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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Princess Leia gone too soon: RIP Carrie Fisher

In my early years, I sure did love Ariel in "The Little Mermaid," but I really wanted to be like Princess Leia Organa in "Star Wars."
Today we mourn the loss of Carrie Fisher, who so magnificently played the iconic Star Wars princess.

Carrie Fisher rockin' those awesome cinnabuns in "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Not only was Princess Leia beautiful and intelligent, but she was one badass spy and infiltrator. Despite her position within galactic royalty, Leia risked her life to do her part in delivering the Death Star plans to the rebels. Plus, she totally mouthed off to Darth Vader.
Bad. Ass.
Okay. So I understand Leia is a completely fictional character, and completely acknowledge it was Carrie Fisher the whole time making her so awesome.
Fisher portrayed a range of emotions, but my favorite of hers was anger when she choked the life out of gigantic galactic mobster Jabba the Hutt. Seriously, she turned her chains into a lethal weapon, all while wearing the skimpiest space bikini.
Bad. Ass.
I know Fisher didn't ONLY play Princess Leia, but it is pretty much her defining role.
However, a few of her other roles that were my favorites include the therapist in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and the Mystery Woman in "Blues Brothers."
I also enjoyed her appearance on "The Big Bang Theory" a few years ago when James Earl Jones and Sheldon Cooper pranked her by ringing her doorbell and running away.
It is sad that she died so young. Thank goodness she was willing to return to the iconic role that so defined her as an actress for nearly 40 years. Despite what others say of her performance in "The Force Awakens," I don't think anyone could possibly have played the role.
RIP Carrie Fisher.

Monday, December 19, 2016

'Me Before You' unconventional, but an important read

Books are like really long movies for me. Some are bad, some are, "Blah, but I guess I can make it to the end." Then there are those like "Me Before You" that are just so good that I literally cry, laugh and get mad throughout.

Image may contain: one or more people and text
This beautiful story is one of making difficult
choices.

"Me Before You" is a story set in 2009 Britain. An ordinary girl named Louisa Clark loses her job after her boss closes his business. Out of desperation, and because the money is amazing, Lou takes a job caring for a quadriplegic man named Will Traynor. Will was injured in a road accident two years prior and hates his life. He hasn't left his home in two years, with the exception of medical appointments and emergencies.
So, without giving too much away, this is quite the unconventional story line and I loved it.
Lou is bubbly and sunny, but with dark undertones. She uses her clothes as a way to stay cheerful and often reminds herself she needs a job to help her struggling mother and father. But it's hard for her to remember all that when her family constantly reminds her she doesn't quite live up to her sister's standards.
Despite her bubbly nature, Will is unmoved and treats Lou like garbage ~ until one day Lou says enough.
"Me Before You" literally had me laughing out loud and tears rolling down my cheeks, in public, mind you.
Lou forces Will on several adventures just to get him out of the house. Despite some setbacks, Lou's plans start to take shape and Will's attitude begins to soften.
I could hardly put this book down at night. I found myself reading long past the time I'd promised myself I'd go to bed, saying, "Oh just one more chapter." I haven't done that in quite some time.
JoJo Moyes' writing is fluid and encapsulating, and each chapter flew by like I'd actually been watching a movie. Her characters are vivid and enjoyable, despite how stupid a few of them act.
This beautiful story is about hard choices, not only for Will but for those around him. It's an invisible subject for many people, but for those whose lives are spent dependent upon others it's a very real situation.
A big thanks to Hanna Lindstrom-Henning for suggesting the book! It was completely worth the read.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fuss & Bother Boutique more than just a store

On Friday, I found two unique women with whom I simply expected to have a brief encounter while checking out their small business. 
Instead, I stood in their little shop for nearly two hours visiting and hearing some pretty entertaining stories. 
Bonnie and Angie own Fuss & Bother Boutique. 

A screenshot of Fuss & Bother Boutique's Facebook page.

They set up shop in a two-story, white house behind Taco John's in Mitchell. They feature handmade jewelry, crocheted bookmarks and other fun items to enjoy browsing. The mother and daughter duo have been vegans for decades and offer many spices, sauce mixes, stew and soup spices, and so much more. 
Despite the house being in a strange location, it is totally worth anyone stopping by.
Bonnie and Angie offer a unique shopping experience, accompanied by two cats and off-kilter senses of humor (which is a good thing!). Fuss & Bother Boutique is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

"Fantastic Beasts" super freaking amazing

If you HAVE NOT SEEN "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and PLAN on seeing it, don't read this post. I don't want to ruin it for you. 

Ever since I started reading the Harry Potter books, I wished there was some sort of series focused on or at least based in a U.S. magical community.
So when J.K. Rowling created "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," I nearly squealed with delight. Her quirky characters and wonderful imagination once again brought to life a community I can only dream to be a part of.
I unashamedly went to "Fantastic Beasts" alone yesterday at the Mitchell movie theater. I sadly couldn't find anyone to go with, but I suppose that gave me the clearance to solely concentrate on the movie.

The Actors

I'll comment briefly on the actors, just to get it out of the way.
Nearly everyone was excellent! I loved Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. He is so strange that he fits the part perfectly.
I enjoyed that a no-maj (non-magical person) was included as a supporting character in Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. His wonder personified a generation of us muggles reading the Harry Potter books, and how I feel in diving into a completely different magical era.
Colin Farrell, who portrayed Percival Graves, played the part well. Since I haven't seen many movies of his, I was all right with him being cast in such a large role.
The only portion of the movie I completely disliked, as far as actors, is that they cast Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindlewald. Depp has portrayed some outlandish characters, and I just feel he has no place in the movie. Grindlewald was British, and I figured Ms. Rowling would cast a British actor to fill the role. I'm hoping she'll see her mistake, or that Johnny Depp will prove me wrong and not be as eccentric in the role. Although I know Grindlewald is an eccentric character, I have this vision in my head of how he should be and Depp does not fulfill that portrayal.

The BEASTS! 

The wonderful magic that is cinema animation could not have produced this movie more seamlessly. It was beautiful ~ a Thunderbird; a niffler; a bowtruckle named Pickett; an erumpent; a demiguise; a swooping evil; and many more. It's just too wonderful. Not gonna lie, I was nearly in tears watching this movie for a couple reasons.
Not only do I wish I could see these creatures in real life and (even as a no-maj) be a part of the wizarding world, I wish I had half the imagination and determination of J.K. Rowling. Damn that woman has a fantastic brain.
It's one thing for J.R.R. Tolkien to have completely created a world of his own, but for Rowling to have created a world within our own world and have them intertwine so perfectly, is amazing. This movie was much more mesmerizing to me because I love the 1920s, I have wanted to see backstory of Grindlewald and Dumbledore fleshed out and learn more about the wizarding world not through Harry Potter's eyes.

The Soundtrack

Thank you, Ms. Rowling, for including the Harry Potter theme in the soundtrack, but not overdoing it. The rest of the soundtrack was so wonderful, particularly the jazz, that I stayed for the credits just to hear it again.
I feel music makes the movie complete. Without a mix of music, great dialogue and superior acting, a movie is a flop for me. Music tugs at emotions and makes an audience realize when something suspenseful, happy, sad, horrible or otherwise is happening.
This is the first time in years I've even thought about purchasing a soundtrack.

Final Thoughts

If you are a huge nerd, like me, consider a few things if you'd like to learn more about the wizarding world Ms. Rowling has created. Sign up (for free!) on Pottermore.com. Rowling has added many new writings about North American magical history, including a history on the North American school of magic. My heart flutters when I even think about it. Also learn more backstory on your favorite Harry Potter characters, locations, beasts and more!
Also, here's a fun link to learn about the magical beasts in "Fantastic Beasts." Also, you will also find many writings about magical beasts on Pottermore.
As I watched "Fantastic Beasts" I had a sudden flash of the possibilities of the rest of Ms. Rowling's career. And the possibilities of my reading list for the rest of my life.
The depth of a world which Ms. Rowling has created opened up in front of me as I watched the movie. I'm pretty sure I missed about three minutes of the show just thinking of the story possibilities.
That gives me a good reason to gather $7 and go see it again before it exits the theater.