Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Twilight Graphic Novel!

The artwork by Young Kim is beautiful!

I LOVE graphic novels. Maybe my Archie Comics collection in elementary school started me on the path to graphic novels, but I love how they tell a story with art and words combined. I have many students that live for graphic novels and rarely read anything else. When my Entertainment Weekly featured the cover and a few pages of the Twilight graphic novel, which will be released March 16th, I hadn't heard a thing about the project and was very excited by the beautiful pictures by artist, Young Kim. Stephenie also reveals that she worked very closely with Kim, who drew the pictures true to Stephenie's imagined vision of the characters. Here is a snippet of the EW interview with Meyer, but click on the cover above to read the accompanying article.

The text of your original novel is boiled down so carefully that it doesn’t feel like anything is missing. Were you the one who did that?

I was definitely involved. I didn’t do the original “script” for the book, so to speak. But when I got the dialogue with the images, I did a lot of tinkering. In a couple of places, I asked for missing scenes to be inserted. For example, the conversation in the car that Bella and Edward have after she faints in Biology.

How does the feeling of reading the graphic novel compare to that of reading the original? Does it bring something new to the experience for you?

For me, it takes me back to the days when I was writing Twilight. It’s been a while since I was really able to read Twilight; there is so much baggage attached to that book for me now. It seems like all I can see are the mistakes in the writing. Reading Young’s version brought me back to the feeling I had when I was writing and it was just me and the characters again. I love that. I thank her for it.

When this project is done, are you done with Twilight?

I can’t say that I am done with Twilight forever. I’m not working on anything new Twilight-related now, and probably not for a while. But there’s still a possibility that I’ll go back and close some of the open doors.

Even though these images supposedly mirror Stephenie's imagined Edward, I think Robert Pattinson is a much better and hotter Edward than this Ken Doll-lookin' EC.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

6th Grader Percy Jackson has had a rough childhood. Trouble has followed him to every school he's ever attended, and his dyslexia and ADHD haven't helped matters, either. Percy has never understood why he can see things other can't see and why when he's angry, he can do things that "normal" kids can't do...things that usually involve water. He finally feels like he may have found a place at his current boarding school, until a field trip goes awry and a Percy battles for his life and discovers his hidden lineage in the process. As a half-blood, or son of a Greek god, Percy must find his way to Half-blood Hill camp and learn what the gods have in store for him.

I saw the trailer for the new movie during the previews for New Moon, and I knew I needed to read the books. Not only have my 8th grade boys latched on to the series, but our school librarian has been pushing the Reading teachers to read Riordan's popular series. Action-packed and chock-full of Greek mythology references, I am very excited about this book. For one, I love having a series I can recommend to my students (especially boys), and two, I have to teach Greek mythology starting next year. This novel will be and excellent way to introduce Greek mythology, and the new movie will only help fuel interest in the series. I'm a bit concerned about them changing Percy in the movie from a 6th grader to a high school student, but we shall see if that altercation affects the plot of the movie. I'm hoping studio execs aren't tampering with a good thing by changing his age. Lord knows having Harry Potter in the movie version of the book remain young worked out well for that cinema series. I do know that the book is a worthy read, so if you want an imaginative and fast-paced series to dive into, then Riordan's series is worth a shot.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

'Her Fearful Symmetry' by Audrey Niffenegger

If I had to make a list of books that I would bring with me to a deserted island, Audrey Niffenegger's first novel, The Time Traveler's Wife would be on that list. So when Niffenegger's (say that last name five times) second novel hit the shelves, I had to read it! I usually don't read reviews of books I've been dying to read, but I broke my rule and read the New York Times Review of Her Fearful Symmetry and it was quite positive and stoked my fire for Niffenegger even more...but don't run to your local bookstore to pick up HFS just yet.

I found the first fourth of the novel intriguing because I enjoy shifts in perspective by authors, and the novel shifted through a gamut of interesting characters. Mirror twins (meaning twins that are exact replicas of one another, but mirror images) Valentina and Julia inherit a London flat from their deceased Aunt, Elspeth. Elspeth and their mother, Edwina were also twins but hadn't spoken to one another in over twenty years due to the twins mother running off and marrying Elspeth's fiance, Jack. The terms of Elspeth's will state that the girls must live in the flat for one year before selling it, and both are up to the task since they've had a difficult time finding their niche in life. It also helps that Elspeth's ghost is still haunting the flat, and that her younger lover Robert occupies the flat above hers. There's also an OCD neighbor, Martin, who enjoys scrubbing things with industrial strength bleach and hasn't left his flat in years. You would think all of these factors would add up for a quite riveting novel, right? Right?

Ugh. No. Niffenegger displayed much knowledge about London's Highgate Cemetery, but let her plot take such crazy twists and turns that I would've much rather read Robert's lengthy thesis about Highgate. I understood why Valentina might feel trapped by her twin identity, but the lengths she went to escape Julia were absurd. It was dreary, slow, dull and completely far-fetched in the buildup and outcome, don't get me started on the ending. All of that craziness just to end the book like that, Audrey? Seriously? I was so pissed after that last page. I understand the irony behind it, but it was MADDENING. Anyhow, I suffered through Her Fearful Symmetry just to realize there was absolutely NO SYMMETRY IN PLOT or believability. INCONGRUITY RUN AMOK!

Now if you haven't read Niffenegger's first, DO IT! It's a great book and might've set up Niffenegger for failure from jumpstreet. I'm not sure how you equal or out-do this novel.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Sore Ass Says It's a Keeper

I blogged the other day about one of my many New Year's resolutions (yes, I'm one of THOSE people), to steal Jennifer Aniston's delicious body. I do not bat for the other team, but I can appreciate another woman who has it going on, and Aniston is the #1 celeb body in my book. Aniston is a know follower of yoga and her trainer Mandy Ingber is partly responsible for Jen's enviable bod. I've done the workout three times and I'm sore in places I've never felt soreness before, but not a crippling, I-can't-sit-down-to-pee-without-crying-out-in-agony type of soreness. (Weight-lifting routines create that type of god-awful soreness for me. Ugh.) My inner thighs, abs, butt (every muscle in my gluteous maximus, thank you very much) and my arms and triceps were deliciously sore. Soreness tells me that my body is changing, and that is good because all of those tender areas NEED TO CHANGE before summer gets here. My plan is to do the workout four times a week and to do cardio every weekday in the afternoons. I've been waking up at 5:30 and it actually hasn't been too rough on me. The yoga wakes me up and I like how Mandy isn't a weird chanter and doesn't try to jazz you up, either. She's funny and very laid-back with a mantra that I don't mind chanting when I'm feeling the burn! Her person mantra that we chant during leg exercises is "I have a great ass, I have a great ass," and I'm hoping that's working! Time will tell, but my 30th is quickly approaching and I MUST get to work! Give the DVD a try if you want a challenging yoga workout, and want a booty like Jen Aniston's....that side effect is still yet to be determined!

RENE + ESME = Too Many Freakin' Syllables

It's not earth-shattering news about Breaking Dawn, but hey, at least it's something. The L.A. Times interviewed producer of the Twilight Saga, Wyck Godfrey and shed a teeny bit of light on the character that has most of us fans puzzled: RENESMEE, the inter-species offspring of Bells and EC. Will Renesmee be freakishly CGI'd to the point of giving us all creepy-kid nightmares, or will she look sweet and kissable like the pictures I found (made by fans, not myself) below? Read the article for more BREAKING DAWN movie dish, and enjoy the cuddly pictures of the youngest Cullen.

Not quite sure, but I don't think Renesmee's birth video will be making onto A BABY STORY anytime soon. Talk about "bloody show"!

From the LA Times:
Wyck Godfrey, the producer of all the films in the “Twilight” saga, admits that the creative team still doesn’t know how they’ll handle the character in the “Breaking Dawn” movie, but said that the plan is absolutely for the production to go forward — as either one or two installments — with an eye toward beginning to shoot in Vancouver this fall. All three stars are signed for “Breaking Dawn,” he said, meaning that Stewart and Pattinson will be dealing with the joys and woes of interspecies parenting and newly minted heartthrob Taylor Lautner will return as often-shirtless shape-shifter Jacob Black. "My Daddy is hotter than YOUR Daddy."

At the moment, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, who’s penned all the “Twilight” movies, is working on the “Breaking Dawn” script(s). “It’s a work in process,” Godfrey said in an interview Friday. “The issue [of whether there will be one or two movies] is not going to be resolved until we get the full treatment and see whether it’s organic. If it’s not organic, I don’t think it will be done, and if it is, it will be. It really has to do with how much level of detail from the books there is, with all of these new vampires that appear in ‘Breaking Dawn,’ the whole section about Jacob… It’s a very long single movie if it does become a single movie.”

Although there’s been a great deal of online chatter about whether Chris Weitz, director of the second and most recent movie, “New Moon,” would return to helm “Breaking Dawn,” Godfrey downplayed that possibility, saying, “I think everyone would be happy and excited if he came back, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

He and the other principals are formulating a list of potential directors, “but right now,” Godfrey said, “we’re just focused on the treatment and getting that right. At that point, we’re going to see who’s available and who’s appropriate. It’s such a complicated book because you have the emotions and the intensity of the love story — so you need somebody who’s just a wonderful director of actors — and yet it’s really complicated from an action and visual effects standpoint. They’ve got to have both tools in their kit.”
Wyck Godfrey, one of the Twilight producers, had a bit to say about the final installment in the series, Breaking Dawn. Even though Eclipse is slated to release June 30, production has yet to begin on BD. Wyck spoke with the LA Times and attempted to answer the questions that all of us Twilight fans have had on our brain, "What in the heck will they do with RENESMEE?" Just saying her name is a mouthful of unwanted syllabals waiting to gag me at any moment. I found a few cute fan-made pictures that seem to resemble the interspecies tot to some degree.

A visual effects background might be particularly helpful when it comes to dealing with the character of Renesmee.

“I keep having visions of ‘[The Curious Case of] Benjamin Button’ in my head,” Godfrey said, referring to David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated 2008 fantasy about a man who becomes physically younger as he ages. “It’s certainly going to be visual effects in some capacity along with an actor. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being a full CG creation, but it also may be a human shot on a soundstage that then is used to shrink down. I don’t know. We need a director. When we get a director, that director will need to come with a point of view of how they want to tackle it.”

The third movie in the series, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” is due in theaters June 30.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rob, Kristen, Jacob and Awkward Silences

This is an extended version of the Jimmy Kimmel Live interview with the stars of New Moon. I know it is old, but I just got around to watching it, so cut me some slack. For some reason I dread watching interviews with Kristen Stewart AND Robert Pattinson in them together. They may have chemistry on screen, but during interviews there is so much awkwardness...I feel like that time I rented The Forty Year Old Virgin, not really knowing what the movie was about, and watched it with my mother. Awkward.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is Sad...

This is a very recent picture of stylist, Rachel Zoe. She's often been scrutinized for her thin frame, but has consistently denied rumors of an eating disorder. What I'm wondering is how in the heck does her husband not see that she has a problem and DO SOMETHING? My husband would start cramming Crisco down my gullett or commit me to a clinic until I understood that I needed to eat.

Rachel is obviously in denial, and has been quoted many times in the media defending her boney bod: "We've had Audrey Hepburn, we've had Twiggy, we've had Veruschka, we've had Kate Moss," she said. "I'm trying to figure out why I am to blame for skinniness.

"Truthfully, I've never seen myself as being too thin," she adds. "Sometimes I'll look at photos and be like, 'Oh, that's not a good look.' But generally speaking, I'm not too thin."

Honey, when we can see your STERNUM, you are indeed too thin.

Say Hello to My Little Frie-aaand!

Those of you who grew up with me and know my background will agree with me when I say that I've never been what one would consider a "spoiled little rich girl". I grew up in a trailer house for part of my adolescences for cripes sakes! However, since becoming a junior high teacher and rolling in the dough, I've moved up in the world. ;) I live in a home that doesn't have wheels, I drive a car that has never had a previous owner, and I now possess a REAL Coach handbag. Yes ladies, I own a purse that I did not purchase at Walmart, Target, or Kmart. The leather is real, the material supple and soft, and quite frankly, I'm loving this handbag almost as much as something I gave birth to (sarcasm, people) and let me tell you, it was a difficult delivery.

I lived up to my trailer park roots during the purchase of my new luxury item. The poor saleslady at Dillard's was very patient with my hillbilly-ass and didn't roll her eyes and sigh TOO much while I was swiping my three different gift cards, handing over a fifty dollar bill, and putting the remaining balance on my debit card! After enduring scathing glares from Elvira (do all Dillard's saleswomen have to spackle on so much make up?), I walked out of Dillard's as the proud owner of my very first Coach handbag.

It was a beautiful moment, but leave it to my husband to rain on my parade. He's always said that the reason he loves me so much is that I'm down-to-earth and not materialistic, so I guess my venture to the dark side annoyed him. He couldn't understand why anyone would pay so much for a purse when my Target bag "looked just like that expensive-ass bag you just bought." However, he shut his pie-hole after I told him that I would gladly return my bag and use only Target/Walmart accessories, if he would take back every dadgum, expensive golf club littering my garage and only use Walmart golf clubs from here on out! "Touche," he replied, "Touche."

The apple of my eye, the "Madison Op Art Sateen Claire"...isn't she beautiful?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Was Having a Bad Day...

So I posted this, and now I feel better! How many more days until Eclipse, already?! Geez, I need a Twilight fix, and I need it soon. I'm almost tempted to see if the local flea markets have a copy of New Moon yet. It's not like the movie industry would be losing money if I buy a pirated copy, because I will inevitably buy both the BlueRay and normal DVD versions of the film when it is released in February. It better be released in February! Shouldn't we have some sort of Eclipse trailer by now, or are we going to have to wait until the Spring for that, too? I'm so whiny about Twilight today, but some days I just miss it and need a dose of Edward, and I usually start to feel like that when my "real world" is sucking....like today!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Baby-Sitters Club is Coming Back! Kristy, Maryanne, Claudia, and Stacey...Welcome Back Old Friends!

You know you secretly wanted Claudia's awesome yellow jumpsuit and Stacey's fabulous tights.
I have been known to delve into literary greatness on this blog, but this post will take the cake. The Baby-Sitters Club was one of the very first series I ever owned and loved. I'm not kidding when I say I owned over a hundred of these books. (I think they stopped at 213 and were out of publication by 2000). Series creator, Ann M. Martin has written and Scholastic is releasing a prequel titled The Summer Before, along with the first two books in the series will be released in April. The New York Times reports that "Editors at Scholastic updated some of the references to technology and outdated fashions in the reissued books. So a “cassette player” has become “headphones” and a “perm” has become “an expensive hairstyle.” The graphics, cover art and packaging will also be updated. I'm so bummed that I sold my entire set in a garage sale when I was 14, because those books were too "babyish" for someone as cool as me at that age.
I had this book. Love the socks with the loafers, Stacey! And Kristy, your rolled up denim is FAB!
The Baby-Sitters Club series was definitely a catalyst that fueled my love of reading. Not only did I read the books, but my friends and I tried to start our own babysitting business in the fourth grade. We made posters and taped them up in my friend's parent's grocery store and were devastated that NO ONE called us on Thursday between 3:00 and 4:00 that first day. Why wouldn't you want a group of FOURTH GRADERS babysitting your kiddo? Ha!

After The Baby-Sitters Club, I moved on to other series, like R.L. Stine's Fear Street. I still have five or six of those books that my Mom socked away for me, and I have them on my shelves in my 8th grade Reading classroom. The kids still love them and are so mad when they realize that only a few are still in print. In 2008, Scholastic released some of Stine's Goosebumps series and had much success with them, but I'm still waiting on all of the titles below to be reprinted. I would love to read them again, for S & G!

Shea Cashmere Bubble Bath...OMG!

I will make you linger in the tub for hours!
Click on me for a link to buy at Amazon!

Being a teacher, I get all kinds of sweet gifts from students for Christmas. I have a plethora of coffee mugs (6 this year), teacher ornaments (3 this year), and loads of candy and cocoa mix (too many to count). However, this year a truly awesome student of mine broke the mold. I received an assortment of Bath & Body Works goodies, and my favorite of all of them was the Shea Cashmere Bubble Bath. I've used the entire bottle in two weeks just because I love the smell and how soft it left my skin. My husband was a little worried that I was taking two or three hot baths a day (not only because I was bored, but I just wanted to smell that luscious bubbly goodness). I love the lotion, too, and trust me, I had to use it to replenish all of the moisture lost from the constant bathing, but the Bubble Bath is the bee's knees. Get it. Try it. Thank me later.

My New Year's Resolution - Steal Jennifer Aniston's Sick Body

What?? You think you can snap your fingers and look like this?
Dream on, suckaaaaahs!

I might sound a little nutty to say that, but it's true. Jennifer Aniston has one of the best celebrity bodies around. She's not too skinny and she's not tricked out like a Playboy bunny with a pair of ginormous boobies or super fake skin and hair. She's lean, strong, and appears to be healthy. I know she's admitted to be a smoker, but her physique is what I'm basing my jealousy on, not her lung capacity. I'm not delusional. I know that working out and eating right are what stars are PAID to do, so they take that part of their job very seriously and hire the best personal trainers and dietitians to keep them in top form. Jennifer Aniston probably has every meal perfectly measured and analyzed for optimal nutrition, while I'm lucky to find enough milk to go with my cereal each morning.
Aniston's workouts include yoga and cardio, and her good friend and favorite yoga instructor, Mandy Ingber recently released her very own Yoga DVD workout. I'm sure you know what's coming next...I ordered it yesterday. Time will tell if this is the key to whipping my lack-luster physique into shape, but I'm well aware that only a good plastic surgeon can REALLY get me into Aniston-form! I'll let you know if the DVD workout is worth the dough!

Mandy says, "Click here, dreamers, for a link to my website and DVD."

Friday, January 1, 2010

AVATAR is Living Up to the Hype!

I will be the first to admit that I love science fiction and fantasy story lines. Heck, I'll even fess up that one of my favorite t.v. shows when I was younger was Star Trek...yes, I'm a closet Trekkie! However, my former football player husband DOES NOT do Sci-fi. I think it is a cardinal rule for jocks or something. They take an oath in junior high before they are issued their first set of pads, promising to abstain from using their imaginations and brains for anything other than drawing up or analyzing football plays. However, since I can pretty much badger him into doing anything that I please, I forced him to see AVATAR with me...in 3D, no less! He had to sit in the theater with all of the other dorks AND wear Buddy Holly-esq glasses. I soooooo wanted to take a picture to commemorate the moment but he would've punched me in the throat, so I didn't dare.

Anywhoo, back to the lecture at hand, AVATAR was amazing; the creme de la creme of Sci-fi films. The computer animation was out-of-this-world, and it still boggles my mind that there are people in this world who can actually MAKE stuff like this. It is mind-blowing, and I totally understand how it took such a long time to make - I think it was eight years in the making, or something outrageous like that! The storyline obviously parallels many conflicts Americans have created in the past and currently: the taking of land and resources from native populations. It is a great testimony for peace and understanding in this time of war. Now before I nominate James Cameron for the Nobel Peace prize, I will admit that there was a bit of cheese involved in the the plot, but not necessarily Velveeta. It was cheesy, but more like an expensive cheese you purchase at the deli to have with your sort-of-expensive bottle of wine. If you do plan on seeing the flick, take my advice and see it in 3-D. It is well worth the extra dough and you won't even notice the dorkiness of the specs after the previews start to roll. Go see AVATAR, then join me in recycling or possibly donating funds to the Aborigines or to Rain forest kittens.