Staying Shiny

My life as a Uber-geek in a Bridal world

Beauty and the Beast: Girls Day Out

I haven't gotten around to writing about this yet but I wanted to make sure I get it down before I forget.  My mom recently too me, D and JH to see the stage production of Beauty and the Beast.  I was so excited to go as this has always been my favorite Disney movie.  My mom bought a block of 16 or 17 tickets for a bunch of different people to go including my boss and co-worker and their two daughters.  We went up to Calgary in the morning and did a bit of shopping and dinner before the show.  We first went to the Chinook mall and after spending 45 minutes trying to find a parking spot and losing JH in the process (she got out of the car to save us a spot but we got caught in traffic and lost her).  I was hoping to find some bits for my costume for Comicon this year but had no luck with that.  I was feeling a bit frustrated with the whole shopping experience by this point (I couldn't find what I wanted, the mall was crazy busy and we had lost D and JH...again) when I came across the most interesting store.  I literally stopped in my tracks and yelled "there's a hat store!"  It was this amazing little shop called Chapel and it was filled with the most incredible hats.  I spent a bunch of time trying on various hats and fascinators (including a $300 feather one) and finally settled on one to buy for myself.  We then managed to track down D and JH and then went back to the store and tried on more hats and D bought one for herself as well.  This will be a must stop place for me whenever I go to Calgary from now on.

My new hat!
D's fabulous new chapeau

We then went for dinner with a bunch of the other ladies that were going to the show and then headed off to the theatre.  Dinner took a little longer than we had planned for so D and I ended up changing into our dresses while driving to the show.  I would love to say that's the first time this has happened to this family but it seems to be somewhat of a tradition with us.  When we got to the theatre we met up with my boss and company.  We headed in to our seats and they were quite good.  We were on the first balcony first row so there were no heads to obscure our views.  Boss lady and the kids were one section over from us and one row up.  The kids were so excited to see the show and I noticed after a bit that the 2 seats next to me were unoccupied.  Whoever had purchased them (it was a sold out show) had not come for whatever reason so the kids moved down and sat next to me for the whole show.  It made it just that extra bit special as they still really see the magic in a show such as this.  We shared binoculars the whole show and I answered the odd question they had and the only fight we had was over the binoculars when Belle came out in the famous yellow dress.  We all wanted to be the first to see it.
A view from our seats pre-show
The show itself was great.  The costumes were incredible and it did capture the spirit of the movie I loved quite well.  I wasn't sure how I felt about Belle at first as she sang the opening number differently than what I am used to, but she soon grew on me.  Some of the things I really enjoyed about the show were the set changes.  They were so smooth and worked into the show with many of the dancers facilitating the changes and becoming part of the set as the action went on around them.  Lumiere was fabulous as was Gaston.  They both really stole the show.  The design of the sets and use of scrims, particularly when the wolf puppets were being used and during the final battle between the Beast and Gaston were ingenious.  I also really enjoyed the final transformation scene as the did some amazing wire work to keep it really close to the movie as well.  I think that scene was a little extra special from where I was sitting as one of the kids leaned over to me and whispered "how do they do that?".  My response of "magic" was met with wide eyed enthusiasm.

My favorite number of the show was "Gaston" as it featured some incredible choreography with steel beer steins that I don't know if many others really appreciate how difficult it was.  I found a video that shows a bit of what I'm talking about, although it is not the same cast I saw and a shorter version of it.

I did love the show overall, but I think that The Lion King was a better stage production.  JH and I were both happy that we still liked the Beast better as a beast than as a human in the stage show.  It was a nice day out with the female part of my family, even if it was about 2 am before we got home and I did have to work the next day.  Thanks to my awesome mom for keeping our girls day at the theatre tradition alive.

50 Books in 2012: Book 2

Title:  Peter Pan
Author: J. M. Barrie
Genre:  Classics - Children's Literature

Synopsis:  The three Darling Children, Wendy, John and Michael, are whisked away on a series of adventures with Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up.  The travel to the fantastic world of Neverland where they encounter fairies, Lost Boys, Indians, mermaids and a band of pirates lead by Captain Hook.

Review:  Ok, let's be serious for a moment.  We all know this story inside out and backwards, but how many of us have actually read it?  I know this was the first time I have.  I am so happy that I decided to take the time to check this one off my list.  It's a very easy book to read on most levels, although there are many phrases and words in it that have fallen from common use and can trip up the reader at times.  The writing style is so different from what I was expecting.  I thought it would be your standard story as told from a neutral perspective but was pleasantly surprised to find that it reads much more like a bedtime story as narrated by and imaginative adult.  I could picture myself lying in bed and listening to my great-grandmother tell me the wonderful stories she used to make up.  It has a unique flow that must be read to be truly enjoyed.
   There were a few things that really stuck me about this book.  I found it very interesting how little was actually described about Peter himself, thus allowing the reader to create their own image of the boy.  Barrie never tells us his age or even describes much about how he looks other than stating that Peter still had all of his baby teeth and wore clothing made of leaves.  I was also a little shocked at how violent the book is at times.  When the Pirates, Indians and Lost Boys fight, they kill each other.  Not in a make believe way, but in a final that's-the-end-of-that character way.  I didn't expect that.  I was also a little surprised as how small of a role Tinker Bell actually plays.  
   Reading this book gave me a better appreciation for a few of my favorite movies as well.  I was struck by how many amazing little details from the novel ended up in the movie "Hook"  From the two-cigar pipe that Hook smokes to the "silly ass" line that Tink says, they did a great job of little shout outs here and there.  It also really made me appreciate "Finding Neverland".
   Though this may not be the greatest story I have read, it it truly one of the best stories told.  That's how it feels as you read it, as though someone is telling it to you.  I hope you take the time to experience it for yourself.

I give it 5 out of 5 bookmarks and raise it a solid imagination.

Gearing up for Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

I can't wait for this years Expo!  The line up is already huge and we are still months away!  I have a feeling that it's going to be insanely busy this year and I hope they are able to keep up with the numbers.  I had a look at the tentative layout for the show this year and I'm not sure I like them moving the guest area out of the main hall as I think it may cause some major line jams, but it might work out.  We have our tickets in hand and our hotel booked and are currently working on our cosplay for this year.  Here's a little run down of the guests so far and my thoughts.

Adam Baldwin - Excited about this one, but not as much as J!  He's decided to revamp his Jayne costume so he can get a picture with the "hero of Canton" himself.  He's currently working on recreating Vera (Jayne's gun) and if it turns out well, wants to get it autographed as well.  While I have enjoyed many of Adam Baldwin's roles, my favorite is Jayne in Firefly.  So put us down for any panel he's in as well as a photo op and autograph.

Robert Englund - I have to admit, I didn't watch the Nightmare on Elmstreet movies when I was young.  J bought them all a few years ago and we had a big marathon one day.  I loved them!  But I'm not ashamed to admit that when I went to sleep that night, Freddy tried to get me.  What a testament to a great actor that the character he brought to life can actually haunt the dreams of those who saw his performance.  One of my favorite rolls of his was in a short film he did for the Masters of Horror series called "Dance of the Dead" which is based on an amazing short story by Richard Matheson.  While it may not be the best film ever made, Englund was fabulous as the creepy M.C. who brought the dead back to dance for the living in a macabre affair.  Worth the watch if you haven't seen it.  Not sure if we'll do much more than glance at him from a distance, but that will depend on what the schedule of panels looks like.

Tom Felton - Good old Draco Malfoy.  I think it's cool that they got him and I did love the books and enjoyed the movies, but I think I'll skip the lines on this one.

Gil Gerard - Buck Rogers!  Once again, cool they got him, but not for me.

Richard Hatch - the original Apollo in Battlestar Galactica and Tom Zarek in the reboot.  Excited about this one and I never miss a Battlestar panel!

James Marsters - SQUEEEEEE!!!  In case you couldn't tell, I'm a little excited about this one.  I loved him in Buffy/Angel as the bad ass yet lovable Spike.  I loved him even more in Torchwood as Captian John Hart.  He's sexy, a great actor and has an incredible voice.  I've heard rumors of a nightclub performance after the show one night and I might just have to find that one and swoon a bit.  Panel- check, autograph - probable

Jasika Nicole - of Fringe fame.  Believe it or not, I never got into that show...weird because it's right up my alley.  I watched it pretty faithfully in the beginning but life got in the way of a few episodes and I quickly got lost in the intricate plot.  I'll probably skip this one, but once again, kudos to the Expo for the score.

John Noble - Currently on Fringe as well.  From what I have seen of the show, I love his bumbling confused genius character.  But to me, he will always be the incredible Steward of Gondor!  He'll get a walk by and a huge grin from me.

Hayden Panettiere - Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.  I loved Heroes in the beginning like many others did and yet somewhere along the way, I just stopped watching.  I don't know how this show went off the rails so far and I still have no idea how it ended.  Great score by the expo for all the fanboys!  Walk by for me.

David Prowse - the man behind the mask.  He had to cancel last year so I'm happy they got him back this year.  It'll be neat to see him and hear his stories as I'm sure he's got some interesting ones.  Panel for me.

Katee Sackoff - Can't miss for me!  Glad they were able to get her after last years cancellation.  When I first started with the reboot, I wasn't sure how I felt about them changing Starbuck to a woman.  After watching her in this role for about five minutes however, I was hooked!  She is brilliant.  I know she doesn't count towards my Cylon collection, but I think I'll got for an autograph anyway.  You'll also find me at her panel.  Gotta love Starbuck!

Arthur Suydam - I am a comic lover, but I don't know them well enough often to know the names of artist or creators off the top of my head.  This is an exception.  I loved Marvel Zombies!  I have a zombie Spiderman costume I've been working on for a few years now and one day I'll finish it.  (My nephews laughed at this one as the foundation of it is a costume I bought in the children's department and, yes, it fits me)  I might have to brave the line ups on this one for an autograph.

Amanda Tapping - Another great female guest.  While many know her from Stargate, I love her as the no nonsense Dr. Helen Magnus on Sanctuary.  I also love her 100% Canadian stance and the fact that she has helped create such a successful Canadian Sci-fi show.  Panel is likely on this one.

Adam West - What a cool guest this is.  I don't know if I'm enough of a fan to stand in what is sure to be an incredibly long line, but I will likely take in the panel.  I do love how he is more than willing to poke fun at himself and the persona he has created.

Wil Wheaton -  Just announced today and I'm excited about this one.  I love that he's just as much of a geek as the rest of us!  I follow his Twitter feed and have read his blog and I can't wait to see this panel.  My love is this man is not based on his acting, although I have enjoyed much of his work, but rather on how human he is and how much he shares with his fans.  I could picture sitting across a gaming table from him and having a great time.  The only thing that would make this better was if Aaron Douglas was there as well.  I love watching their "frenemy" fights on Twitter.

So far so good with the guests this year.  I'm excited that the Expo has become so successful that they are able to score such awesome guests.  It's only up from here I think!  My only concern is that there might be too much awesome stuff for me to do that I can't fit it into one weekend.

50 Books in 2012 :Book 1

I am an avid reader, so I've decided to set a goal for this year to read at least 50 books.  I am confident I will be able to achieve this goal and I plan to write a review for each book as I finish it.  So, without further adieu, here's book 1 for the year.

Title:  The Magician
Series: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Book 2
Writer:  Michael Scott
Genre:  Young Adult Fiction - Fantasy

Synopsis:  Book 2 of this series find the twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, along with Nicholas Flamel and the immortal warrior Scathach in Paris where they attempt to teach Sophie fire magic while running from Dr. John Dee who has teamed up with the infamous Machiavelli.  They are aided in their quest by Joan of Arc and Comte de Saint-Germain.  Meanwhile, Pernelle Flamel finds the secrets Dee has hidden on Alcatraz while trying to escape.

Review:  This is a fun and somewhat campy series.  I quite enjoy the interesting take on historical figures that Scott has taken with this series.  The basic premise is that the twins, Sophie and Josh are the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy that will either save or doom the world.  While this is not anything new, the way Scott has chosen to integrate historical figures and various myths and dogmas makes this a unique take on an old idea.
   My favorite new character in this book has to be Joan of Arc.  Scott does an excellent take on her character showing her as a small and friendly woman who has developed a love of her annonimity.  I'm sure I would feel the same way if the last time I had been well known had resulted in me being burned at the stake.  She can also kick some serious ass.
   I also enjoyed how the seeds of doubt that Dee plants in Josh begin to work their way in the reader as well.  I know that Dee is most definitely bad, but I begin to wonder, much like Josh and Sophie, just what Flamel's true motives are.  What does he know that he's not sharing?  Was Awakening Sophie really the right call?
   My favorite character of the series has rapidly become Pernelle Flamel.  She is strong and smart.  I quite enjoyed how she used her wits in this to escape the Spinx, solve the mystery of what Dee is hiding on Alcatraz and fight the terrifying Morrigan.
   I find myself really enjoying this series.  If you have a child who loves fantasy and magic and maybe even has an interest in history, this is a great series to get them in to.  I love how there are so many characters that you can actually research and learn more about their lives.  It's a pretty good afternoon escape for adults too as it's an easy read and flows quite nicely.

I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 bookmarks.