Wars moments, and the heroine looked like a human version of C'Nedra from the Belgariad; she was even a princess. I went into the theater with no expectations and came out thrilled. I'd consider seeing it again, I'd consider seeing sequels, and if future movies live up to the first, I'd consider buying a box set. I own worse movies than Eragon and still occasionally watch them.

Many reviewers hated this movie. It seems they all read the book. I haven't read it yet, but I will. If the book is better than the movie (as is often the case) you can bet I'll read it, if for no other reason than to see what I can glean from his style. People will say that Christopher Paolini is not original, that he took ideas from one place or another and mashed them together; that he only got published because his parents published it first and it was discovered by another publisher. I'm sure there are things he could have done better, but it was a fabulous story. He made his own world, his own characters, and his own story, which is more than a lot of adults will ever do. He also had the fortitude to put his work out there, for anyone to read and scoff at. That's the really scary part for a lot of writers. We could learn something from teenage bravado. If you think your work isn't strong enough to stand up to critics, it needs to be rewritten. As they said in the movie, one part brave and three parts fool.

Were there parts of the movie that didn't strike me right? Sure; most movies do. They were more than balanced out by the dragon flights. I'll look forward to adding Christopher Paolini to my reference shelf and, if applicable, admitting happily that I learned something from a teenager.