January 24th, 2016

Ok.

So.

This post will be full of spoilers for The 5th Wave, both the book and movie. It will also likely be of little to no interest to most people, so you’ve been warned.

One last chance to hit the back button on your browser.

Alright.

I got my copy of The 5th Wave from a book exchange a few years ago, around Christmas of 2013. I didn’t read it right away, as I hadn’t heard anything about it and was probably reading a bunch of other books at the same time (as I am wont to do), but I picked it up again a month or so ago when I’d heard it was being made into a movie.

I’ve previously written about it here, particularly how I didn’t realize it was a Young Adult work until I hit some very Young Adult portions of it. That didn’t deter me, though, as I’ve written lots of that genre before: Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, most of The Hunger Games (gotta remember to finish that one of these days), and some of the Divergent series for example. And I’ve liked them all to varying degrees. So I kept on reading, and I’m glad I did, because I ended up really liking a lot of the characters. I even picked up the second book in the series literally the day after I finished the first book, and I’m a good chunk of the way though that now too.

The last time my cousin Terry and I saw a movie (which was The Hateful Eight earlier this month) we decided to have a peek online at upcoming releases to try and schedule some further excursions into the city. I really look forward to these trips, as we get a chance to catch up, hang out, see a movie or two, and usually have a meal together, all in one day. They’re great, and whether or not the movie is any good it’s still always an awesome time. We earmarked a few movies for upcoming trips, including The 5th Wave, Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman, and some others further down the road.

Today was set aside for The 5th Wave. And we saw it. And… I don’t really know where to start, to be honest. I raged at Terry almost immediately, I decried the film on Twitter while we were walking through the mall, and I ranted some more at him as we drove back home. He deserves a medal or something for putting up with me, to be honest, as he hasn’t read the book but he still kindly listened to my ravings.

I’ve honestly considered writing a long, rambling post here about what they messed up and why, but that would take a very long time. While I know you can’t always include every single little detail or else your movie will be far too long, there are some elements that you really should include. Things such as character development, especially scenes and/or events that form the cornerstone of a character’s motivation and growth, should be included. They don’t necessarily have to be in excruciating detail, but if they’re very important then they should be shown to some degree.

There are several of these types of moments stripped from the book, which was what infuriated so much. I know movie adaptations are seldom as good as their written versions, but this film seemed to go out of its way to revise and omit critical elements in its protagonists’ lives.

Again, I won’t go into as much depth as I kind of want (or could), but here’s a few for those who’ve read the book:

  • Cassie’s dad isn’t killed by Vosch right in front of her, which was arguably the key motivator for her after reuniting with her brother. Instead, her dad dies when a meeting goes astray rather than a herding and culling by the Others;
  • The whole Cassie and Evan element is extremely rushed and has her docile and running away from him, as opposed to arguing with him, fighting him, finding out about him and keeping it secret until she can use it against him, even trying to kill him, or you know, being a badass in general. In the movie she just runs almost immediately.
  • Also, the biggest problem re: her and Evan is that Evan didn’t shoot her in the movie. That’s right, they even show a flashback where he actually shoots another silencer who was shooting her. I was livid at this because lakdawioaw;ldkaw wtf. Seriously. Seriously.
  • The whole of the military scenes was sorely disappointing compared to the book. There was no evil drill sergeant punishing them, showing them failing drills, having to work in the disposal area, etc. It honestly felt like they were at camp or something compared to the book.
  • Ben wasn’t sick at all in the movie, which is the whole reason behind his Zombie nickname and a huge part of his growth.
  • OH YEAH. Also neither Cassie’s nor Ben’s families were shown having to put up with looters / attackers etc., which is how Ben’s family was killed and he ran away. That was a HUGE part of his development, that he ran and didn’t fight, which Vosch took advantage of and why he went back for Sam etc. A HUGE loss for Ben.
  • When Ben was brought into the camp he had to actually kill his friend from the outside by pressing that button, not some random person. This was also a huge development for him and beginning to trust Vosch et al.

Ok, shit, I have to stop or else I’ll just keep adding more and growing more and more frustrated. Because god damn, what a let down.

Honestly, the more I think about it I’m just upset over the potential future of any other movies. If this one bombs, and wow, it’s got a (deservedly) horrible score at Rotten Tomatoes, then there’ll likely be no more movies. Just like the His Dark Materials trilogy, which hasn’t had any of the other books translated to film since The Golden Compass bombed. Which sucked because I really wanted to see The Subtle Knife brought to life.

But yes. Bad adaptation, because it just didn’t show why its characters were doing what they were doing. Or how they became who they were at the end of the film. And that’s basically what the whole story is about. I just have no idea who adapted this and thought it was fine. Seriously, I’m so disappointed.

The book was far from my favourite thing ever, but I admit I did grow fairly attached to the characters and really was looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. I didn’t expect it to be perfect, but I expected the portrayal of the characters to have at least some ring of truth to it, not like this.

Which reminds me of a particular scene in The Matrix and gives me a perfect ending to sum up my feelings on this movie:

giphy

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January 23rd, 2016

I signed up for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2016 which kicked off last night. Well, technically at 1:29am this morning for us here in NL, but whatever. Participants have eight days to write a 2,500 word maximum story which much match a given genre and include a given subject and character. Mine are mystery, a cult, and a barista respectively.

I first stumbled across the NYC Midnight site last fall with its Flash Fiction challenge, giving you 48 hours to write a maximum of 1,000 words in a similar fashion, which I also entered. That one allowed participants to take place in two rounds, scoring points if your entries were in the top 15 of your group, then the top 3 people in each group went on to the third round, and then so many of those went on to the fourth and final round.

While I didn’t make it to the third round, I did get points in both my entries (the first one is here and second one here, for those interested), and a fair bit more for the second than the first. You also receive feedback on each entry too, which will also happen with this Short Story contest, which was nice.

With the additional time to write, I’m really hoping to put more into this attempt. Both of the 1,000 maximum word stories I entered before were basically done in half a day or so, due to my failure to schedule for each weekend. Both weekends I ended up going to St. John’s overnight on either Friday or Saturday and those days and nights were wasted, at least with respect to writing. That lead to the next morning being wasted too, by the time I woke up, had food, lollygagged around the city, etc.

I’ll be working during the week of course but I should still have ample time for writing, provided I make myself write. And hey, that’s why I have this blog, right? Even though this is a bigger goal, by 2.5x, I’ll have far more than 2.5x the time in which to write it, so it’s all good.

I popped into Carbonear to pick up a few things this afternoon, and a plot revealed itself to me while I was driving. Here’s hoping I can flesh it out into something interesting. Wish me luck!

January 22nd, 2016

Thankful that today is Friday. It was a long week, and even though today was Friday (which is historically easier to get through than most other days) it was a long day. I blame being so tired from last night, though that was great exercise so it was well worth it.

At any rate, TGIF. To start off the weekend, I had a surprise left over from the mail yesterday that I opened today, namely January’s Lootcrate. I first signed up for this service last… September, I think? It was a while ago, mainly because I’d been interested in one of items it purported to have from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I am truly a sucker for anything Assassin’s Creed related; see me not having finished Unity from 2014 and having bought Syndicate when it came out last November already.

Anyway, the item turned out to be a sweater / pullover to celebrate the launch of Syndicate. Also, it technically wasn’t in the Lootcrate itself, but rather a similar program they offer called Level Up where you can order wearable items on a monthly basis as well. You can get shirts/sweaters, socks, and accessories, I just got the shirt/sweater knowing it would be Assassin’s Creed related, but it’s neat that there are other options.

I canceled the Level Up service (a little late though, and got an Attack on Titan shirt that’s awesome which I gave to Sara for her birthday) but maintained the Lootcrate since it was pretty neat. That month I think the monthly theme was Time and it came with a mini replica of the hoverboard from Back To The Future that is awesome.

It’s been a little hit or miss with me since; I was fully expecting a huge bunch of goodies for December but was a little let down with it. January’s is excellent again though, complete with a little plush Face Hugger toy, an X-Files LED flashlight, and a replica Leeloo Dallas multipass, among other things. I think I’ll keep it for another while and see how it goes.

I’ve also been getting the bi-monthly Marvel Collectors Corps which also started out awesome – female Thor and Miles Morales Funko Pop figures! – but has been a little meh lately. I’ll give that one another go too, it’s only every other month so it’s not as bad anyway.

So that’s been the start to the weekend on my end, not too bad at all. Here’s hoping the rest holds up, I’ll be off to see The 5th Wave on Sunday and I’ll be sure to write about that once I get home.

January 21st, 2016

We’ve now been offered Thursday nights in addition to Sunday nights for ball hockey at the school gym where we play. I think I’ll start going Thursdays because I find it much easier to get through a Friday when I’m sore and tired than a Monday.

Tonight was my first Thursday night run and I’m exhausted. It went really well, though, and for two of the three games (we play three-on-three until one team scores ten) our team didn’t have anyone to sub, leaving all three of us out the entire time. We took a fair number of breaks because damn, but still, wow. So tired.

When I started playing last fall there was no way on earth I could’ve done this, probably not even for one game, let alone two with another game with just the one shift. I’m a little proud of myself to have survived tonight, even though I was hardly running back and forth the entire night. I did more than I could have done a few months ago, though, so that’s something.

Sorry for the short post tonight, I’ll try to make it up over the weekend. But for now, I sleep.

January 20th, 2016

At my wife’s request to pick up the Mass Effect collection for her, I splurged a little and also picked up a copy of the limited edition of Life Is Strange on the PS4. I already own the latter on Steam, and I’m taking my time playing through the five episodes of which it’s comprised. I think I just finished the second one and haven’t picked up from there yet.

Aside from wanting to encourage my wife’s gaming habits – I hardly touched the first Mass Effect myself even – I also wanted to get her to try Life Is Strange, I wanted to support the developers because it’s a great game, and I was a little selfish in wanting to have the limited edition materials as well. It’s a win for everyone!

I really do recommend Life Is Strange to any and everyone. It’s not your standard game at all, rather it’s more like an interactive story with tons of replayability. You play a senior high school student named Max Caulfield who discovers she has the ability to rewind time. Her life is filled with both the typical struggles of a person her age and some not-so-typical ones, and you are faced with a series of decisions and discussions that require your input. Your decisions shape the direction in which the game goes, and you can rewind or do them over in a limited fashion (typically for big decisions once you leave the immediate area it becomes set in stone).

The story is fantastic, and the hand painted visuals and indie soundtrack really add a ton of atmosphere to the experience. I’m torn between wanting to race to the finish and wanting to soak up every bit of the journey, hence my only having reached the start of the third episode. While I know I can always just start again (and I’m sure I will) the must-click-EVERYTHING attitude I have in pretty much every game ever is hard to ignore, you guys.

On the topic of gaming, I caught up some on a Diablo III podcast earlier today so I think I’m going to go work on my Season 5 character there for a bit before bed. I also picked up the second book in 5th Wave series, so I may start in on that before sleeping too.

Only two more days left until the weekend, not that I’m counting or anything.

January 19th, 2016

Much like this whole blog-post-a-day thing isn’t really a resolution but kinda is, I’m also making a not-really-a-resolution to read more this year. Last year I didn’t read nearly as much as I’d like, and worse I didn’t really keep track of it at all.

My plan this year is to use my Goodreads account much more diligently than last. It even has a challenge embedded the site for reading X number of books in a calendar year. When prompted I entered a modest goal of 25 books. I believe I was somewhere in the teens for 2015, though I can’t be sure.

Tonight I finished the first book, The 5th Wave, which I’m going to review over there and will link to here once it’s done. Briefly I really enjoyed it and want to check out the others in the series, and I’ll be going to see the movie with my cousin this coming Sunday.

Next in my queue is David Mitchell’s Slade House, which I kind of have to read, yeah? I loved Cloud Atlas, even if I never did get around to seeing the movie adaptation, so I’ve got high expectations for this one. I’m enjoying it so far though admittedly I’m not that far into it.

I’ll admit, part of my desire to read more comes from this link, which I saw shared on social media somewhere recently. I’m not sure if it was on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere, but please feel free to let me know if you shared it and would like credit.

The post at that link attempts to give a graphical representation to various milestones and events in your life, both meaningful and mundane alike. Some of it really makes you think – especially the part of spending time with your parents and family – but I was also struck by the author’s representation regarding books.

He posited that he read five books a year, so by the estimate of living until the age of ninety he had approximately three hundred books left to read. Which sounds like a fair number of books, but when you compare that to the number of books out there, plus those yet to be written, it seems like such a small number. Seeing it represented graphically compared to something mundane, as he did with the number of dumplings he’ll eat between now and then, and it looks downright scary.

Now I’ll likely read more than five books a year, I hope, and like everyone I don’t know how much time I’ll have either, but that number startled me. I have way too many books that I’m either in the middle of reading or that I’ve bought to read and haven’t started yet, and the thought that I just might never get to them struck home harder than I thought it would.

The main takeaway from that post, I believe, was to emphasize appreciating your loved ones and spending time with them. That is certainly true and an extremely important fact of which to be aware, but it’s also important to do the things you love and want to do as well. Reading is one of those things for me and I’m hoping that 2016 will lead to a marked increase in that area along with my writing.

January 18th, 2016

Some excitement in our household tonight. I sat down about two hours ago after my wife (who has an early rise) went to bed, put iTunes on shuffle, and thought about what I’d write here. Before I could get very far, however, our cat, Simon, began scratching at the basement window and crying.

I turned to see what was up and saw him swatting at the blinds, then he fell from the little ledge onto the floor. That woke up the wife, and I got up to see if he was alright (ok, we talk to our cat so I did say “are you ok buddy?” out loud, I’ll admit it). He was fine, and he continued speaking while trotting upstairs to the living room window, clearly agitated.

It turns out another cat was outside the window, and Simon came running back down, hopped up, and both of them commenced bawling in unison.

At this point my wife was back up and we sequestered Simon downstairs while going out to investigate. We didn’t know whether this other cat was hurt or something, but as it turned out it was thankfully just fine. Better than fine, actually; it started purring up a storm when we approached and was jumping up to nudge us, rubbed against our legs, very social.

It was also pretty dry according to my wife, who was the first one out. It’s snowing heavily out tonight, though thankfully it’s not very cold, and soon enough it was pretty wet. That coupled with the fact it looks very well fed, healthy, and had been fixed (the wife checked) lead us to believe it’s a local house cat. Whether it got out by accident or gets out regularly we don’t know. Neither of us have seen it around before, and there are a few others we see every now and then, but this isn’t one of them.

Eventually we let it into our porch and fed it; Simon is very picky about his food so I have a nearly full case of Whiskas pate style he won’t touch, and this cat ate not one but two full cans of it. We put out water too, which it drank, and we’d given it some treats earlier while outside.

Before letting it in, I hastily finished the little kitty hut I’d been working on but it was having none of it. It’s out there now, though, in case it or any other kitty needs a place to stay. I meant to put it out earlier but like many of my projects I got distracted, so at least this forced me to get that done and put out there.

Anyway, the cat and Simon do not get along, so we can’t keep it in the porch. The door between our porch and the kitchen, which I sometimes refer to as our airlock vis a vis keeping Simon inside, has glass panels all through it. While the newcomer was there Simon couldn’t stay away from it and they were hissing and yelling something fierce.

The plan was going to be keep the potential stray inside over night and call the police and/or the town hall in the morning (no shelters for like 50+ km from here) but that clearly wasn’t going to work, so we put out more food (which it ate) and water, plus the little aforementioned shelter, then opened the outside door again. It left of its own volition and wandered back out into the night, but it has food, water, and shelter here should it return and need it.

So yeah, that was our excitement for the evening. Sara’s trying to get some sleep but she’s got to be up at 5:30am at the latest so hopefully she’s not too tired tomorrow. I’ll be headed to bed soon myself, but first I wanted to post this and will now post some pics I took to the NL Lost Pets Facebook group, just in case.

[eta] Attempting to embed my Facebook post to the lost pets group here, let’s see if it works:

It didn’t, but adding one of the pics we took and shared with the group:

cat