Monday, 30 January 2012

52 Things - the first 10 film reviews

Jo asked me what I thought of the films I've watched so far, so here are my comments on the first 10 films.  I don't plan to do detailed reviews, just brief comments on each one.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: This was one of the films that I wouldn’t have gone to see at the cinema.  I didn’t really like any of the other ‘Planet of the Ape’ films so I was surprised to enjoy this one.  Quite a good story, well acted and a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours.

True Grit: I never see the point of remaking classic films so was expecting to hate this one. However, I have to admit that it was very well done and stayed true to the original story so I didn’t find myself comparing the two films.  If I had to choose between the two, I’d opt for the original with John Wayne.

Super 8: I actually thought it was a kid’s film and I suppose it was only the bad language which gave it the ‘12’ certificate.  I read some of the reviews after I’d watched the film and was surprised at the acclaim it received.  I found the majority of the characters to be very irritating, an unbelievable story line, and no suspense (and I’m a wimp where that sort of things is concerned so if I say there was no suspense there definitely wasn’t) and a very corny ending.  Definitely not my sort of film. 

The Fighter: I find everything to do with boxing extremely boring so this was one of the films I wouldn’t have gone to see at the cinema.  After about 2 minutes I really thought I’d have to give up.  I took an instant dislike to the two brothers who are the central characters and none of the other characters redeemed themselves to me so I had to force myself to watch this one.  Didn't rate it at all.

The Tree of Life: I know Brad Pitt was in this but it was still 133 minutes of my life wasted which I’ll never get back!  I have no idea what it was all about.  I read the reviews afterwards for a clue and although it is a bit clearer I still think it was rubbish!

The King’s Speech: I was really looking forward to watching this one and was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It did.  It was excellent ... well worth seeing.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

Black Swan: I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t this.  It was a bit weird ... not really my sort of film.  I read the reviews after I’d watched it and understand it a bit better but I couldn't tell actual events from events only taking place in the mind of the ballerina dancing the Swan Queen role.  It just wasn’t obvious to me, although the reviews have made it clearer.  Maybe I’m thick!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Excellent.  I love everything to do with Harry Potter – books and films – and this one was a fitting ending to the series.

Hanna: I enjoyed this one.  It was quite a good story although a bit far-fetched but still a pleasant enough way to spend an evening. 

The Inbetweeners Movie: I haven’t watched any of the TV programmes so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it.  A couple of real ‘laugh out loud’ moments, especially the dance scene in the nightclub.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

52 Things - January Update

Here's an update on my progress towards completing 52 things in 2012 that I've never done before:

Completed:  So far I've only completed 2, so quite a slow start.  You can read about them here and here if you are interested.

Started: Well there's plenty under way:
  • 52 weeks of mail: I'm keeping up with this and have mailed a card every week so far, all to family members - wk 1 birthday, wk 2 birthday, wk 3 good luck, wk 4 birthday 
  • Project Life: I've collated all the bits and pieces for the first four weeks.  I'm still waiting for the  Project Life stationery to arrive in this country - I'll post some photos when I get it all sorted.
  • Postcrossing: I'm aiming to send and receive 12 postcards to count this as achieved. So far I've sent 7 but haven't received any yet.
  • Watch top 20 films:  this is going much better than expected.  I've watched 11 of them so far.
  • Join a book club: I've signed up for the Richard & Judy club organised by WH Smiths and have bought the books for the Spring Read (8 books).  I've finished the first book and have just started on the second one.
  • Read the Bible: I've started on this but am a little behind as I haven't read any this week. 
  • Microloans: I've made my first loan (I plan to do 12).
  • Monthly photo:  the January photo is done and I'll be doing the February one next week.
In February I'll be attempting meditation, replacing all my undies, visiting Nunney Castle (weather permitting), trying to donate a book to the library and starting to share books via Bookcrossing.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Welcome to Ellen

... to Ellen @ Ellen's fifty two

2/52: Participate in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

For the first time ever I've taken part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.  It's something I've intended to do in previous year but have either forgotten or had other things on, so this is the first year I've actually managed it.

At 11:30am I settled myself by the window with a cup of coffee, camera, pen and paper to see all the birds.  Unfortunately the neighbourhood cats had a similar idea and spent the entire hour in our garden so the birds made themselves scarce.  Plenty flew over (but you're not allowed to count them) but only two sparrows landed in the hour I was watching and they chose to land in the one place I couldn't get a decent photo as I'd be shooting directly in to the sun!

That's two of my 52 things done now, fifty more to do.

Paper Art - Calvin Nicholls

I know that a lot of you are in to paper crafts so I'm sharing these amazing photos with you.  They are from an email I received today, detailing the work of the artist Calvin NichollsTo quote the email:

"There is nothing simple or ordinary about his paper art. Where we would simply use a piece of paper and a pair of scissors, Calvin uses everything you could possibly think of to carve, cut and rip perfect details onto his creations. The motifs are all wildlife, and that must be one of the hardest categories of things to make with paper since there are sometimes impossible details on animals. These details are amazing, and I can't even fathom the time it must have taken to create these masterpieces of art."

I think they're awesome.  He must have a lot of patience!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

An Optical Illusion

1. Stare at the red dot on the girl’s nose for 30 seconds
2. Turn your eyes towards the wall/roof or somewhere else on a plain surface
3. Keep blinking your eyes quickly!
4. What can you see?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

1/52: Donate 20 Trees

I gave myself an easy one to complete first.  I like the idea of micro donations to charities and wanted some of them to feature in my 52 Things this year.  One of particular interest was the donation of trees via Answer4Earth in an attempt to end global warming.  It doesn't cost anything to play, you just answer multiple choice general knowledge questions and 180 correct answers earns 1 tree.  The project is financed by the adverts on the site.

For me, this was really just a commitment in terms of time as the computer response time was quite slow.  The questions weren't difficult, although there was a US bias to them, and there was a lot of repitition where the same ones were asked over and over again, so it became a test of memory! 

I set myself the challenge of donating 20 trees and I completed that today.  I very much doubt that I'll carry on with this as, to be honest, it got a bit boring!  Still 1 down, 51 to do.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol. 61

1. Lake Superior University has once again banished a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's English in 2012-

amazing, baby bump, shared sacrifice, occupy, blowback, man cave, the new normal, pet parent, win the future, ginormous, trickeration and thank you in advance.

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen. None of them.  The only words which I hear on a regular basis are 'ginormous' and 'amazing', but although they are overused and usually incorrectly used, it doesn't really bother me.  My pet hate is the incorrect addition of 'like'!  

2. Are you easily embarrassed? Not as much as I used to be.  I think I've developed a thicker skin as I've got older and I'm able to laugh at myself.

3. What is your go-to snack? My current snack of choice is mini cheddars or failing that, biscuits.  Not healthy, but yummy!

4. Have you ever been to Washington DC? If not do you have any desire to go? What site/attraction would you most like to see in that city? If you have been what's your favorite site? No, I've never been to Washington DC.  I live in the UK and when I do eventually get to the USA it doesn't feature on my list of 'must see' places.

5. Sit ups-planks-lunges-squats-which one do you hate the least? I hate them all equally!

6. What's a small act of kindness someone did for you that you've never forgotten? I was taken ill in the street when I was at college and a complete stranger took me to hospital.  She stayed with me until my family was able to travel to see me (approx 6 hours).  I was so out of it I couldn't remember her name but I always remember the support she gave me on that day.

7. Have you ever been a blood donor? No.  I never weighed enough when I was younger and now the weight isn't a factor, ongoing health problems prevent me from being a donor.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

26 Week Photo Challenge 5 - One Lens

The challenge this time was to only use one lens for the 2 weeks of the challenge.  I opted to use my 18 - 55mm zoom lens as a 55 mm fixed lens, set the camera to the close up mode and crossed my fingers for some decent shots. 

1 - the first photo I'm happy with the dof but again the focus isn't as sharp on the berries as I would have liked. It's getting closer to the sort of shot I'd like to be able to take though.

2 - the best/favourite photo I like everything about this one although it's probably too closely cropped.  Maybe I should have pulled back a bit and captured a complete leaf as well.
3 - the final photo I was trying to capture the texture.  My previous attempts at this sort of shot have been unsuccessful but this one is getting there.  It's natural lighting from the left side.

I'll wait until everyone has posted their photos until I visit to add my comments.  Thanks to Karen for organising the challenge.

Welcome to Jo

... to Jo @ Home Sweet Home

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What are three words you would use to describe your 2011? | caring, learning, growing. 

2. Do you like shrimp? What's your favorite way to have it prepared? | Yes, I love shrimps served with brown bread and butter.  If you mean prawns .... any way they come is alright by me!

3. Is your house de-Christmased? If so, when did you tackle that job? If not, when will the decorations come down? | Yes, Christmas is definitely finished and packed away in boxes ready for December.  I took the trimmings down on January 2nd ... three days too early but we'd both had enough of them.

4. Do you like to watch scary movies? | I don't like horror films but I do like thrillers & 'who done its'.  I'm a bit of a wuss though and resort to watching the scary bits from behind a cushion!

5. Ice skating~sledding~ skiing~snowboarding...of the four listed which wintertime activity do you most enjoy? | I've never tried snowboarding and have no intention of starting now.  I went skiing and ice skating in my youth and they tie for first place although I wouldn't be prepared to risk injury by doing either of them now.  The same goes for sledding ... a happy memory from childhood that will always remain a memory.

6. Did you have a childhood hideout? Describe it. | All the children in the road used to congregate in a neighbours shed (it was huge, made out of old window frames and filled the width of their garden) and I have fond memories of lots of time spent in there.

7. What's a place or space that motivates you? | I can't think of any place that 'motivates' me. I do a lot of thinking and 'sorting out' soaking in the bath.

8. Insert your own random thought here. |

Wordless Wednesday

Linking with Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, 1 January 2012

52 Things - Getting Started

Well the day has arrived.  My aim?  To do 52 things in 2012 that I've never done before.  I'm really excited about it!
It's time to start so what am I going to do first?  I know what I'm like and I have a tendency to go overboard to start and then am unable to keep the momentum going.  So a cautious start but these are all things that may take most of the year to complete:

Watch the Empire Magazines Top 20 Films of 2011 - I'll make a start on these this week.  I'm not a great film goer so haven't seen many new films in the last few years, but this year I'm going to change that.  I've emailed the list round to friends and family to see if I can borrow the DVDS or failing that I'll rent them online or borrow from the library.  The top 20 films are:
  1. Drive
  2. Senna
  3. The King's Speech
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  5. The Artist
  6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  7. True Grit
  8. Bridesmaids
  9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  10. Black Swan
  11. Blue Valentine
  12. The Fighter
  13. Hanna
  14. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  15. The Inbetweeners Movie
  16. Super 8
  17. Incendies
  18. The Tree of Life
  19. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  20. Fast Five
I have to say that I wouldn't bother going to the cinema to see some of these so I plan to get those over and done with and watch them first!

Make 12 Microloans - I will make a start on this today and I'm planning to make 12 loans during the course of the year.  I know there is a risk associated with making these loans but the two companies I'm looking at have a 98% record of full repayment, so the risk is minimal.  I've been aware of microloans for a few years but just haven't got around to doing anything about it so this is the year I do!

Read the Entire Bible (from start to finish) - I've bought a new bible for this and I'll be using the One Year Chronological Bible, which is advertised as "ideal for anyone who wants to take a fresh look at the Bible by reading it in the order the events actually happened".  I'm not sure that I can verbalise why I want to do this.  It is more than something I 'think I should do' but I can't put into words what I think that 'something extra' is.

52 Weeks of Mail - is "designed to encourage people to be more intentional about relationships and keeping in touch with friends and family by sending out a card or letter (via snail mail) each week, for a year." If anybody would like to be added to my list of recipients for this, please email me your address (and birthday, if applicable).  The first card will be sent on Tuesday for my nephew's birthday.

Project Life - I've started today with the first of my Project 366 photos.  I won't be putting all of the photos on this blog (as it's not fair on Ced) but I will update copies of the weekly layouts.  The binders and inserts for this are not available in this country until February at the earliest so for the time being I'll just be collecting the information and play catch-up later.

I'll post about things as I do them and will probably do a monthly update.  Wish me luck!

Welcome to Beth

... to Beth @ A Work in Progress

Happy New Year

wishing you all a happy
& healthy new year