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Apologies in advance for how LONG this post is going to be. I haven’t updated in a while, so this is going to be a bit of a ramble. But, considering the title of this blog is A Writer’s Ramblings, I guess I’m allowed.
It appears that I am unemployable. I got a job sometime in June, but that basically ended in flames and I was forced to quit. Of course, that was two weeks before I headed to Honolulu, so let’s just say I’m a bit strapped for cash at the moment. (I had to sell my soul to three people in order to even GET to the conference and retreat! Thank God I have such great friends!) I’ve currently got my resume out to a number of places, and am even applying to some less-than-ideal jobs in the area (the dreaded retail). Please, pray for me.
I’ve seen a few new ones, three of which I saw on the two 8 hour trips between Minnesota and Honolulu. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Okay, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen the first three Indy movies in their entirety yet, but I just have to say that this movie was REALLY hokey. I mean, I love Cate Blanchett, and I’ve recently come to appreciate Shia LaBeouf, but the acting was just BAD. And that ending. Really? I’m usually really good with my suspension of disbelief (I AM a writer, after all!), but that ending was just completely ridiculous. Good lord! Kung Fu Panda: Not much to say about this one. Cute, cuddly, adorable. Jack Black is awesome as usual. I’d watch it again. Skadoosh! Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: I have to say that I really LOVE Focus Features lately. Atonement. In Bruges. And now, Miss Pettigrew. I really, really liked this movie. It’s about a nanny who’s hard on her luck and having trouble finding a job (maybe THAT’S why I connected with her so well! She’s ME!), and ends up stealing a lead from her placement agency after they deem her unemployable. The movie follows her through one day, and it was simply amazing. Plus, I love Amy Adams, too! The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: Awful. It was nowhere near as good as the first two. The amazingness of Rachel Weisz was noticeably absent, the portrayal of the once adorable son (who is magically in his mid-twenties after only a 7 year time gap between films) is that of an arrogant jackass, and the storyline was just WAY too out there! What, you couldn’t find a way to bring back Imhotep for a third round? Whatever. The Dark Knight: Anyone who has seen this movie already knows how amazing it was, so I don’t need to add to everything that has already been said about it. I will say that I believe director Chris Nolan, and actors Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart all deserve Oscars.
I’m currently obsessed with the following three songs (note my seemingly erratic choices! Blame the stress…):
Le Disko by Shiny Toy Guns
I am apparently not allowed to embed the music video for this song (WHY?!), so you can listen to it HERE. This song was offered as a “Single of the Week” through iTunes, so I was able to get it for free. It has such a catchy tune that I haven’t been able to stop listening to it!
Creator by Santagold
I first heard this song on episode 2x02 of Gossip Girl (I LOVE that show!), and instantly downloaded it. It’s been less than a week, but I must have listened to it over 50 times!
An Angel by Declan
This song came to my attention while I was searching for someone else on YouTube (which I talk about below). I don’t know how old this kid is, but I can’t get enough of this song! Just ignore some of the bad lyrics (rhyming “hives” with “hives”, for instance… and using “eyes” at the end of two consecutive lines!) and concentrate on his voice and the music. He reminds me of Billy Gilman, though obviously not singing Country. He has two albums out in the US right now (I think there’s one import available in the UK that isn’t available here), and has such an adorable voice! It’s funny though, because it drops about THREE OCTAVES between this album and his next one.
I’m currently reading The Venetian Betrayal by my new favorite person, Steve Berry! I hadn’t read any of his books prior to having him as a teacher in Honolulu, so I thought it might be a good idea to check him out. I’m just beginning part four of five parts, and I’m really enjoying it so far! He’s definitely a talented writer, and it’s good to know the lessons he taught us can actually be put to good use! I’ll definitely be buying more of his books in the future.
Some books that I’m really looking forward to their releases are Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr and JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard...! Brisingr is the third book in Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, formerly the Inheritance Trilogy because he decided to make the series four books instead of three (which I’m not complaining about!). I absolutely loved the first book in the series, Eragon. The second book, Eldest, I didn’t think was as good as the first, but was still very good (enough to get me to want the rest of the series!). That book comes out in about a week, which I’m really excited about. The Tales of Beedle the Bard was mentioned in Jo’s last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was a present from the recently deceased Dumbledore to Hermione as a clue for Harry on how to defeat Voldemort. Only one story from the book was mentioned in Hallows, but Jo created a set of seven copies of this book, each handwritten by herself and bound in beautiful leather and encrusted with precious stones. Six of them were given away to people who were intricate to the success of Potter (I’m guessing her agent, editors, etc), and one was auctioned for charity. Amazon.com bought the book for a reported $4 million, and teased us with pictures of the book and reviews of all the stories within. We thought we’d never get to see inside, when they announced that they were going to publish the book and give all the proceeds to charity! They have a standard paperback of the book available, but I’m interested in THIS one! A replica of the one Amazon won, which is selling for a mere $100. Well worth it, I say!
There are a bunch of things I’m watching nowadays. We’re halfway through the fifth season of Project Runway. I have to say I’m really disappointed with this season. I don’t care for any of the designers. Every time someone gets voted off the show, I’m not particularly bothered. And there’s no one I’m really rooting for to win, either. In fact, most of the contestants annoy me. Suede, with his referring to himself in third person; Blayne, who can only think about tanning; Keith, who’s only capable of sewing together strips of fabric and calling it fashion forward… the list goes on. Gossip Girl season two just started recently, and I’m happy to report that it’s as scandalicous as last year, and hopefully the ante gets upped even more! The Sarah Connor Chronicles had its season two premiere on Monday, and it was amazing. You all know how much of a Terminator fan I am (I’m named after Kyle Reese from the first movie, after all!), and this show has not disappointed (too much). John Connor finally has some of his balls back, Cameron could have been bad but ended the episode on the side of good, and they’ve brought in a female version of the T-1000 (the guy from T-2 who was basically liquid metal)!!! It’s going to be an amazing year. Now, I just have to wait for the premiere’s of Grey’s Anatomy and Heroes…!!! TV JOYGASM!
Some NEW shows that I’ve been watching include Skins and Fringe. Skins is basically Dawson’s Creek on CRACK! It centers on a group of 7 British teen friends, and involves a whole bunch of drugs, sex, swearing, eating disorders, manipulation, fights, suicide attempts, a possible sexual relationship between one of the friends and a teacher, parental abandonment, and that’s only in the FIRST FIVE EPISODES! It airs on the BBC America channel on Sundays at 10PM, but an unedited/uncensored version of the show is available on iTunes. I don’t know what it is about this show, but it is completely addicting. The kids are really great actors, and the storylines are simply explosive! Love it. The other show, Fringe, just premiered on Fox the other day, and stars Dawson’s Creek alum Joshua Jackson. It’s an X-Files-like show that centers on the unnatural, but doesn’t involve aliens (at least, I don’t think it does) and actually revolves around science. The first episode started a little slow, but I was completely hooked by the end of it! Now I’ve got another show to set up on my DVR!
I’m only going to put two on here, and it’s a complete coincidence that the main actors for each movie are schtupping one another.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I first heard about this movie about a year ago, and it’s been on my mind ever since. When I finally got to see the teaser trailer above, my first reaction was HOLY FUCKING GOD! It looks really incredible! And, it brings together a number of my favorite actors, including Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. This movie is definitely on my list to see this winter.
After seeing what he could do with Million Dollar Baby, I can’t pass up the chance to see another Clint Eastwood drama. Not only is the concept completely horrifying, but it’s actually a TRUE STORY. Besides, it doesn’t hurt that Angelina Jolie is in it.
The following video I first saw on an episode of Oprah. This is the video I mentioned earlier, the one I was searching for on YouTube when I came across Declan’s song. This is of a boy named Andrew Johnston trying out for Britain’s Got Talent, which is exactly like its American counterpart. You MUST watch the entire video, from the start, or else the song and his voice won’t be AS powerful (though, they’re powerful on their own as well!). I would suggest turning up the volume as loud as you can, preferably using a set of good headphones if you’ve got them around. I swear on all that is good and holy that I actually teared up listening to his voice, and he hits a note right in the middle of the song that sent a jolt right through my body.
I would also highly suggest listening to this in hi-def, which you can see HERE. The faces on the judges say it all. Absolutely stunning, and I can imagine him singing for movie soundtracks in the very near future (they have used boys choirs in recordings for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc… LOTS of work for these kids!)…!
And the last thing I want to talk about is the lawsuit of JK Rowling and Warner Bros. vs. RDR Books, a company who wanted to publish a Harry Potter Encyclopedia based on the website The Harry Potter Lexicon. I’m not going to go into the reasons behind the lawsuit—you can read about it HERE—but just comment on the outcome. Thank GOD the judge sided with Jo and WB, or else we might not have seen the comprehensive Harry Potter Encyclopedia that Jo herself is writing. We’ve been hearing about this book ever since the publication of Deathly Hallows last summer, and it would have been a real travesty had she felt forced to give it up. Justice sides with good once more, and hopefully we get our hands on that book sometime soon!
I’ve made a vow to keep up with my blogging from now on, so you won’t have these ridiculously long posts to sort through anymore. Thanks for listening, though!
Kyle W. Kerr
I’ve been doing something lately that I haven’t done in a long time… buying random CDs because they just look good. This is something I used to do when I was younger, when I didn’t have rent and credit card payments to worry about. But, thanks to a few generous people over Christmas, I got a nice chunk of change in iTunes gift cards, which has allowed me to experiment and have a little fun. In the past, I have discovered some of my favorite artists in this fashion… and, I have to say, it happened again.
Various Artists – Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan
This album is the work of composer and lyricist Scott Alan. Listening to a 30 second sample of one song on iTunes was enough to get me to buy the entire album. It’s put together sort of like a musical, with each song telling its own amazing story… which fits, because Scott grew up with musicals. He’s even written two critically acclaimed musicals himself: Detour and Piece. Dreaming Wide Awake is a sampling of his music through the years, sung by some of Broadway’s best musical talent, including Baby‘s Liz Callaway, The Pirate Queen‘s Stephanie J. Block, Wicked‘s Shoshana Bean, Brooklyn‘s Eden Espinosa, Xanadu‘s Cheyenne Jackson and many more.
This really is an amazing album. I clicked on the first song, I am a Star, sung by Eden Espinosa, and I was immediately hooked.
My favorite song on the album is Now, sung by Jonathan Groff. It’s a really haunting piece about a man who loses the love of his life, and the pain he’s feeling is almost unbearable. I’ve listened to it about 110 times… and I bought the album about a week ago. Here is a sample of that song:
At only 29, Scott has accomplished something incredible. He’s young, and hopefully he’s going to have a very, very long career. Check out samples of the rest of the songs off his debut album, Dreaming Wide Awake:
I’m a Star - Sung by Eden Espinosa
Surrender - Sung by Cheyenne Jackson
Magic - Sung by Adriane Lenox
Let Love Begin - Sung by Tracie Thoms
Home - Sung by Shoshana Bean
Never Neverland (Fly Away) - Sung by Stephanie J. Block
At Seventeen - Sung by Carly Jibson and Jackie Hoffman
If I Own Today - Sung by Shayna Steele featuring Michael McElroy and Capathia Jenkins with guest Pianist Dave Cook
Kiss the Air - Sung by Danny Calvert
Say Goodbye - Sung by Katie Thompson
The Journey - Sung by Josh Strickland and Jill Zadeh
Goodnight - Sung by Liz Callaway
There are two easy ways to purchase the album: iTunes and CD Baby.
Check it out… you won’t regret it!
Kyle W. Kerr
10/9/07 | Books, Genius Mode, Movies, Music, My Writings, TV Shows | 0 Comments
The rewrites have been going really well. So well, in fact, that I expect to crash and burn any time now… I finally realized what my problem was, and now it’s almost like the book is correcting itself, with minimal effort on my part. (Not saying I’m not putting effort into it! Just saying the work isn’t really work.) And I’m really excited about some new developments that have recently been revealed to me. If you’re a writer, I can’t stress how important it is to LISTEN to your characters! They will never lead you in the wrong direction (unless you have an unreliable narrator, and that’s a whole different tin of biscuits).
In the past few weeks I’ve…
Excavation by James Rollins
I had a conversation with Jim about why his books aren’t classified as Science Fiction. In Excavation, a band of archaeologists stumble upon a lost Incan temple, get stuck in it because someone is trying to steal the treasurers within and causes it to collapse, trapping some of said archaeologists and forcing them to find a way out… and they encounter albino tarantulas and mutated, cannibalistic ape-like beasts (that turn out not to be apes at all!), as well as discover a substance that is some form of nano-biology that is able to bring people back from the dead and regrow human bodies from nothing but a severed head. Sounds pretty far fetched, right? Science Fiction-like, even? Well, to put it bluntly, his publishers said “We can market it as a Sci-Fi novel and sell okay, or we can market it as a thriller and sell 10x as many copies.” Yeah, not a tough decision there. Point being, this book was very, very good. Just be willing to extend your suspension of disbelief a bit more for this one than regular thrillers.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. What the hell am I listening to this emo crap for? Because I love it, I can’t lie. I LOVED DC’s album The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, and have listened to it religiously since I bought it six years ago… Nothing DC has made before or since has really lived up to that CD, because Chris Carrabba’s vocals and lyrics, coupled with the acoustic instrumentation, just completely took me over. And there are even a few tracks when he gets so into the music that his voice breaks (one of my favorite things in the world… really). Everything else has been more rocker-ish, and less intimate. Until now. In The Shade of Poison Trees, Chris returns to the acoustic songs he does so well, and I’m absolutely loving it. It’s on repeat right now.
This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I was going through a low point and needed to take my mind off things, so I watched all 60 or so hours of the first three seasons of Grey’s Anatomy… in 4 days. That’s right, I watched disc after disc of that show, and couldn’t have been happier to do so. As sad as it is that I did that, I don’t regret it. And now I’m obsessed. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, and has the kind of characters I can care enough about to WANT to watch new episodes live (I don’t have cable, so anything I watch is either on DVD or I download it from iTunes… I don’t like commercials). Bailey is my favorite (“O’Malley, stop looking at my VA-JAY-JAY!”), I’m totally shipping George and Izzie, Meredith and Derek need to get over their issues, and Christina is just fun. Totally hooked. Though, I have to say, I am totally disappointed that they created the spin-off for Addison. I loved her, and now she isn’t even Addison anymore. Did anyone else notice that her hair doesn’t even look red? Hopefully, when that show fails, they’ll bring her back to Seattle!
Okay, this movie was absolutely insane… Fantastic, intriguing and immensely well put together, but insane nonetheless. Talk about your unreliable narrator! You think this movie is just about a teacher schtooping one of her students, but NO, it has a completely other level of crazy! When they say “A Story of Two Obsessions,” they’re not kidding. It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the world that Cate Blanchett is one of my favorite actors (second only to another Kate!), and what she is able to pull off in Notes is nothing short of brilliant. My love for her grows with every movie I see her in, and the emotion she was able to bring to this role was so tortured, so vulnerable, you couldn’t help but feel for her pain. Is it crazy on my part that I could understand why she did what she did (the character)? Not deflowering a 15-year-old, of course, but her need for something more than the life she was dealt, her need for escape? And Judi Dench’s character is… terrifying is probably the best word. I may just have to pick up the book now.
This movie was produced by Walden Media, the same folks who brought us The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Bridge to Terabithia (they like the whole making-a-movie-out-of-popular-children’s-books thing). It had a lot of promise, and the trailer made it look really good. To me, it didn’t disappoint. It has a really great premise, the foundations of which were lain down by Susan Cooper, who wrote the book back in the 70s (I say foundation because the book and movie apparently have very little in common. I’m reading the first book in the series—the movie was based on the second book, which has different characters than the first—but I have found a website that lists all of the changes, and they are extensive. If any of you loved the book Eragon and saw the movie based on that book, you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about with this one. BUT, because the movie was my introduction to the world, and not the book, I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was). Definitely worth a buy when it comes out on DVD, though I don’t know how happy the studio is with it at the moment. Opening weekend on the purportedly $60M movie was a measly $3.75M… Ouch!
A sad side note…
If you remember my excitement about the new TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, you’ll know how disappointed I am to find out that Fox has decided to hold off on launching the show until mid-season. Why? Because God hates me.
Kyle W. Kerr