Tag Archives: opinion

Swoon

The first time I saw this guy play the male lead in the modern movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, She’s the Man, I thought, what an attractive fellow. That movie became a favourite that with every repetition made me fancy Channing Tatum even more. In the dance movie Step Up and the genuinely entertaining buddy cop movie 21 Jump Street, he also plays the strong but sensitive guy, which I guess suits him really well since he is just so. darn. attractive. in each one.

Zac Efron has come a long way from the teen bopping first-world-problem ridden Troy Bolton from Disney’s High School Musical. In 17, Again (a middle aged man returns to his teenage self for a second chance in life) and Neighbours (a young family lives next to a fraternity house and chaos ensues) he again plays a charming, popular teenager but with some hints of maturity. Makes sense, since he now looks like this:

Despite the facepalms that faking drops and rolls receive, soccer players are among the most attractive athletes. Watching FIFA in the 2000’s Brazilian player Ricardo Kaka caught my eye, and not just because he was one of the best players on the team. Here he is seen with Sao Paulo FC celebrating a goal or something, and more relevant to this post, looking pretty handsome.

I have been watching Suits, basically a soap of rich and well dressed lawyers, but hey, it’s so good! One of the main characters is Mike Ross, played by (Canadian- yay!) Patrick J Adams, a lucky “good” guy who got a job as a lawyer despite not having gone to law school and who has a legendary eidetic (photographic) memory. Between his confidence of his skills and learning the ropes we see the sensitive and playful sides of the character that ultimately makes Mike Ross very likeable. The actor looks pretty good outside of a suit too.

Ok. Emma Watson is amazingly beautiful. She was adorable in the first Harry Potter movies and since then has grown up to be not only a recognized actress but also a role model for how gracefully she handles the press and stays true to herself amid growing up as a celebrity. She started off the pixie cut trend for women, is definitely intelligent and a natural beauty, and I am very excited to hear she will be playing Belle in the live action rendition of Beauty and the Beast coming out in a couple years!

Day 14: Pictures of five celebrity crushes

 

 

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Balzac and The Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie: Book Review


Two boys are sent to rural China to be reeducated during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. There they discover a suitcase of banned foreign books and befriend the beautiful daughter of the local tailor. That’s it in a nutshell. A charming novel that is easy to read but may be too short and simple to hold much weight in time.

The story reminds me of a folk tale with a fair amount of whimsy in the narrator’s voice and the setting of the countryside and mountains that creates some beautiful imagery. At some points, the poetic language can begin to sound like a fairy tale, but that is often cut short by bits of history and realism in the cruelty of the authorities against intellectuals and the dire conditions the boys must endure to return home. It is also worth noting here that the book contains some graphic scenes in violence and romance that can cause offense or stomach queasiness.

An aspect of this story that has me on the fence is the characters. Our main heroes and heroine, to me, are the typical ‘kind but somewhat misunderstood’ good guys. They are not completely bland but not captivating in a “I LOVE Harry and Ron and Hermione and I want to be their friends!” kind of way. The supporting cast contains an old hermit and a by-the-book friend with glasses who evoke stronger feelings in the reader towards them than the main characters. The overall mildness of the characters, however, does create ordinary voices that we can relate to and make it hard to label a villain, which is true in real life. Still, I think I would’ve liked a little more depth to the characters so I can remember their individual qualities months after reading about their adventure.

The adventure itself, is quite unique and fun. It is a coming of age story, and also one that celebrates culture, specifically literature and music. The discovery of banned books and folk songs changed these characters’ lives and makes me grateful for the range of resources from all over the world we have access to today, especially now thanks to the internet. Although history is not my favourite subject, I think it is important to understand our past because it shapes our perceptions on life and our roles in society. In the end, that’s what this book is about.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a relatively quick-paced and enjoyable read, if you like the premise. As I’ve mentioned before, there is an ordinariness to the plot that portrays life as it is without the melodrama, which some like and others don’t. It’s a nice little book and I would recommend it – I recently discovered that they made a movie from it, which may be interesting to look at – but if you asked me if this is one I would read over and over again, honestly, probably not. Except maybe the ending. I won’t give it away, but yeah, the ending is pretty great.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Books, Bookworm's Corner

Zombies (NaPoWriMo #1)

Apocalypse through movie screens
Defending the world in a dream hero game
Glued to fantasy stories, plugged into machines
Blind we’re becoming the dead just the same.

technology - twitter

Comic from Geek & Poke by Oliver Widder

So I found out it’s National Poetry Writing Month! I have realized these past few weeks just how much I enjoy writing poems and 30 poems in 30 days sounds like a fun challenge. I hope to keep them inspired and concise to be able to succeed in blogging one every day. I usually write poems in spontaneous situations, so I hope I can keep it interesting for everyone and that you enjoy these poems of April. Let NaPoWriMo begin!

Check it out: http://www.napowrimo.net/

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Triduum (and Happy Easter!)

Enter a hall of candlelight and incense
A gentle chant emerges from a circle crowd of bowed heads
Old melodies float through smoke-enveloped prayers

Readings stir memories with hymns that haunt the heart
Minds remember a well known story brought forth from its dusty shelf
Trembling eyes watch it unfold, in awe of history and hope

Candle flames passed from hand to hand,
a sweeping tide of flickering lights
In a sea of little orbs, illuminated faces glow,
chasing cold night’s air away
As acapella voices break the silence of darkness
prayer

After long preparations of solemn reflection in Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, we can finally say, HAPPY EASTER! The biggest celebration of Christian religion is now truly joyful and we can now indulge from our Lenten restrains (churches must also heave a sigh of relief after that marathon of services). Today, I believe in miracles.

Regardless of your faith, I wish you all a wonderful Easter holiday and a great weekend to spend with family and friends!
Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Oh Life, Poems, Essays, and Things, The happenings

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” ― Stephen Fry

Cartoon by The Persichetti Brothers

It is fair to say that the population of VHS’s, floppy disks, pagers, and Tamagotchis have dwindled due to their new and improved counterparts – will the same happen to our beloved books?

OR   Readers Edge  ?

Popularity of the e-book has soared over the past year as readers find the sleek appearance and convenience benefits of the product highly appealing. The e-book is light and portable with a virtual database that can contain many more books than one could imagine carrying from the library. With this single surfaces tablet, many books can be read with the swipe of a finger. No slipping bookmarks, heavy loads, risks of paper cuts, or yellowing, stained pages – pretty neat, I must admit.

Already with the advances of technology in all aspects of communication and media, printing industries have suffered losses and are buckling down for the onslaught of superior smartphones and computers with their apps and internet resources. But, despite, all this, the good ol’ sheet and glue books maintain their influence in society. Just like digital notes can never replace hand-written pencil and paper ones, looking at words on a screen is just not the same. I guess it’s all about the senses…

Having each printed word in a slab of a book feels like having a world in the palm of your hand. The whole idea, concept, story created just for you from the author just able to sit on your lap. You’re not just looking at a single page, but hundreds packed to form this compact, spacially efficient block – the WHOLE COMPLETE work, not just a little piece at a time.

Cartoon by Jim Whiting

There’s nothing like moving your fingers across the pages or rifling quickly through them feeling a breeze in your face. The words are concrete and real, and so are the sheets on which they have been stamped. Each page turn is an exciting exercise as a flipping noise reveals another man behind the curtain.

The feeling of accomplishment when you get into a good read and you can see how many pages you’ve conquered and how far you have til the end. For peekers, being able to flip forward and skim the text that lies ahead just to make sure your favourite character doesn’t die. For sticklers, being able to scratch out that extra apostrophe or write in a missing letter to right the text with your own hand. I just love the idea of tracing your history with a book through all its individual pages. And the satisfaction of looking at the shelves and shelves of books you’ve collected over the years…

Cartoon by Jeffery Koterba for the Omaha World Herald

And who can deny that a book read often reflects a sentimental loyalty – yes, I’m basically trying to explain a love affair with your favourite novel. With turned up corners, faded covers, or dog ears, there’s something special about that book you’ve had for so long and almost know by heart and the battle scars it received to survive in your bag, inner jacket pocket, hands, or the wild outdoors. The wear and tear of a book shows that it’s been loved and is loved – it is valuable. The wrinkles and dents, the smell of aging paper, symbolize a friendship that does not show on a screen.

So I am biased, but I think the novelty of ink words on pulp-pressed pages compiled into something that you can see and feel in its entirety will never wear off. Old school books are for me, the real deal.

What is better: print book or ebook? [cartoon]

Cartoon by Sylvia Liu

I wrote the former words in August 2012, and since then have gained more appreciation for e-books. They have really opened a new world for self-publishing and save lots of money on production costs, making books more affordable. I never liked how technology continues to take over our lives, but a portable library is cool. The digital aspect saves trees too, now that I think about it. And so, in the same view as the quote which I used for the title, I would like to own an e-reader, but I love my printed library too; books will always be treasured, no matter what form they take.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Books, Just another person

The Four Seasons & Emergence: Ballet Review

Emergence by Crystal Pite; photo by Bruce Zinger.

The neoclassical The Four Seasons by James Kudelka and the very modern Emergence by Crystal Pite by the National Ballet of Canada complemented each other surprisingly well and showcased a diverse movement vocabulary. This double bill was, for lack of a better term, short and sweet, and so this review strives to be the same.

First up, The Four Seasons. It is choreographed to the famous music of Vivaldi and tells the story of a man through the years and changing seasons. The joy of spring, passion of summer, melancholy of fall, and harshness of winter parallel the evolution of life from the spontaneity of youth to maturity, and finally the reluctant acceptance of death. It is a little ballet very true to Mr. Kudelka’s style, very musical and fun. Though everyone performed well, it was principal Greta Hodgkinson dancing as ‘Summer” who enchanted the audience with her articulate artistic nuances, musicality, and daring in the fast paced, high flying partnering sequences. Here is an example of the professionalism that comes with experience, it was the best I had ever seen her and I feel very lucky to have witnessed the original ‘Summer’ dance before her retirement; her performance will be the one that I remember when seeing the piece again.

Greta Hodgkinson in The Four Seasons; photo by Andrew Oxenham.

After intermission, we watched Emergence, which according to the company’s website: “explores the notion of dance as an evocation of the broader, inherent human tendency to socialization”. While the piece does centre around the interactions of a large groups of dancers, it is presented with the inspiration of insects (I remember reading this somewhere). It begins with a one dancer in a skin-coloured leotard extending her limbs slowly from a curled position on the floor and being carried by a partner, as if a helpless larvae that has just entered the world. Like a colony, dancers emerge from a portal and swarm around the stage, and throughout sections mimic sharp twitches and tentative fluttering. The music is hard to describe, but reminds me at times of the droning of bees and the clicking of bugs feet across the floor. The movement quality is very intriguing and shows the extreme capabilities of the human body.

Dancers with the National Ballet of Canada present Emergence. Its large cast evokes a subterranean insect world, devoid of human romance or free will.

Emergence photo by Bruce Zinger.

As a female, I am reluctant to say this, but I believe that this is generally a guys’ piece. The girls are undoubtedly very strong, but the power of thirty or so men dancing the same inhuman, almost mechanical, movements together or in syncopation is unreal.  Ultimately, it the unison of the entire company that delivers a visual kick that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. (Literally, since I was sitting in 5th ring – which actually gave a really cool perspective of the piece – and was leaning out to see down to the stage.)

It is funny to see how taste changes within a couple of years. I declared that Emergence was my favourite modern piece back in grade 7 or so, and though I still love it, this time it did not knock my socks off as much as I anticipated. The Four Seasons, on the other hand, I liked with mediocre appreciation before, but enjoyed much more this time, being able to follow the intertwined emotional and musical themes. Nevertheless, the contrast between both ‘ballets’ makes for a refreshing viewing experience with good choreography and execution, so this mixed program is a winner.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Learning out of curiosity or requirement?

“It used to be money for education. Now it’s education for money.” My teacher said this in francais class the other day and the thought has hung around. Gaining insight and making new discoveries is a privilege. Growing up with universal education, sometimes it seems that it’s easy to forget.

(Illustration courtesy of Nate Williams at http://www.n8w.com/wp/5308)

My interpretation of the quote: people used to pay for a good education and now people use education to get paid. The focus of school is no longer to learn but to earn bigger paychecks. Maybe that is why many students see school as a burden instead of an opportunity.

In countries such as Canada, students have no limits to what they can learn. The joy of learning is lost when priceless knowledge is quantified to measurements of success and wealth.

Yes, we still pay money for good education, but not really for its own sake, but for the sake of more money. And I think it happens at the other end as well, with the education system providing resources, but also to generate some cha-chings.

Imagine if school was not mandatory. Children would still find ways to discover and explore, because the world is far too interesting. Maybe if education was seen through the eyes of curiosity, learning can be just as fun in senior years as it was finger painting and counting ladybugs in kindergarten.

Thanks for reading,
thebookybunhead

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Filed under Idle Thoughts, Oh Life, Words of No Wisdom