On The Web: Depression comics – read and learn

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In the past week on the web there have been two articles which have really stuck out for me which I am going to focus on. Both from Buzzfeed – where else? My love of Buzzfeed has grown again.

The first is on 21 Comics That Capture The Frustrations of Depression.

For me, this article is fantastic. If you can even call it an article.

It made me laugh and got me a bit teary, I will admit. But what it did most of all is start to bring me out of the small pit of depression I had fallen into last week. Sometimes laughing at yourself does that.

The other thing it does is serve as an educational piece – yes, really – for those who don’t suffer from depression, but know people who do.

One of the worst things you can say to someone who is depressed is get over it and that there are people out there in worse life situations than you. This just makes it worse, because you get depressed about being depressed because you really shouldn’t be because you have a better life than some.

Sometimes there is no reason for depression, it just is. You can search for the cause, but you will never find it.

Although not in the article itself, I think one of my all-time favourites is from Hyperbole and a Half. This woman is all kinds of amazing.

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Another I quite enjoy is I Had a Black Dog. I’ve mentioned these ones before. I have both the books packed up in boxes somewhere in New Zealand. Some days I really wish they were here.

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And the second article is 18 Controversial Facts About Being Fat You Need To Know.

This is also something I wish people would learn – just because someone is overweight or bigger than the “average” person, does not make them unhealthy. You do not see what they eat or what exercise they do, therefore you are not allowed to judge and criticise.

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And finally, I laughed so much at these Harry Potter jokes.

This post contains ALL the things (plus I couldn’t think of a headline)

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Where to start this week?

How about a picture of Joseph Gordon-Levitt cuddling a kitten?

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Or this video of metronomes ticking out of sync and then slowly ticking as one. It’s pretty cool. It’s science!

J.K. Rowling announced a new Harry Potter universe film series based on Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. It will be epic.

If you’re confused about what is going on in Syria, this is the best read out there and explains it in pretty simple terms.

Julianne Moore has been cast in Mockingjay as President of District 13 Alma Coin. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I may have to read the book again to see if she fits, but it is Hunger Games, so it *should* be good.

Miley Cyrus released her video for Wrecking Ball and while it has caused controversy, (honestly, why would you make a video of you riding a wrecking ball naked?) I do actually like the song. Don’t judge me.

This is a good read on plus-size models and begs the question as to why plus-size clothing isn’t modeled by those who are actually “plus-size”.

Last weekend I binge watched Orange is the new Black and have since been reading up on the real life of Piper Kerman. I’ve already found a copy of her memoir by the same name, so it is next on my reading list, but there are a few articles I’ve found which are good reading.

From Marie Claire: ‘Life Behind Bars’
From The New York Times: ‘Prison: Day 1’
From Marie Claire: ‘The Mistake That Nearly Cost Me Everything’

Finally here a few images of a bunny with tiger cubs from The Guardian this week. It’s like they want to play with it and not eat it! Nawwww, bunny.

Zoo uses live rabbit to stimulate hunting instincts of baby lion, tiger and leopard, Shandong Province, China - 10 Sep 2013

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It All Ends… but does it really?

I finally went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 this week and it was amazing!

It was not like watching the other films. Being part 2 of the final installment meant they didn’t really have to build anything up, they just had to do it.

It started with a replay of the last scene of part 1 – that of Voldemort pulling the Elder Wand out of Dumbledore’s grave. Probably just to remind you of what happened last.

But as soon as the movie started, it was just non-stop. I sat there with my hand over my mouth, tears ready to fall and my miniature flakes going uneaten.

Every little part made me want to cry. Only because it was the last Harry Potter, I’ve grown up with the books and then the movies. Harry Potter has been in my life for more than half of it. What is it going to be like with it over?

For the movie itself it was pretty good. The acting and special effects were awesome. Remember back to Philosopher’s Stone where the acting of the Three was just painful? Yeah, it has gotten so much better. Plus, they grew up GOOD.

Surprisingly for already knowing the story, they still managed to get in a few moments of jaw-dropping shock. When Harry was fighting Voldemort, he pulls him into a massive fall. I don’t remember this ever happening in the book, but it was so unexpected. One second they were just standing there, the next, they were in free fall.

It’s this type of action that was throughout the entire movie. There really wasn’t any room for pause.

Even for one of the darkest movies in the series the humour still prevails. When I wasn’t biting my nails anxiously or wiping away that odd tear, I was laughing. Once again there were some amazing one-liners, which brings the light to the movies. All down to the fantastic writing of Steve Kloves, and JK Rowling, once again. The best was definitely between Professor McGonagall and Neville, who by-the-way is now one of the hottest cast members.

Are you really giving us permission to do this?

Yes, Longbottom.

Blow it up? Boom?

BOOM.

Just brilliant.

But I think the best performance has to go to Alan Rickman. He is absolutely superb as Snape, not that he ever does anything less. He was born for the role. It definitely was a teary moment when he was killed.

After 10 years and 8 movies, the Harry Potter series has come to a close. A sad day, but also somewhat joyful to watch. Thanks has to go out to Warner Brothers, the cast and the crew for bringing my favourite boy wizard to life beyond my imagination. And to JK Rowling herself, because without Harry just casually walking into her head one day I would have stopped reading, never started writing my own stuff and probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Harry has inspired so much and saved me many times.

So it’s not really the end. We continue our journey, just without any new adventures.

I want a gold pen sword.

DEMI-GODS: Stealers of Maseratis

DEMI-GODS: Stealers of Maseratis

Imagine stealing a Maserati from the floor of a casino, jumping off the Empire State Building (which secretly holds the entrance to Olympus) or finding the entrance to the underworld under the H of the Hollywood sign. Not the norm for a typical human, but if you were a demi-god — it may just be your typical week.

Just some of the hi-jinks in Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief. I guess if you had to describe it in a comparison to other movies it would be like Harry Potter, but instead of Daniel Radcliff as the lead, you have Zac Efron.

No the lead isn’t actually Zac Efron, but Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson. He is a pretty good look-alike or voice double (seriously, he sounds exactly like Zac Efron at some points). Percy Jackson is a demi-god — half human, but son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd or that dude from Grey’s Anatomy). With this little piece of information, it opens up a world based on Greek mythology. Still based in reality with this supernatural twist — which I think is better because you can still associate with each character — you can pretty much assume, if we’re playing with demi-gods here, anything can go — all Gods are in essentially — Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Athena, including their powers.

At first getting told you’re the son of a Greek God you would naturally think it was unbelievable, but then of course you get awesome powers and a few nifty tools. A sword, chuck sneakers with tiny wings, a collapsible shield and then there is the casual lightening bolt. Which brings me to the special affects. They were awesome. Not over the top, not crappy. Enough said.

Once again — it’s a book in to a movie, based on the same name and written by Rick Riordan. Unfortunately I cannot speak for how successful the adaptation has been, as I have never read the books. However, there is no way that an original script from Hollywood would be able to provide a detailed story-line and in-depth characters of this type if it wasn’t first a book. I can say though, that I will be going to the library tomorrow to look for all the books in the series to see how they measure up to the Hollywood adaptation. One question I do have is, how old are the leads supposed to be? The feel of it is mid-to-late teens, bout 16/17. Lerman himself is 18. But as I understand it, in the first book Percy is 12. That right there is a big inconsistency. However, as certain scenes are portrayed it is more believable that a 16-year-old would be doing them, than a 12-year-old.

Everybody seems to be comparing it to Harry Potter and yes I agree there are similarities. Chris Columbus directs, the heroes are a trio (two boys, one girl), the creatures are similar (only because JK Rowling got most of her ideas for creatures from Greek mythology), they attend a school for demi-gods (called Camp Half-Blood — seriously there could be a better name: Camp Olympus, Olympus College, School of Olympus? Just throwing a few out there.) and of course getting to go on a quest and fighting a bad guy. When Harry Potter came out, people compared it to Lord of the Rings. This type of thing is always going to happen.

There are some memorable moments — when Mr Brenner/Chiron (Pierce Brosnan) hands Percy a pen and says to use it only in times of great distress he replies with “It’s a pen.” Yes, a pen, but a very cool gold pen that when you click it turns into an awesome gold sword. I bet you don’t have a gold pen sword.

Also when Grover (Brandon T Jackson or the real black dude from Tropic Thunder) starts taking off his pants, Percy asks why, so his legs can be free – turns out he’s half goat (did not see that one coming), or a Saber, to keep this mythology correct.

If they decide to adapt the rest of the books in the series, I will go see every single one at the movies. I feel this new series can be just as successful as Harry Potter and Twilight and definitely should not fall by the wayside like The Golden Compass, Chronicles of Narnia and Spiderwick Chronicles. It is something different and the mythology is interesting. How often do you get movies about Greek Gods?

Books into movies – when will it stop?

It seems these days more and more films carry the catchphrase “based on the novel by [insert author’s name here]”. An increasing trend in Hollywood to turn best selling books in to a film version. More like Hollywood has run out of good ideas for movies so have to rely on best selling authors to provide them.

We all know it happens, the biggest franchises in recent years are Harry Potter, Twilight, and of course Lord of the Rings. But it goes deeper, it seems that every second movie out these days was originally a book. The Lovely Bones, The Time Travellers Wife, My Sister’s Keeper and Where The Wild Things Are – one of the best known children’s books – are all gracing the big screen over the summer.

But if we go back in movie making history it is a trend that has been growing in popularity. Pride and Prejudice – with several versions – Minority Report, Chocolat were all books before movies.  Even Shakespeare has had his fair share of work made into movies, mostly with a modern twist – 10 Things I Hate About You, O and Romeo and Juliet has been done numerous times. The two most well know: the 1968 version and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version.

Even the majority of Disney movies are based on the original fairy tales by The Brothers Grimm – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. But the original Cinderella contains much more violence – the stepsisters cut off their toes to fit the glass slipper and a bird pecks out their eyes, leaving them as blind beggars. But obviously being Disney it has been sensored for a younger audience.

Disney has also done an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, which has now being remade by Tim Burton. Then there’s Willy Wonka or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – books that have been made into movies and then a remake of the movie! And what about the comic books? I could go on forever naming movies that got their start in fiction.

Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Dode, Angels and Demons,The Bourne trilogy, The Devil Wears Prada – I think you get my point.

Where does it end? First sensoring for a younger audience, then changing small details, which ultimately leads to changing crucial parts of a story to make an easier film.

Now of course these books have amazing stories, but do they translate well to the big screen and do the story justice?

Graeme Tuckett of The Dominion Post put it best, “What works on paper has a way of falling over in an embarrassing mess on its way to the screen.” He is referring to the recently released The Vintner’s  Luck, which has not been getting the best reviews. In fact author Elizabeth Knox was extremely upset over Niki Caro’s (Whale Rider, North Country) film adaptation saying it departed from her original story a lot. Strike one for Hollywood.

This is exactly where film adaptations will be heading if Hollywood’s behaviour of taking books and making them into movies continues. In fact it has already started.

Personally I have not read The Bourne trilogy of books – I have them, just never read them. I like the movies, they are done well, but they are nothing, and I mean nothing, like the books says my father. In fact, he says, the only consistency with the books and the movies is that the lead character is named Jason Bourne. Strike two for Hollywood.

Now take Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for example. The makers have always done well to incorporate the long books in to two-and-a-half hours of movie. But there are some aspects that just grind my gears. At the beginning of Half Blood Prince, Harry is cursed on the train by Malfoy – in the movie, Luna Lovegood finds him, but in the book it is Tonks.

Now this is where it really bugs me – Tonks is in the movie, she appears at Christmas at the Burrow – would it have been so hard for them to stick to the book and have Tonks find Harry? It would make more sense and would allow the storyline of The Order of the Phoenix at Hogwarts to continue from the previous movie. The Order plays a big part in the fight agains Voldemort – there is a whole book called The Order of the Phoenix, FFS. So wouldn’t it have been better to carry this storyline on in to Half Blood Prince?

It wouldn’t be that hard for Tonks to appear on the train and say she was posted at Hogwarts for extra protection to students. And her appearance to find Harry would be more believable than Luna finding him. Firstly, Tonks searching the train can be explained with the extra security story line. With Luna, why was she still on the train in the first place? Why didn’t she get off at the same time as the other students? Secondly, Tonks fixing Harry’s nose would be more believable because she is an auror, therefore her knowing the spell to fix a broken nose and doing it sucessfully fits, she probably has had to fix a few of them in her time. With Luna fixing it successfully, when would she have practised? When a student is hurt at Hogwarts, they go to Madame Pomfrey, and Luna wouldn’t be able to fix them in the summer, as students are not allowed to use magic outside of school.

It is the small inconsistencies which lead to the major plot deviations. It would be relatively easy for them to follow the book. A similar situation happened in The Goblet of Fire – Neville gave Harry gillyweed instead of Dobby, in this situation it works better because there would have been extra animation time etc to incorporate Dobby, and in the book Rowling set it up so Neville had the answer anyway, therefore it is not a major deviation. But it is a slippery slope they are on.

If Hollywood are going to make books into movies, they need to make sure they follow the main points of the book and highlight the main plot lines. Case and point – The Twilight Saga. The movies follow the books very closely, if they were to deviate from the books, fans would not appreciate it and would ultimately lead to a flop – as shown with The Vintner’s Luck.

It does not seem like this new found trend is going to let up any time soon. Marian Keyes’ book Rachel’s Holiday is set to become a movie along with Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. We also have TWO Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies to come as well as Eclipse and – as much as they say it’s too difficult, it will happen – Breaking Dawn. And of course there is talks of Tin Tin and The Hobbit.

Maybe Hollywood has been onto something from the beginning – fiction authors always make better stories than screenwriters any day. Strike three and you’re out.