Monday, October 24, 2011

The Power of Acting

I just had to write a post about this. It seems so nerdy, but I was completely impressed that I wanted to write about it.

It's no surprise that I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. While I do much prefer the books to the movies, the movies still had much to offer in many aspects (the magic, Voldemort's rebirth scene, The Cave, among others). As the movies progressed, so did the quality of the acting, and the emotions the movies evoked became more genuine, as though things really were happening for real. Other movies had similar effects. For example, the King and Queen's Ball Scene in Enchanted, Sam carrying Frodo up the slopes of Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings, the beginning of the battle for Narnia in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (as well as Aslan's return in the same movie), Stranger Than You Dreamt It in Phantom of the Opera, Changed for Good in Wicked, the death of the Phoenix in X-Men: Last Stand, and on and on. Each of these scenes, for me, provided a strong, raw emotion that made it seem genuine.

There is one scene that has trumped all these other scenes as the most genuine, most inspiring, and best-acted. It has brought me to tears each time I see it. One reason is because it is the culmination of 8 movies and 7 well-written books. However, the power of the emotion comes from the acting (the type that does not seem too readily available today). If you have not read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, you probably do not want to go on any further.

The character of Severus Snape is, in my opinion, one of the most complex characters I have encountered. His true loyalties are never fully confirmed until almost the last chapter of the last book. And then, once you do find out his true loyalties, the truth comes with an arsenal of reasons as to why his loyalties are what they are; and it all comes down to Love.

In my opinion, this "postponing the truth" is easier to do in writing than in visual demonstrations. The fact that only one person knows the truth makes it less likely that the truth gets out. J K Rowling was the only real person who knew the truth about Snape. In addition, she was able to describe the feelings and emotions that were all tied to this character, which then evoked in the readers their own personal emotions as well. In movies, however, it can be more difficult because the actor needs to portray that in everything they do (their body language, their facial features, sets, music, etc). In my experience, it has been rare to have the movie produce the same type of emotion that a book does. In this one instance, the movie out-did what the book was able to do.

The scene is The Prince's Tale, and the actor is Alan Rickman. In the other seven movies (as well as the last one), the only emotion we see from Snape is either indifference or hatred; there's never a smile, a kind word, or anything to make the character agreeable. He also makes it quite clear that Harry would have been better off had he never existed, in Snape's mind. However, in this scene, we find out why. We find out about the relationship between Severus Snape and Lily Evans/Potter and the love that existed between the two, particularly the love that Snape had for Lily. Not the lust the world calls love, but the true love that involves sacrifice and thinking of the other person more than of self. When I saw Snape walking through the Potter house at Godric's Hollow with a dreaded anticipation in his face, when I saw him walk into the room and his face showed a tortured look, a dreaded realization, and then, when I saw Snape holding Lily's body and rocking her back and forth while sobbing, coupled with Snape's anger about Harry having been "raised like a pig for slaughter" and his answer as to why he was angry, I was amazed to know that this was all acting! It was genuine and it was real and it was genius!

I have always enjoyed Alan Rickman's work, but this took it to a whole new level. I have a new-found respect for acting (as it should be, not as it is) and am amazed at those who do actually have that talent. There is a clip of the scene on YouTube  I'd highly recommend the whole movie (and the whole series), but the scene will do if that's all you want to see. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Pretty soon, I will be celebrating my 1 year anniversary with my very own house! As you all remember from this post, I bought a house (that need some extra TLC, and quick!). In this post, I showed the improvements that needed to be made first (CPR, if you will). The "surgery preparation" has been going well and I just wanted to post some pictures of the progress:

This used to be my room, but I was finally able to turn it into my office (with a dresser). I couldn't take a picture of the other side because it needs some cleaning (the piles have been very busy reproducing...)

The kitchen hasn't really changed, but it is amazing and I love it! I am guessing a stove and dishwasher are about to be about 5 years. The garbage disposal also needs to be about 5 years.

Love this shot! I love the table, but did anybody else notice the difference between this picture and the other one on this post? The picture is much nicer (and more important, not sitting in pieces on my table!)

Here's half of my front room, my favorite room in the house! It turned out amazingly!

And the other half, again, just lovely!
And the bedroom...that mirror was one spectacular find!! I love it :)

I got this frame at the distribution center. It was another spectacular find :)

And yes, as you all may have guessed, I do really enjoy the colors yellow and gold (and brown does fit in nicely).
Well, like I said, my home has been improving very nicely. I am in the process of considering a remodel of the two bathrooms, but that may be placed on the back burner. We shall see.

To my lovely home, Happy Anniversary!!! Here's to a wonderful 79 years more :) And yes, I am doing my best to bring in more people...just be patient!

And I'm Back...But Who Knows for How Long

Woopsie! I guess it has been quite awhile since I've been on here. I don't even have the "hectic" excuse or anything like that...just pure laziness. Oh well, here's a nice little update.

Technically, it hasn't been pure laziness. Things have been quite interesting since the last post. Summer with a yard kind of kicked my trash. It was hard for me to stay on top of the lawn-mowing, weeding, watering, gardening (picking all my yummy tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and corn). I'd like to think I stayed on top of everything, but my lawn always seemed to have some yellow spots and my flower beds seemed somewhat void of flowers. I did plant four rose bushes and some holihocks, but the roses just seemed to die and the holihocks just grew leaves (but they were green!!) I seemed to have a lot of bugs, though. I was told to keep the rose bushes planted at least until next spring (just in case they really aren't dead and decide to start growing next year).

I did have a decent veggie year. My peppers went pretty crazy and I have a good amount frozen in my freezer. I was very spoiled because this September, I was able to take a cucumber and a few tomatoes to work with me for munching (fresh, juicy, and free!) I am going to miss that this winter. We're going to have a tweek things a bit for next year because my tomatoes seemed to try and take over everything (I didn't get many beans).

My backyard lawn is more like a weed patch (as there is more weed than there is grass), but it is looking decent. I did begin adding some lilac bushes and Rose-of-Sharon bushes. They will slowly evolve into some amazing flower beds, but at this point, I just wanted to make sure the bushes survived. They'll also need to get a little bigger before I try and add anything else. My backyard will be my masterpiece. I have some nice plans forming in my mind that I am saving for. By the time I'm through with it, it will be beautiful!!!!

I ran a 10K this summer (which seemed to go by much quicker than a marathon). I was quite proud of myself because I placed 2nd in my age group. I will need to make some improvements (a 14 year-old beat me by a good 15 minutes). Nevertheless, that was my first award for a race and I am very excited about it.

It has been a buzzing summer full of family activities. I've watched many movies, had many dinners, and done all I can to enjoy my brother and his family (from Brazil). I know they're here for good, but there are times where it seems to good to be true. I feel like a little child that is so excited and needs to keep checking that what he is experiencing is real (although, I guess it's not just little children that do that, although little children always are more excited and full of happiness when they go through that).

Well, that's about my summer in a nutshell. Overall, it was quite fun! I'm not at all sick of the heat yet nor am I anywhere near ready for winter to come, but apparently, it will not be late. Oh well, ready or not, here we go!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - Harry Potter fans hit the theater in droves for midnight showing

I made it to the news!!!!!! If you look closely, you'll see me texting at the Megaplex 8 in Thanksgiving Point :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One Amazing Soup!!!

Ok, I have to give the history of this...

I was at work and the ER Clerk heated up some soup for her dinner. Because she was sitting next to me, I could smell the soup and it smelled absolutely amazing!!!!! I finally asked her what it was and she said that it was Turkey Kielbasa soup. I asked her what was in it, so she gave me the recipe. As she told me the ingredients, the first thing that came to my mind was that I would have rather died than eat this soup as a little kid. I now call it the Child's Nightmare Soup, but I tell you, this stuff is absolutely amazing!!!!!! And you can do so much with it. Anyway, here's the recipe. And I'm telling you, don't knock it until you try it!

1Kielbasa sausage (or any type of sausage. I usually get the jalapeno sausage...the one shaped like a "C")
1 onion
1 red bell pepper
1 can black beans
1 tsp oregano
4 c chicken broth

Brown sausage and slice vegetables. Combine in a pot along with oregano, black beans, and chicken broth (NOT THE SPINACH). Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Throw in spinach (desired amount) and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. ENJOY!

I'm sure you can see how it got the name "Child's Nightmare Soup". The fun thing is, you can add what you want. I have added green peppers as well, and I found vegetable broth. So I combined vegetable and chicken broth and it tasted amazing! Of course, I always add crushed red pepper for some additional spice. I next want to try adding potatoes to see what that does. You could add corn, cilantro (if you wanted to ruin the recipe), mushrooms, whatever veggies you can think of. And I'm telling you, it tastes absolutely amazing!!!! If your kids ever complain about what you make, make this and they'll know that whatever you made before is much better! :) Feed this to them and they'll never complain again. But, if you eat it, you'll never want to cook anything else! Enjoy, and let me know if you try it (and what you thought).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tongue Twister Anyone????

I got this app on my phone (called "Random Facts") and I got this one:

The hardest tongue twister in the English Language is "the sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick."

Say that 5 times fast! (I can't even say it one time slow without messing something up).

Spring Fever...and I Hate Ivy...and wind!

My my my...quite awhile since my last post. To be honest, there have been some busy moments, but I have also been somewhat lazy. While it is no excuse, I blame the time of year. January was actually not that bad, aside from my little bout with strep throat/tonsilitis/flu--whatever it was that I got. It started off with just an ache in the back of my throat. While I was at work, things just got worse. It got to the point where I could not swallow without having a whole-body cringe. I could also feel this huge bump on the right side of my throat. When I finally got a prescription for antibiotics (I absolutely love Amoxicilin!), I went home an went to bed. Now, I need to explain that through all of this, I never had a fever. In fact, my temperature stayed around 97 degrees (F). Anyway, around 2 am, I felt the stirrings in my stomach that warned of much unpleasantness. That's right...I began vomiting. Now, you can imagine how that felt when, to swallow, it required a whole-body cringe; nevertheless, it still hurt more to swallow. Anyway, it was difficult to stay hydrated because it hurt so much to swallow (and it would just come up shortly afterwards). Luckily, I had some Gatorade in the fridge (and I think it works better than Zofran!) Anyway, the vomiting stopped (yay!!) but my throat continued to swell and I was no longer able to talk (because it hurt). The best part of all of this...I was supposed to head down to Salt Lake for MY birthday dinner. Anyway, I missed it.

So, in place of my birthday dinner, I had the brilliant idea to watch "Anne Frank: The Whole Story". You guessed it...not a good idea.

Anyway, January started out great, but did not stay that way. And then February started. Let me just say...most people hate January, I LOATHE February. The only good thing about it is when it ends. This year, it was ok. The best part of the beginning of February was the chance to head down the New Mexico to see my brother and his family (my niece was baptized!!!) Although it was short, it was wonderful (and absolutely freezing!)
Here's my niece with my brother and sister-in-law. Such a good service!!
Anyway, after that, it was just any regular February. The last few days have been beautiful!!! The sun was out, it was warm, and spring fever hit me hard! I had the brilliant idea to go out and do some yard work since I didn't have to work and it was supposed to be in the high-fifties. DUMB IDEA! It was windy (of course!) I decided to pull some attitude and kept working. In my backyard, the sides are engulfed by ivy and the back is all shrubs. I discovered on one side of the yard, there is a set of stairs (I thought it was just dirt). So, I began pulling ivy...and pulling...and pulling...and pulling. I even found a couple rose bushes, which was tragic because I think the ivy killed the bushes (now I am really at war with the ivy). Anyway, after I ripped my hands up (yanking on ivy vines), I began to rake up the debris, which lead to me raking the entire back yard. At this point in time, the wind got stronger and so everything just scattered. I continued with the attitude and kept working. At the end of the fight (yes, I did win), I filled 6 bags (30 gallons) with debris, cleared off the steps, trimmed one rose bush (it will need many prayers), and raked the back yard. It does look pretty good, but I think I have about 10 years of work ahead of me, with just the ivy.

Anyway, this post turned in to be much more than I was planning. I'll have to take some pictures of my work so you all can see what I'm talking about. Anyway, I just hope that Spring is around the corner. I know I will pay for this, but I hope that March comes in like a lion so that it goes out like a lamb. I am done with cold, wind, and being couped up in the house. I am ready to tackle my yard and make it amazing!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


So, of friend of mine at work has a bunch of books that she has been lending me over the past couple of months. This all started when I told her about a conversation I had with a friend of mine. The conversation went something like this:
Me: My friend told me about this girl he was interested in who was married before, sealed, to her husband who died of cancer. She had three children who were obviously sealed to her and her deceased husband. My friend was curious what would happen if he decided to marry her; he could not be sealed to her because she was already sealed (and a woman can only be sealed to one man). On top of that, any children they had would be sealed to her, but not to him.
My Friend: That is a sticky situation, and one that no one can logically explain. Even still, things will work out as they should because God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. It's interesting you bring up this subject because there is a book series by an LDS author that centers around this topic. I'll lend them to you.
Me: That sounds great!
Anyway, true to her word, she brought the books in. She warned me they would be on the somewhat romantic side (and that they were...almost nauseating!) but that it had a good story (which made up for the nauseating romance). As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a bit of a sucker for love stories. It wasn't soon that I found myself hooked on this story. Luckily there were only 3 books to the series, but it still swallowed up the bulk of my free time.

Have you ever read a book that has such an effect on you that you feel the characters are real and are close friends or that you actually witnessed the scenes? I remember reading Harry Potter (particularly Order of the Phoenix) and getting so angry and frustrated at Dolores Umbrigde and wanting to throw the book; feeling the intensity of Harry's emotions in the Forbidden Forest as his parents, Sirius, and Lupin join him as he makes his way to Voldemort. Well, these books seemed to do just that...and maybe a bit more. The characters in this LDS fiction series became so real that, once the series was over I actually felt like a good friend had moved away. I then was given another series by the same author with a reappearance of the main characters from this first series. It was great! I felt like I was having a reunion with a long lost friend. And then, in the series, one of the characters dies. I still have three books left in this second series that I don't really want to read now...because my friend (the character) is now dead.

Now, I have an idea as to what some of you are thinking..."THEY'RE JUST BOOKS! The characters aren't real and you are being weird!" I agree...partly (believe me, I tell myself the same thing). However, I think media (books, music, movies) have a way of allowing you to feel emotion that you may be lacking in reality. I also believe the media has a way of taking what one feels and providing some sort of explanation that one could not come up with themselves (this sounds all very psychological, but it makes complete sense to me). I guess that's one reason why it is so important to be careful what kind of media you choose to fill your mind with. I think it has much more of an effect on us that we even realize.

Why this post? First of all, I think it was a way for me to process both the books I just read. Also, it was a sounding board for me as I tried to figure out the huge effect of the series. One thing is for sure...I need to get a person to talk to. It's nicer to have something talk back! ;)


"[Confucius] taught that the country which develops the finest music, the grandest poetry, and the noblest moral ideals--that is, the country with the most exalted culture--will always yield the greatest power in the world."

-Letters from the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears

"Who is such a reprobate as I! And yet it seems that even I am in Somebody's hand!'

-Mr. Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge

"...[T]he magnitude of [life] is not as to [one's] external displacements, but as to [one's] subjective experiences."

-Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

"...I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed--because 'Thou mayest.'"

-Lee in East of Eden