Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Hunger Games Movie Review

I went to go see The Hunger Games movie at 12:01am, March 23rd, 2012 (yes, the midnight premiere). I was smart enough to buy my tickets on Feb. 22 when they went on sale so I didn't have to stand in line outside the theatre for 5+ hours. I also had perfect seats for our UltraScreen. The guy I went with (not my boyfriend, since he was out of town) and I dressed up because we both happened to be placed in District 5 through Facebook. Here are some pictures:

Ok, you can't really see it but I have lightning bolts coming from my right eye and he has lightning up the right side of his neck. (District 5's industry is Power by the way).
*Side note: I feel like I look young in these pictures. Do I look anywhere near 25? (Ok, 24 yrs, 11 mo, 4 days...)

On with my review! (I am not a "writer" so this isn't laid out very well, and it's not supposed to be a professional review... just my opinions)

I thought The Hunger Games movie was wonderful. I have read comments from others who really didn't like it because it "left out too much" . I guess it all depends on what you were expecting. I think some of those people weren't being realistic - the movie is already 2 1/2 hours long! In my opinion, they included everything they needed to. Yes, there is a lot they had to cut - backstory, character development, lots of beautiful details - but nothing that was pivotal to the story. I think they included all they important stuff (even if it was mentioned then just forgotten.) Plus, if you've read the book, you know the whole story anyway. I heard Suzanne Collins herself use this phrase and I totally agree: the movie is a nice compliment to the books. I have been recommending that you read the books before going to see the movie, to get the full effect. I've also talked to a few people who saw it without having read the books and they've all had positive reviews. One person said he was a little confused at some parts and he knew he was missing something but overall, he enjoyed the movie.

 Other than the lack of backstory of the characters, which they had nothing to do with, I thought the actors were great. I had my reservations about a few of them but I have no complaints after seeing the movie. I can say, I thought Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland were PERFECT!


I read a lot of information about this movie and watched a lot of clips before it came out, so it was mostly just filling in the blanks for me. I was disappointed about the mockingjay pin storyline after seeing the trailer, but I later read why they did it and that was ok with me. The reasoning was that they needed to establish the relationship between Katniss and Prim very quickly and Madge was only in about 2 pages of the book. She was unnecessary in the movie because of the time constraints. It's a waste of time to introduce a small character like that, to never see her again... They had to do the same sort of cutback with Katniss's design team - they wanted to focus more on her relationship with Cinna (although there is a pretty important moment in Mockingjay involving her prep team... I wonder what they'll do about that.)

The biggest thing that bothered me was when they showed the memory Katniss has of Peeta giving her the bread. This is when someone who hasn't read the book would really be at a loss. It doesn't express how important this moment is for Katniss. It doesn't show that she is starving - and may starve to death that night - or that she even takes the bread that Peeta throws on the ground. This is her only memory of Peeta and he's already trying to save her but they didn't really complete the scene.

There were a couple things added that I loved! After Rue dies, Katniss solutes District 11 and they solute her back, then Rue's father (we can only assume) starts an uprising right then. For me, this was very moving. I was already an emotional wreck from Rue dying and Katniss singing and then they showed that! I can't even find the words to express what I felt. I don't think I breathed for that whole scene. It was beautiful. I also enjoyed the addition of Seneca's death scene. We never actually see it, but we know what's going to happen. (We also don't know that he is executed until the 2nd book...) They show Seneca being led into a room and then locked in. The room is bare except for a bowl of Nightlock berries sitting on a table in the middle. He is given 2 choices: starve to death or eat the Nightlock and die right away. It's very poetic (rather than him being shot or hanged.)

There were also times they included details just to make sure they were there, then forgot about them and moved on. The time that this is really apparent is when Katniss blows up the Careers' food and damages her ear. We know that she's lost her hearing in that ear when Cato comes back and his voice is muffled, but by the time we hear the "rule change", they've forgotten this detail and never mention it again.

I can't wait to see it again and expand on this a little bit more. I'm going to see it at least 2 more times while it's in the theatre =)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Apple Detox Update

Original Post: 3/10/12

On Thursday night, I ate a large salad and some carrots to prepare for my detox. The salad included croutons, bacon bits and Italian dressing. Later in the night I was hungry again so I decided to eat a cup of applesauce (unsweetened).

Friday morning I started my detox. I went to work at 9am and it was really busy. I've also been working in a new area this week that I'm still trying to get used to (thus, I've been a little stressed and Friday was no exception.) I went on my first break at about 11:15am and ate a Gala apple. It was really good. It was a good thing to have in the morning and I'll probably do it more often. I went on my lunch around 1:20pm and ate a Granny Smith apple. I ate it slowly but I noticed that I wasn't drinking as much water. The apples have so much natural wetness that I just wasn't thirsty. For my third break, around 3:30, I decided to just have a cup of applesauce. I did decide to bring a book with me so I wasn't completely bored on my breaks.

After work I went home and chopped up a Fuji apple to eat. I checked my email and my Facebook, where I found out that the Fargo Film Festival's 2-Minute Film Festival was that night at 9:30pm. I decided to take a nap until 8:45pm then get ready to go.

Throughout the day I noticed I was really tired, which could be for any number of reasons. But by the time 8:45pm came, I really didn't want to get up. I was tired, hungry and I started to get a little moody. Well, maybe not moody, but more like really apathetic. I really wanted to go through with this detox but I really didn't want to eat anymore apples. I just didn't feel well.

So today I woke up, laid in bed and watched some tv. When I finally wanted to get up, I decided to snack on some mini-wheats. I figured my one-day detox was good enough. I read a couple more articles about the apple detox and some say that one day now and then is good for you too. Also, that I should congratulate myself for my accomplishment, and I can also try again later.

*edit 1/15/14* Almost 2 years later, I forgot that I did this and remembered how I felt after rereading. I do not want to do it again. But that's just me. I snack a lot. I don't really care about eating healthy, just eating whatever looks good. If I really wanted to do another detox or "cleanse", there are plenty of other options out here in LA.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My 2-Day Apple Detox

I have decided to try a detox - an apple detox. I found many posts online about this. Basically, all you eat for 2 days are apples. Anytime you're hungry, eat an apple. This is supposed to "reset" your body. I figure, what have I got to lose? It's only 2 days.

The posts I've seen say to eat the whole apple - skin, seeds and core. Really? My thought is: ew. Sooo... I won't be doing that. Just the skin and middle part that people usually eat. I also read a post that said you can mash them up into applesauce or apple juice.

They also say you should prepare for your detox. One post said start about 5 days before, cutting out caffeine, carbs, carbonation, etc (all the bad "c-words" I guess). I haven't had any caffeine since Saturday, or carbonation... just water and a Sobe drink (with coconut water). I forgot about the cutting out carbs thing and had some creamy pasta dish and bread last night, whoops. Oh well. Even today I had a burger, which had a bun, which is bread, which is a carb. *shrug* But the night before, you're supposed to eat a salad for supper, with a light oil dressing, and that's it. Kind of give your body a head-start.

So I had to go buy some things... Today I went to the grocery store after work and probably bought more than I need, but I don't know how hungry I'll get and how much I'll want to "snack" in between my "meals". I decided to get 3 Fuji, 3 Gala, and 5 Granny Smith (because those are my favorites). I also found a bag of 4 Grapples! (This is a big deal. I first tried a Grapple 2 years ago and loved it and haven't been able to find them since. I actually told my mom I really wished I could find them for my detox and there they were!) I also bought a bag of lettuce, some Italian dressing, a bag of croutons, and a bottle of bacon bits for my salad.

I've decided to do my detox over Friday and Saturday. Other people have recommended doing over a weekend but I figured I'd do it one day I work and one day I'm doing nothing. I work 9am-5pm on Friday and I'll just eat my apples for my breaks at work and it should go by fast. I think I'm gonna go to "Clue: The Musical" Friday night so that will take my mind off it even more. Then on Saturday, I have no plans so I'll probably just lay on the couch, watch "Big Bang Theory" and snack on my apples.

I'll update this blog as I go along...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Hunger Games - Book vs. Movie

I first read The Hunger Games in the fall of 2010 and it immediately became my favorite series. Now, with the movie release getting closer, I decided to re-read them. Right now my opinions are solely based on the trailers I've seen - they may change once I actually see the movie. Mostly, this post is just about the inconsistencies I've spotted between the books and what is going to be in the film.

(Short rant: Why screen writers feel the need to change things is beyond me. Suzanne Collins even helped write the screenplay and things were changed. If it was MY book, I wouldn't allow it. To me, the book is written enough like a script as it is. I know that there is a "time-issue" seeing as how you can't even read the book in 2 1/2 hours - and let's face it, that's considered a long movie these days... which is bulls***... but I digress...)

I have to say before I start - even though there are blatant changes in the movie, I'm still beyond excite to see it! Mostly, I'm just excited to see it all played out and see the Capitol fashions. Now, on to the few things I've already seen that bother me...

First thing - very IMPORTANT thing in my eyes - the 2nd trailer that was released shows Katniss giving the mockingjay pin to Prim saying "as long as you have it, nothing bad will happen to you". THIS NEVER EVER HAPPENS IN THE BOOK! There is only ONE pin and Madge gives it to Katniss in the Justice Building before Katniss goes to the Capitol for the games. Prim never even sees it (I guess until she sees Katniss wearing it while she's watching the games.) Why would you add/change such an important symbol in the series?! Ugh. I'm really curious to see the rest of this storyline. (I'm guessing Prim will give it to Katniss at the Justice Building so "nothing bad will happen to her" in the arena... sigh.)

Second thing - a minute detail that really confuses me as to why it would be changed, but again is an important symbol in the books: the book says she takes the middle 3 fingers of her LEFT hand, touches them to her lips, then holds them out (to a person usually.) The trailer shows her using her RIGHT hand! There are 2 reasons I can think of for this (the 2nd I just thought of while writing this, the 1st is funnier and more personal to me.) First reason: Jennifer Lawrence can't hold her 3 fingers together on her left hand, so they changed it to the right. You laugh, but I actually have the opposite problem - when I try to hold my pinkie down with my thumb on my right hand, my other fingers involuntarily curl, but it's no problem on my left hand... Girl Scouts was hell for me :P Second (the more logical reason, that Suzanne Collins maybe never considered): using her left hand would disarm Katniss while doing the gesture. If she used her right, she can still hold her bow and even have an arrow ready if needed... just a guess.

I just have to say this: I get goosebumps every time I hear the 4 notes at the end of the trailers. Every time.

Now for personal opinions about the casting:

Katniss: I think Jennifer Lawrence is too pretty to be Katniss. Not that I see Katniss as ugly, but she's young and underfed and dirty most of the time.

Peeta: I don't know how to describe it... I saw Peeta as more of a pretty boy than Josh Hutcherson... skinnier, but still strong. The muscle that he put on for the movie makes him look more like a football player - nobody in District 12 is that well-fed, not even the baker's son.

Haymitch: Woody Harrelson will be awesome. I think I saw Haymitch as heavier but I got really excited when I heard this casting choice.

Gale: Liam Hemsworth works. Strong, tall... No complaints.

Effie: Elizabeth Banks will be SO CUTE!

Cinna: Ugh, very unsure about Lenny Kravitz, but I don't hate the idea as much as when I first heard it. I saw him (still do) as more of a Neil Patrick Harris/Sean Hayes type. Tall, skinny, short brown hair, artistic and stylish but not overly "gay".

Caesar Flickerman (Stanly Tucci), Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley), President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Claudius Templesmith (Toby Jones) = I think they're all perfect for the parts!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review of Holga 135BC

I just got this camera on February 3, 2012 and wanted  to quickly shoot through a roll of film to experiment.

The first thing I did when I took the camera out of the box was read the small "manual" that came with and played around with the camera before I put any film into it. This was beneficial for me because I got a little more comfortable with it without wasting film. I felt the shutter in both N (standard) and B (hold open) mode and watched how the shutter opened from the inside. Then I put a roll of 400asa into the camera and decided to try a bunch of things while shooting - test its limits. Here's what I found after developing my film:

The box mentions "uncontrollable vignetting" and light leaks - which I knew about. I decided to buy the 135BC so it always has some sort of vignetting but I did notice that it can vary from picture to picture - which is not at all a bad thing. I haven't noticed any light leaks in my camera (so far).

The pictures I took outside turned out great, but the indoor ones are VERY dark, even while shooting with direct sunlight through the window. This is unfortunate because it's somewhat limiting (but what can you expect from a plastic lens?) I am fortunate enough to already have an external flash to put in the hotshoe, but the flash with its batteries is about twice the weight of the camera so it can be a bit cumbersome.

Every now and then I would notice a difference in aiming. By that I mean: since the view finder and lens are separate, it's hard to know if you're getting the whole object in the frame or not. (I haven't shot a disposable camera in some time, so I must be out of practice.)

I should mention that I did leave my camera in my car while I was at work one day, then took pictures when I got home. The camera was pretty cold but I tried it anyway. It seemed like the cold made my shutter stick. I was afraid it would overexpose my pictures so I put the cap back on until it clicked back in place. I let the camera warm up before using it again and it was fine.

I did end up with a couple pictures on that roll that I am really proud of. Overall, none of what would be considered "bad stuff" really bothers me. I just see it as part of the charm of the Holga. And really, I knew what I was getting into.

Here are the 2 pictures I love:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DIY Camera Bag (Purse)

Ok, I have been seeing these posts all over the place and I've been wanting to make one myself for a while. I should back up and explain... I now have 5 cameras I use for different occasions: a point and shoot Nikon Coolpix, a Nikon D80 DSLR, a Kodak EasyShare DX7590, an Olympus OM-G film camera and I just bought a Holga 135BC camera. I bought a purse from Best Buy that is made to hold cameras - slightly padded and a couple dividers. This held my Nikon D80, an extra lens, my wallet, iPod, and Coolpix just fine when I went on a field trip for a class in college. It doesn't hold much else though, and it's kind of stiff. I wanted a cuter purse, and one that could hold more than just my D80 (I like to shoot film and digital back and forth now). I got a sewing machine for Christmas this year and I knew I had to at least give it a try.

I found a few blogs of other women who'd made their bags to get some tips, but no one really had a pattern (and that's ok, it's all about how you want it and the size of the bag differs). This weekend I had a lot of extra time (weekend off, boyfriend out of town) so I went to look for a purse first. I ended up at JCPenny and found the perfect purse - not just for my cameras, but overall... it has so many pockets! AND it was only $14. I figured even if it didn't work for my cameras, I had to buy it.

Then I went to Hobby Lobby to buy what others had suggested:

-1 yard of fabric (soft, so it doesn't harm the camera)
-some quilting batting (I didn't want to buy the 1 inch foam like others. I find it TOO thick)
-some velcro

The purse and other supplies cost me all of about $26!

First thing I did was measure the bottom and sides of the purse. Then cut the fabric and foam for it. (sorry I didn't take pictures of the whole process. I wasn't really planning on writing about it at the time)

The next thing I SHOULD'VE done but didn't and it made my job much harder was sew on the velcro to the sides. I just didn't think of it at the time and no other blog seemed to mention sewing the velcro on before putting the stuffing/foam in. Whoops! Oh well, it's fine for now. (The batting isn't very stiff so I may end up making new sides for it if I find some 1/2 inch foam sometime... then I'll sew on the velcro before. There's plenty of fabric left over.)

I actually made the bottom and sides all one piece by sewing three edges in a pillowcase fashion, then sewing two lines to separate the bottom from the sides (as a way to fold them). Then stuffed the batting in and stitched up the ends - I just ran a stitch along the end, nothing pretty because who's going to see it anyway?

For the inserts, I measured approximately the width between the sides and from the stuffed bottom up to the top. I cut that size out of the batting and added an extra 2 inches (or whatever the width of the velcro on either side.) I sewed the bottom, right sides together, then flipped it around so the wrong sides were together, sewed up the sides to fit around the batting snugly, then sewed on the velcro to the extra width on the sides.

Really, that's it. I keep rearranging the inserts in my bag to see where I like them the best. Right now I can fit my Nikon D80 (with lens attached), an extra lens, my Holga, and still have space for my Olympus or external flash. I put my wallet in one of the side pockets, my Nikon Coolpix in a tiny front pocket, and my iPod in the other. Then my phone fits in another pocket! Whew! Any questions, please ask... I'll try to help as much as possible.

Nikon D80 (lens attached), extra lens, Holga,
and Olympus OM-G
My wallet fits in one of the side pockets