My favorite game store in the whole world has been nominated for America’s Favorite Game Store at Goodman Games. Please click here and then click on the image that looks like the one below to cast your vote for Game Depot (Tempe, AZ).

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A few months ago I wrote about a PSA I saw at the movie, and later saw on TV and heard on the radio. I posted what I thought would be a more effective PSA. In light of recent talk of the Swine Flu pandemic, I have to marvel at the coincidental timing. A few months ago everyone and her sister started reading Twilight, and now a decendent of the very same flu that almost took our Edward has once again reared its ugly head.

Show of hands. How many of you wished for Spanish Influenza so Carlisle would come save you?

The Face of Influenza 1918-present.

The Face of Influenza 1918-present.

 

In other news, the folks that brought you Pandemic (one of my favorite games) are about to come out with an expansion. One of the new cards is an Epidemic card for a Virulent Strain. Even if you have eradicated a disease, it comes back. Some of the other cards are posted online. We played with them Saturday. It was kind of creepy how Mexico City kept popping up and kicking our asses. We ended up losing. Sure, we could blame Kyle, the Murderer of Luck, but what if it was the Swine Flu? I mean does anyone else think the virus on the box looks like Swine Flu?

            

(Images thanks to BoardGameGeek.com and CDC.gov)

May 1. May Day. Time for the kids to dance around May poles in school. I always thought that was fun. I could use some fun. Maybe my gamer friends will be up for a bonfire and a dance around a May pole. For the Celts, Beltane. The beginning of summer. A time of purification, transition, and hope. That sums my life at this moment up pretty well. On a side note, Beltane is supposed to be a time when the spirits are close. If any of them are reading this blog, it would be sweet if they could help me find a job. Thanks!

Yes, you read that right. Bella Skywalker. This could only be a Random post, right? For those of you who don’t know, Random is my Unicorn friend–that mythical beast know as the man who reads Twilight. Out of the blue, this is how the texting started this evening, as if there had never been an interuption in last night’s text conversation.

Random: Finished New Moon today. Edward has confirmed that he’s a retard.

Me: You’re retarded! 🙂

Random: When you are over 100 years old and make Romeo look like a guy who knows how to make a plan work, that is truly special.

Me: You’re reading too much into it. That says a lot coming from me. He’s no more or less retarded than Romeo.

Random: Romeo is the king of dumb. And Edward is in his class at the very least.

(Agreed, but romance can make one stupid, especially boys.)

Random: And Bella is so typical. Although I expect that is the attraction for the target reader. She’s annoying as the heroine.

(Bella is typical in some ways which makes her relatable to a lot of readers. She a-typical in others whichs gives her the feeling of being special we all want. I relate to her in a big way, so I guess I’m annoying.)

Random: Then again, my favorite protagonists come from Ayn Rand and Isaac Asimov, so typical is not my cup of tea.

(Yeah, Random, I know you’re shocked, but I haven’t read any Rand and the Asimov I read was an excerpt or short story way back in the day. We read so many so close together in that class that I don’t remember what was his. As always, “It’s on the list.”)

Random: New Moon will make a horrible movie with Bella whining more than a Skywalker.

(Bella hurts on the inside but she suffers in silence. As a movie we shouldn’t be so “in her head”. Maybe it won’t come off so whiney to you.)

The texts were coming fast and furious while I was trying to find some paper to print my resume on. I couldn’t get a word in so I’ve added my thoughts in ( ).

I sat there dumbfounded at the Skywalker remark when my phone rang. I just started laughing. Apparently Random’s hatred for all things Twilight could not longer be contained in text. Rather than forgetting the books altogether, he needed to get vocal. I was still laughing when I answered. The first thing I heard was, “Bella Skywalker.” It had the ring of an epithet. I just laughed. Typical. Trying to get under my skin, deriding two of my favorite things at once: Twilight and Star Wars. And two of my favorite characters, too. Luke and Bella are the ones I relate to. Way to push my buttons, Random.

Ok, I had to admit Luke is a bit whiney: “But I was going to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters!” I didn’t read Bella as whiney though. I read her as strong. She knows what she wants and when she doesn’t get it she fights for it. She gets angry, petulant. He asserted that stamping your foot and demanding your way is just the teen version of whiney. He might have a point. But doesn’t that make the character more believable? Bella is flawed. That doesn’t mean the writing is flawed, just the opposite in my opinion.

He liked Carlisle. He relates to him most. I suppose I would have guessed that. In fact I think I did guess that once. I believe I made Random take the survey once upon a time, and predicted that he would be Carlisle. He thinks that the vampires being invincible superheroes is ridiculous, and that they should be running the world, not keeping the secret. The Volturi he thought were kind of cool. I had to admit that I never saw the point of keeping the secret even without the Volturi, as humans can’t harm vampires. But I try to let that sort of thing go. It’s fiction.

So we talked some shop, talked about the vibe at the company I no longer work for, but then we were right back to New Moon. He thought it was boring. He thought Edward was retarded. He was frustrated that Bella was going to be ok and then everything freaked out again. Basically everything I loved about the book, he hated. No big shock there.

I think the people who dislike the Twilight saga are the people who go into it expecting a vampire story. It’s a love story that just happens to have vampires and werewolves. As a friend of mine put it, it’s Vampire 90210.

We talked about the upcoming movie too. He’s convinced it will suck. He knows from the last two month’s worth of obsessing that I have my worries. If they stay true to the book, he thinks, there will be a opening scene, then a whiney birthday, a paper cut, a bit more whining, then a really long boring part in the middle, followed by about 15 minutes in Italy, and a rushed happy ending. I think that sounds about right, except that as they are actually shooting in Italy I think they plan on getting their money’s worth. If anything is going to be rushed it’s going to be the long months that Edward is gone (Random’s “really long boring part in the middle”). If they are going to screw with anything it’s going to be the beauty of Bella and Jacob’s relationship. I think they’re going to rush us back to Edward/Robert Pattinson. It’ll be tricky not having the Heart-ThRob in most of the movie.

No one I worked with recently got me like Random did. We like a lot of the same things. It is typically frustrating talking to him about geek stuff though, because we rarely agree even about the stuff we both like. No matter how frustrating, it’s always good for a laugh though. Today’s big laugh was Random saying, “If Edward had an alignment it would be Chaotic Dumb.” Thanks, Random, I needed that. I hope you had fun storming the castle tonight. And I certainly hope the Pandemic bugs didn’t get you down.

Well it’s my birthday too! The best birthday gift is that it’s cloudy today. Cloudy days in Phoenix are hard to come by, a rare treat. So it’s my birthday, and it’s cloudy, and still no Edward Cullen. I don’t think he’s coming. LOL! Yes, I joke.

What else did I get for my birthday? Well, my friend Greg bought me an improptu gift, not knowing it was my birthday, but I’ll call it a birthday gift all the same. It’s a bracelet made of these funky, spikey, latex beads. God-awful, but fun. The beads look like viruses, which he why he got it for me. He knows of my love of the game Pandemic, so he got me a Pandemic bracelet. So we played yesterday and won, thanks to the good luck of the Pandemic bracelet. Thanks, Greg, for the gift and the good game.

I made Old Man Bobby wait until today to give me my gift, or I would have nothing to look forward to on my birthday but laundry. Ugh. So I just opened my gift. He did well. His Mom said he’d been very observant to pick out such thoughtful gifts. I couldn’t resist teasing that stalkers are usually pretty observant. Yes, I joke about that, too. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so what did he get me? He got me Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse novel. He also got me some CDs: Sara Bareilles’s Little Voice and Paramore’s Riot! Well done, Old Man. And thanks again for taking me to see Twilight, for the fourth time, just because it was my birthday. Thank you.

Some things started seeping into my brain. I kept thinking about how the movie was given a low budget before the fan base exploded. While I don’t condone doing a movie with effects you can’t afford to do properly, I do understand financial woes and not being able to do what you really want to do. I thought that there had to have been things that were frustrating for Catherine Hardwicke. I still don’t think she and I see Twilight the same way, but does that mean it was a horrible movie? I started to doubt.

I also thought about the crappy theater I saw the movie in. I hold a grudge against this theater for ruining Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for me. OotP is my favorite of the HP books. When Arthur was getting attacked by the snake suddenly the film stopped and the house lights came up. No theater employee came in to explain. We sat there, stunned. The film came back and the light dimmed once again. When the DA were learning Patronuses the film stopped again. The house lights came back on again, and this time there was an employee waiting in the exit. He came in and said something lame like, “Sorry, we just have to do this. It’ll be a few minutes.” He never explained what This was, or why This had to be done. He certainly didn’t offer any compensation. And he certainly didn’t hang around to hear customer complaints. Nor did his co-workers. Nor did his boss. It was a ghost town when we walked out of the theater.

So as I was thinking about the theater, I thought about how during the battle of the ballet studio in Twilight the sound system made a really annoying buzzing sound that drown out all other sound for a few seconds about 4 times. I thought couldn’t it be possible that this theater sucks in much more subtle ways? Say maybe the picture is ever so slightly out of focus. You might not notice it, but maybe it makes a certain sparkly special effect look worse than it really is. Like I said, I started to doubt my original assessment of the film. Regardless, I think I’ll push for a different venue next time I’m in town for a midnight movie.

I also considered the emotional climate of the theater. I know, that sounds very Jasper of me, but I felt disappointment and anger all around me, most notably from my cousin sitting to my right. I thought the movie was a little weird to begin with, sure, but I was enjoying myself. I thought that the scene when Edward first catches Bella’s scent was well done, until I started hearing groans all around. Sure I thought the fan blowing Bella’s hair was a little over-done, but Edward’s reaction was pretty much as I pictured. Feeling and hearing the crowd’s reaction, though, I started to pick things apart. Suddenly I noticed the music was annoying, and it was downhill from there.

So, when Old Man Bobby asked me what I wanted to do when we were done gaming on Saturday I said, “See Twilight?” He’s a good man for taking me after I made him read my blog. He’s glad I insisted. He enjoyed the movie. It’s not the best movie he’s ever seen, and he does see what I mean about a lot of my complaints, but he liked it. I liked it better a second time, I must admit. Today I read an article that said many people are seeing it again and deciding it’s better than they thought.

Knowing what I already didn’t like about the film, I could focus on more positive things, like the chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. They didn’t make as much use of it as they might have, but there was more there than I originally thought. I still wish that there was more conversation between Edward and Bella, but there were a few more scenes in which you knew they were talking and getting to know each other than I originally thought.

There’s lots I still don’t like. I could go on and on, but I won’t. The point of this post is that I really did enjoy it more the second time. Catherine Hardwicke and I just see Twilight differently I suppose. I would have grounded it more in reality. I would have used real light. I would have spent the money on clothes befitting Cullens and the right Volvo (I’m assuming that’s not just a loaner anyway). I would have demanded dialog closer to what was written (or that certain lines not be ad-libbed, whatever the case may be). For example, I would have left the line, “I hear voices in my head, and you think you’re the freak,” instead of changing it to, “I can hear people’s thoughts and you think there’s something wrong with your brain,” or whatever Edward ended up saying. I would have also demanded more Cullen time, made those characters more real. The added scenes showing the bad guys killing around Forks was necessary to show the real danger, but the cooking for Bella scene, the flying through the trees, and the field trip scene were not necessary–not at the expense of important scenes from the book which were left out like the blood lab scene, and a real Bella’s Lullaby scene.

Apparently I do want to go on and on, but it’s bed time. What I really want to say is that Catherine Hardwicke might be able to do New Moon, but I’m skeptical. She won’t be able to rely on a certain character to make it all work. It’s going to be a much harder movie. I think a new director might still be in order, but I’m kind of curious about how she would do it.

The Macy’s Parade is over. The cheeseball is chilling in the fridge. The turkey is in the oven. The Holidays are officially upon us. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I for one have much to be thankful for. Highest on the list is my Uncle J. He made it through his surgery beautifully yesterday and is on the mend. They will have him up and walking around today–amazing!

I am thankful for my friends and family. They are fun, loving, and best of all supportive. I know I can count on you, and I hope you know you can count on me. I love you all.

I am thankful for my job. Sure, I complain a lot about it, but it’s hard work, so I suppose that is to be expected. I really am thankful to have a job, especially with today’s economy being what it is.

I am thankful for my hobbies. Gaming, writing, reading, and movies, have done their best to keep me sane, especially the last couple of years. That leads me to thank a few authors in particular, who have given me the means to escape when needed in the last few years: JK Rowling, the writers of such recent Star Wars novel series as the New Jedi Order Era and the Legacy of the Force Era, Andrew Davidson, and of course Stephenie Meyer. A special Thank You to the folks at The Game Depot, Arizona, my FLGS. If anyone has kept me sane (Yes, I know. I use the term lightly.) these last few years, it has been you. Thanks for keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied.

I know I have a lot more to be thankful for, but time is running short. There is dinner to be made. I’ll close with Old Man Bobby. I cannot say Thank You enough, for everything. For more Date Nights than I can count. For dealing with my many neuroses and putting up with my crap in general. For backrubs I never have to ask for. For endless games of Ask Me About My Book. For doing my bidding. And of course for all the stuff I shouldn’t mention in polite company. Thank you. I’m a lucky woman to have a “boyfiend” like you. Don’t tell anyone I said that though.