Category Archives: Books, Movies & Entertainment

Overview of the Ocarina: Instrument of the Ages


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I wrote this article in 2009 for another website I was running at the time. In this article, I cover my experiences with the ocarina, the history of the ocarina, selecting (or making) an ocarina, and how to play an ocarina.

At a renaissance festival, a musician lured me with whimsical melodies using a strange whistle-like device. Enchanted, I hovered over to her stand, where I discovered that she and her sister made ocarinas for a living, to my great surprise, because, although I had played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I never knew such instruments actually existed. A diehard Zelda fan and a lover of music, I stood staring at the shiny ocarinas of all shapes and sizes on the counters. Read more

The new Godzilla sucked


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A Godzilla fan since the 1998 movie made my then 8-year-old self aware of the beastie (don't worry -- it got me watching the older ones), I've been anxiously awaiting the new Godzilla since the first tantalizing previews appeared last May, drooling about how cool he was going to look in all of his modern CG glory. When I found out that some of the same folks involve with Godzilla were involved with Pacific Rim, I just knew the movie was going to be a visual feast of monster badassery. Read more

Secret of Kells: proving that Christianity and paganism can get along, beautifully


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The Secret of Kells has been out for awhile, but I watched it again recently and think it worthy of sharing just in case you haven't seen it yet.

I love how the film subtly incorporates the character of illuminated pages and traditional Celtic artwork into its visual style, and the way its plot gracefully weaves Irish pagan beliefs into Christian legend. Read more

Pacific Rim could use more of its awesome fight scenes


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Eric and I watched Pacific Rim opening weekend, entranced by flashy commercials of glorious monsters and glittering machinery. Sometimes I go to a movie for its emotional or intellectual appeal; this was not one of those times. However, determined to elevate itself from the ranks of the entertaining but vacuous robot flicks like Bay's Transformers, Pacific Rim devotes time to character development -- too much, in fact. I found myself rolling my eyes (along with Eric) and anxiously waiting for the next Kaiju to strike. The upside is that when the battles do come, they rage violently and beautifully. Nevertheless, I felt deprived by the number of fight scenes: a meager three, if I recall correctly. Still, despite its glaring flaws, Pacific Rim not only succeeds in being a smarter and more satisfying film than Transformers, it delivers a wonderful visual feast of flesh-and-metal fights.

Rating: 3.5/5 Read more

Gods of Asgard graphic novel by Erik Evensen review: learn real Norse mythology the fun way


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With the sequel to Marvel's blockbusting Thor due in theaters this November, interest in Norse mythology is bound to explode. Watching that original Thor certainly kindled the desire in me, and on top of ordering a Mjolnir necklace pendant (a replica of an artifact found in Sweden) from Viking-Shield.com, I took to researching the mythology. This culminated in my purchasing Gods of Asgard: A graphic novel interpretation of the Norse myths by Erik Evensen, a fortuitous decision for anybody interested in not just learning, but really experiencing, the tales.

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I actually liked Fast 6


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Like most anybody, I enjoy driving fast on occasion and I get excited by the sound of a big aggressive motor, but the finer details of fast cars do little for me. As a straight woman, large perky breasts and jiggling asses do even less, except make me feel mildly inadequate. Let's face it, the Fast & Furious series was not designed with me in mind, but to indulge my gearhead husband; I have watched them all, and I agreed to watch the sixth installment. (Our original deal was that he would buy me a dual sport motorcycle if I watched them all, after I sold my old less-than-perfect 2001 Super Sherpa when he expressed safety concerns. I've held up my end... [Update: He held up his!]) The experience was a lot less painful than I expected -- enjoyable, even.

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