R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!

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spark of vivacity

So, there has been quite a lot of talk in the news these days about a certain radio host on CBC as well as a “pick-up artist” who helps teach men how to pick up women, and I would like to think that you have heard at least a few conversations regarding what’s happened/happening with these two individuals, and thought about why this is something that is making headlines, and – even more importantly - why you should be thinking about it.

So, to bring you in the loop if you’ve missed some of this, I’m referring to the current news of ex-CBC radio host, Jian Ghomeshi, and “dating guru”, Julien Blanc.

The Ghomeshi situation has highlighted the fact that there is still a very strong stigma about going to the authorities for help if you’re ever assaulted (sexual, or otherwise) and the Blanc situation seems to be showing evidence that suggests that the progress we as a society have made toward gender equality seems to be not as much as we had thought.
Basically, regardless of peoples’ sexual orientation/preferences, respect should be at the forefront of any and all interactions, especially when we’re talking about ‘romantic’ encounters.

I mean, yes – everyone has their own way of interacting, but there are some things that should be very clearly crossing the line and the WRONG way to go.  I think the saddest thing with Blanc is how many followers are so keen to attend one of his ‘training sessions’ – and those things aren’t cheap, either!  Honestly, it just seems mind-boggling.

So, to add my *free* two cents of wisdom: if you like someone, don’t be a jerk…the whole pulling pig-tails thing that is so gr. 2, really should stay in gr. 2.  I mean, even Higa figured it out!!



#teens #instafame #FOMO #smarts

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spark of vivacity

So there are been a fair bit of discussion lately on the topic of how technology has brought about some rather impactful changes to society and teens in particular – and while there have been some pretty amazing good stuff that’s come out of it, there have also been some rather intense and harmful consequences…

First things first – what am I talking about.  Well, to narrow down the tech I’m referring to, let’s say the connectivity of mobile tech and social media sites and apps.  aka. Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Chatroulette, and Vine, just to name a few.

lettersAnd for you lovely folk who are currently one of the millions of teens in the world at the moment, you have lived such an interesting and weird life!!!
Lol, seriously, try and imagine a world without everyone having cell phones.  A world world where if you wanted to talk to you friend, you were either right in front of them, or they happened to be at home when you called them on the landline.  A world where written communication was a letter that went through the postal service, and even if you lived in the same city, it would take at least 2+ days for it to reach them…unless you dropped it off in their mailbox yourself.  Where if you wanted to show someone a picture you took, you’d have to grab the actual developed photo and physically bring it to them (not to mention that if you took a picture, you had to first finish that roll of film, then go to the store and wait for the film to be developed before you could see how the picture turned out!).

McAfeeTweens1 PhotoSo, as I was saying, you have lived your whole life in a very weird world.  Like, seriously, WEIRD!  It’s insane.  It’s super fast-paced, in your face, and constantly changing.  It connects us all.  It takes people (friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike) into our homes – H E double hockey stick – it can take people straight into your bedroom!

And it has changed us.  But, I think maybe it has changed you even more so than those born pre-1990.  And why?  Because you are teenagers.  Yep, that’s pretty much it.

Oh, technology!  You’re so ageist!!

You guys are the age that that has this really odd mixture of knowing everything (though, well, you don’t actually know everything everything, but you sure do know a lot about certain things!) and yet not yet having the life experience, of having incredible power in the home you live in (amazingly enough) and very little at the same time (re: life experience).   You are (relatively!) responsibility-free, all of your disposable income can likely go toward buying whatever you want.  You are the target of numerous marketing campaigns. You are physiologically going through crazy changes – basically, your body is a wonderland for all the chemicals that are responsible for our emotions (hormones!!) to jump up and down and all over the place until they decide where they want to stay.  You are living in a world where how and what the world thinks of you still matters to you –  a lot more than it probably will in the future.

And people, friends, companies will take advantage of that.  Whether they do so in a way that is beneficial to you or not, is not up to you.  And them’s the breaks.  Which means that you need to make sure you stay in control as much as you can.  Want to have an active online social scene?  Fine, go for it – be the next Jenna Marbles or Ryan Higga, I’ll probably start following you (seriously…if you’re funny, witty, or musically talented, let me know).

But remember to keep yourself safe.  While the positive gratification you can get from friends – or I guess I should say ‘friends’ or followers – is really great, don’t place too much importance on it, or don’t let it get to your head, or whatever – pick some other sage words of advise to the point of saying: Make sure you don’t lose yourself.  How you choose to interpret that is up to you.

Keep in mind the bad things that have happened – cyberbullying is a byproduct that has never existed before, and it seems to be more harmful that any previous form of bullying and much more widespread to the ease of it. Becoming a bully has never been so easy; saying something nasty to someone via words on a screen are beyond simple, and it can be as public as you want.
Mercedes Pemberley BrookeChanging yourself or doing something because of pressures that either you are putting on yourself or others are putting on you…it’s just not worth it.
While it has been a few years since I lived my teenage years, I do remember them painfully poignantly.  The good, the bad, and most especially, the ugly.

And to lighten the mood – here’s my sweety of a pup, Mercedes, in her Halloween costume from last year – She’s a princess, obviously =P (but she didn’t like wearing her tiara!)

Week of Geek: The eternal question…book or movie? Who did it better?

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funny cat mad book movie Photo

So, as promised, I went and saw Big Hero 6 this weekend.  LOVED IT!  It was gorgeous, action-packed, touching and fun.

But, perusing my favorite entertainment websites a few days later (just doing as I do) I came across this very interesting article about all of the changes the movie made from it’s comic book sources, and how in this case that was very much a good thing.

So of course, that raises one of the oldest questions to grace fans since books and movies existed in the same universe; who does it better?  And how does one triumph over the other?

Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

We’ve got a few book adaptations coming to theatres in the next few weeks, including Mockingjay Part 1 (out Nov 21; check out the book here), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Dec. 19, book here) and Paddington (Jan 16; check out the first book here).

Indeed, since films were new they’ve been looking to books for inspiration.  As early as 1900 they were making movies about Sherlock Holmes.  He’s still in the Guinness World Records as the most portrayed movie character ever with over 70 actors playing him in over 200 movies, all the way up to Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch.

tumblr miew1sBXmN1s3llupo1 500 Photo

Now, there are the naysayers out there who are purists about books always being better than movies.  And there are plenty of examples of that being the case.  One of my favorite examples is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I loved, loved, LOVED the book!  It’s one of the few I’ve read twice.  It’s clear that the author, Seth Grahame-Smith (of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), did a lot of homework on the life of Lincoln and managed to create a mash-up that not only was as historically accurate as a book that has vampires in it could be, but it all emerged as a thrilling, moving read that didn’t feel silly, despite what it was trying to do.  Now compare that with the movie, which was overblown, ridiculous, paid no attention at all to historical accuracy and added and changed characters that did not need to be added or changed.  Thoroughly disappointing.

But I am not one of those purists who feel that the book is always better.  That’s just not the case.  There are plenty of stories that can translate a little better to the big screen.  When done properly a film adaptation can cut out the treacle and slim a story down to it’s essence.  The truly brave films will also forego what doesn’t work in the source material and either change or add what can in the final film.

An example I like to point to is Bridget Jones’s Diary.  The book, though worth a chuckle at times, eventually just got totally nonsensical as you read on.  The movie, however, is funny, romantic, charming and wonderfully cast.  I’m not big on romantic comedies, but that’s one I’ll always recommend.

And the Harry Potter films, though hit and miss, overall were hits with both viewers and critics.

For some of the new film series, you can see the differences in how they handle their source material.  Take The Hobbit.  Though The Lord of the Rings trilogy was thrilling and, in my humble opinion as a reader who can’t get through Tolkien to save her life, a vast improvement on the books, The Hobbit has been trying for two movies now to make three very long movies out of a 133 page book and some notes.

funny hobbit one book three movies peter jackson money pics Photo

You can really tell when you watch the films, and I hope Battle of the Five Armies can pull off a grand finale.  The Hunger Games movies, on that other hand, have so far done something I quite like, which is adapt the source material faithfully but expand the world a little bit by adding other scenes outside of Katniss’ experiences, which the books fail to do.  Brava!

What makes a book-to-movie adaptation work for you guys?  What are some of your favorite examples of ones they got right?  What did they get horribly, horribly wrong?  Are you on team book or team movie?

So when it comes to books or movies, I think there’s no one-size-fits-all assessment…

Except when it comes to Twilight.  I’m sorry, there’s just no saving that either way smile face icon

Harry Potter Vs Twilight 6 Photo

Week of Geek: First looks at Agent Carter; and have we hit oversaturation yet?

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This week we were treated to a release date for new Marvel series Marvel’s Agent Carter, which should be airing Jan 6th, 2015 as a special 8 part series.  Not only that, but we have our first footage as well.

Ooooh, should be so awesome!  A super-heroic period piece with an awesome female lead (finally!)

And since Marvel’s on a role, they released a slight extension to their Age of Ultron trailer that features a Test of Strength to see who can lift Thor’s hammer.

But as excited as I am about all of it my geeklings, I find myself in a somewhat pensive mood.  I ponder if we’ve finally reached the point of oversaturation when it comes to our superheroes.  I love love LOVE that Marvel has made these types of movies so ridiculously popular and that some of my most favorite and beloved characters are invading our screens, but…as the age-old adage goes, too much of anything is not a good thing.  And it really means anything, even something as awesome as great superhero movies.

I found this infograph from ComicsAlliance.com on an article I read this week (I love infographs; so helpful), and it shows basically all of the superhero movies gearing up for the next few years.

ComicsAlliance Superhero Movie Timeline Updated October 28 2014

I have to admit…that is A LOT of movies!  10 in 2017 compared to just 3 next year.  I didn’t even realize how many there were in total until I saw this.  Plus add TV shows as well and it just…it just begs the question of how sustainable this trend is.

And I hope it is.  When I was younger we were darn lucky if we got our favorite superheroes on the big screen in a way that wasn’t totally horrible (Batman and Robin, I’m looking at you!).  But Hollywood has proven time and time again that as long as something makes money they will keep putting out films about it, regardless of whether it needs to happen or if it’s even good (Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is in the works, btw).  And will the average theatre-goer just simply get sick of all of this?  The hardcore geeks may be happy, but we’re not the only ones buying tickets.  It took years for nerd culture to finally find mainstream acceptance; I’d hate to see that get snuffed out because certain studios are too eager to cash in.

But I might just be making a mountain our of a mole hill.  It is still too early to call on this one.  What do you guys think?  Will you be checking off all of the movies listed above or will you trash that infograph and move on to something else before 2015 even gets here?

In the meantime, I’m gonna go watch Big Hero 6.  Here’s to living in the now!

The Dean’s Teen List: The Princess Bride

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Princess BrideLadies, Gentlemen, and everyone else not seated on a cushion! The Dean’s Teen List has returned and this time naked steel, assassination plots, incredible feats of strength, rodents of unusual size, daring do, utter hilarity, and  true love are the objects of our attention.

Allow me to introduce to you the movie that “won the internet” and earned the spot as the end all be all of Most Beloved Classics Ever…The Princess Bride.

Adapted from the original text, The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure : the ‘good parts’ version, by the author himself is one of those rare occurrences when the movie as every bit as glorious (and funny) as the book.

Two young lovers, Westley and Buttercup, are wrenched apart by fate, and lack of proper forms of long-distance communication, when their worlds get overturned by that tenacious thing called destiny. Having been mistaken for dead for years by the woman who loves him Westley returns to Florin only to discover that his one true love…is about to marry someone else. However that is not the only problem. Someone is out to kill Buttercup and it is up to Wesley and his two unlikely allies to put a stop to the wedding, save the girl, avenge a murdered father, defeat a dastardly monarch and make it out in mostly on piece. Not as easy as you would think seeing how the Hero ends up mostly dead smack-dab in the middle of the story.

Read more…