On holiday

I’m back to work today, but the blog is going to rest for a few more days.

Recap: Christmas was excellent!

See y’all in the New Year.

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Movie Quote Mashup

I think I only manages to make about half of these funny.

1. The dude abides – Ghandi
2. You had me at Hello – The Exorcist
3. Get your stinking paws off me. You damn dirty ape. – King King
4. We’re gonna need a bigger boat – Titanic.
5. I’m walking here! I’m walking here! – The Hobbit
6. You can’t handle the truth! – Saw
7. There’s no place like home. – Psycho
8. What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. – See no evil, hear no evil
9. I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse. – Indecent Proposal
10. There can be only one – Alien
11. I’ll be back. – Return of the Jedi

Got funnier ideas than mine? Or more quotes? Let me know

Dyck 2012 Christmas Letter

Mom, Tim and I wish all our friends and family glad tidings, gleeful encounters and our love during the Christmas season.

2012 was a middling year for our family. There were few momentous events either glad or sad. Personally, this is just about the way I like it.

My attentions remain focused on work. January will be my 2 year anniversary working for the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. All of that time has been spent shepherding the same major project towards completion. January also marks when we “go live” and the results of all that work will be garnered.

The rest of my time is spent trivially on books, movies, games, tv and this blog.

Tim’s passions always include travel. While there were no long, giant trips this year, he did travel to Costa Rica as part of a wedding party and enjoyed the trip immensely. He even brought Mom along.

Unlike the rest of the family, Tim is highly social. He fills his time with friends and family at every opportunity.

Mom spends retirement house sitting, dog sitting, baby sitting and otherwise helping others. She complains that she is too busy, but then is supervising deliveries for a friend the next day. During her free time, she takes advantage of all the cultural events she can in the city. She has also had the fortune to travel with her sisters throughout the year. More trips are being planned.

Our health is good. Mom had eye surgery and for the first time I’ve ever known her, she can see with no glasses. Considering how horrendous her vision was, this is truly extraordinary. Tim has had to make some concessions to our disability this year. This winter he is testing out ankle braces to aid balance and stability. I’ve also made concessions and I have engaged some home care to help in small ways. I expect that in the next year this aid will grow.

This is also this second Christmas since Dad passed. Personally, I’m ok during the holidays. It is during Dad specific events like Grey Cup and hockey finals that his absence pains me more. However, he will be in our thoughts as we move through the season.

Small joys and small griefs are the sum of our year. For you and your family, I wish more of the former and fewer of the latter.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Hobbit :An Unexpected Journey – A review

Note: I did not see the movie in HFR or 3D. Unlike every other review of the Hobbit, there won’t be any talk of the new technologies.

Note 2: This review contains spoilers.

The first fantasy book I remember ever reading is The Hobbit. My parents had shelved their copy under the assumption that a small boy would one day want to read it. Considering the course my life has taken reading that book must be considered one of the formative experiences of my life. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a grander, more epic tale, but The Hobbit remained my favourite.

The Hobbit has elements to make a good movie. A strong core character, exciting action and one of the best villains ever put on paper. But it has more elements that won’t work. It doesn’t adhere to a classic act structure. Instead it has a series of episodes. They culminate in a strong climax, but the adventures don’t really grow. In fact during the most cinematic portions of the climax, the Battle of the Five Armies, the main character is unconscious and misses it. Bilbo may be a strong main character and Thorin gets some development, but the rest of the characters including the other 12 dwarfs and Gandalf are basically stock characters.

Thus, even after the success of LOTT, I observed the announcement and production of the films with a large measure of trepidation. More so when I heard that there would be three movies instead of one. The Hobbit would be an epic to rival LOTR despite never having enough source material. Additionally it is marketed as a prequel to LOTR. Tolkien had LOTR in mind when he wrote the Hobbit. He seeded ties between the two stories most notably Bilbo, Gandalf and the ring. But The Hobbit isn’t a true prequel.

Wow. That was a lot to say in order to reach the point. All my worry is for naught. The movie is excellent.

Let’s hit my fears. The length – the length is achieved is two ways. One they have allowed scenes to breathe. The early scenes in Bag End included the full diner party including two dwarfish songs. I cannot think of any scene abridged. Secondly, they added material relating to the Necromancer of Dol Goldur. This plot was hinted at in the book. It is the true beginning of the LOTR saga. Here that material is developed. Both work well. The pacing of the movie is uneven – slow at the beginning and packed at the end. But it is never boring. I loved the immersive qualities of the beginning and the time taken to achieve it.

That brings my to the second fear. Making it a prequel. Emphasizing the Necromancer certainly moves in that direction. But the material works. It makes the overall plot more complex and dark, but not too complex or dark. Really, my fears here are realized. But, I repeat, it works.

Stock characters – Beyond excellent work by Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin are nicely developed by Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage. The rest of the dwarves are given the quirks they have in the novel and the length of the movie gives the actors time to bring them to life. Dwalin, Balin, Fili and Kili in particular have great moments and personality. Bifur, Bofur, Oin and Gloin also get a little time. Ori, Nori and Dori round out the group. They probably had bits too. I just need to watch it again. 🙂

Episodic structure – two ways. First they gave it a normal three act structure. The opening. Then the trolls, orcs and Rivendell are linked. Finally the third act from the entry into the Misty Mountains until the end is a giant series of linked action scenes. Next they emphasized the theme of home in each act to give a strong through line.

Ok fears done. What else does the movie do well?

It is fun. It is exciting. It is scary. It is funny. It is gorgeous. It is true to the book, but also cinematic.

It is pretty darn awesome.

Fun? It captures the thrill of the book. It has word games and riddles. Stone at sunlight and danger in the dark. There is magic and wonder.

Exciting and scary? More so than the books there is a constant feel of peril. The trolls are the most humorous, but even they are scary. The introduction of a head evil Orc works particularly well.

Funny? Quite. All the humour of the book is there. Additionally, there is humour in reactions and sight gags. The dwarfs are hilarious without losing their nobility. I’m not sure how that was achieved.

True and gorgeous. These elements are brought forward from Jackson’s work on LOTR.

And Gollum is great. As everyone expected.

I give this film a very positive rating. Huzzah.

2 notes of little consequence

I don’t have a real blog in me. Today. I’m sure their is one gestating like a Ridley Scott special effect though.

I saved two notes from earlier today. The type of tripe I normally subject Facebook followers with. Instead I will hit this much smaller audience. The blog must be fed.

ONE when I dressed this morning I saw my shirt was worse for wear. When exposed to daylight it revealed its full lack of cohesion. I spent they day thinking I should either be asking for alms or handing out blessings.

TWO and I forgot the second thing. I will put this down and come back later.

THREE this blog is like that joke. There are only three type of people in the world. Those who can count and those who can’t. Anyway, the second thing was this. I was on training today. It was one of those participatory course with lots of activities. We built a tower, crossed a river, solved a version of the Hanoi Towers with human pieces, etc. There was also a ball throwing game. 14 people throwing balls in a circle. Two teams. I was worried I’d be the weak link on our team. I’ve never been good at ball throwing and lately I’m all left arms. But I was awesome. Our team won half the contests and were within a second or two of the other team. I felt very able and inordinately proud.

Geez. That is almost as long as a normal blog entry. I expected my brother by now. Wonder where he is? If I call will he buzz up?

Nope. I’ll just need to wait.

Night.

Weekly Recap

I was reviewing resumes today. One person listed on their skill list that they were conversant. Not what they were conversant in. I think my only same assumption is that they are conversant in everything.

I will hire immediately.

We are getting close to the winter solstice. Yay. I can hardly wait for the weather to start improving. At least for the day to grow longer again.

The highlight of my week was going to be going to a Christmas party. I woke that morning feeling slug-like. Then Mom called and said she was popping over. She came by a bit earlier than I expected. As I ‘ran’ to the phone, I missed her call twice. Then she gave up and went home. Too tired she said. I realized I felt the same. So I went to bed and missed the party.

I am the lamest person ever.

I saw Rise of the Guardians on the weekend. It was good. It was myself, parents and 100 kids. Other people I know we’re going to Hitchcock or Lincoln. But my theatre doesn’t show those. Grr. I did like it though. It was fantasy superhero Santa goodness. There came a moment in the film when the EBG (evil bad guy) was winning. The hero, Jack Frost, was defeated and cast aside and the EBG was gloating and cackling. A small child began to cry. I heard his Dad try to assure him that the good guys were going to come back (I don’t want to give spoilers), but the kid was having none of it. Eventually the Dad took him out. Poor guy. Traumatized forever by a feel good movie.

I also bought forks at the mall. I never have clean forks. I think they get thrown out in Chinese food containers. Now I have 8 more. I thought they were a good quality, but when I got home I see that the box is proudly labeled ‘forged’. So I apparently have some knock off forks.

TroyP was up for gaming. We played Shadows over Camelot and just barely won. We cheated four times, but are counting the win anyway. It was good to see him!

Comics were good, but ended poorly. I need to drop a few titles I’m just not enjoying. I also finished Building Stories. None of the other 13 stories in the box set impacted me like the first.

Finally no week seems complete without a hospital visit to research my cough. This set of tests found me completely healthy. Yay? No closer to figuring out the cause.

That is all for this week. Two weeks until Christmas. Huzzah! Haven’t started my shopping yet, but it should take about 15 minutes total. So I’m procrastinating a while longer.