Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Harry Potter Reread: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

April brings the reread of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The post explaining the reread can be found here, along with a list of other bloggers that are participating.

And in case you don't remember what the book is about, here is the synopsis.

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can't know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable ...With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.
Warning: This post will likely contain more spoilers that my previous posts.

I can't really figure out how I felt about this one. It wasn't that I didn't like it, but there were just some things that bothered me about it. It's mostly towards the end of the book and they're, I suppose you could almost call them continuity errors. The fact that Voldemort tells Wormtail to "kill the spare" even though he could use his wand at the beginning to kill Frank Bryce. And when Cedric comes out of the wand during priori incantatem, if Wormtail killed him, I would have assumed he would have had his own wand (or at least stolen one) by then and would have used his own wand and not Voldemort's. And then if I remember correctly, James should have come out after Lily because he was killed first. And lastly, when they're leaving Hogwarts at the end of the year, Harry should be able to see the thestrals because they take the carriages back to the station. Why can't he see them?!? The only logical explanation I can come up with is that he's still in denial about seeing Cedric die and hasn't actually come to terms with what he saw.

I also don't like when Ron and Harry are fighting. I just want to smack Ron (or throw a button at his head :) haha) for not believing his best friend when he tells him he didn't put his name in the Goblet.

I do love that we get to see Dobby again. Though it hurts to think what happens to him. But he's just such a happy and ridiculous character you can't help but love him. I love when he gives Harry the gillyweed and says he has to save his "Wheezy".

With this book I couldn't help but compare it to the movies and notice the differences. The first 3 weren't as bad but while reading this one I kept thinking about it. The one part I did like in the movie that they changed was when Beauxbatons and Durmstrang came in. Though in the book it was kind of funny, "It's a dragon!" "Don't be's a flying house!" pg 213, I thought the way they did it in the movie was cool.

Random side note for HP/Doctor Who lovers: David Tennant plays Barty Crouch Jr in the movies, in the book he dies (or gets his soul sucked out) in the chapter titled "the parting of the ways" and the episode where the tenth doctor appears is also called "the parting of the ways" :)

Overall it's still a good book. Unfortunately I'm finding that during this reread, I don't quite love the books as much as I used too. And it actually makes me really sad. I don't know if it's because I read them so much when I was younger or just built them up so much, or even just because I'm analysing them more for these posts, but they just don't feel the same. Hopefully it gets better and I stop feeling that way. 3 more rereads to go!

I'm looking forward to next month because we get more of the twins (if I remember correctly), and  Dumbledore's Army. But I am not looking forward to Umbridge. Ugh.

Hope you enjoyed this month's reread and come back next month for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Running Like a Girl Challenge

A little while ago my sister posted something on twitter from Simon and Schuster Canada. They're doing something called "Running Like a Girl Challenge" and it's to promote the book Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley as well as to try and get more people out, active and running. The basis of this challenge is, you commit to running a race or half marathon in the month of June and blog/social media about it, and they'll send you a copy of the book and a runner's starter kit.

I looked up when Met Con Blue was going to be, and since it was in June I decided, what the hell I'll give it a try. So far I'm not doing very well haha.

I was super excited when I got my package (I don't get many things mailed to me, or free for that matter) but I still haven't actually started the book. The package included the book, a notebook, hair ties, socks, an energy bar, water bottle and nail polish! Apparently these are all things that Alexandra recommends in the book.

In case you were wondering, Met Con Blue is a mountain adventure (or mud) rave that takes place at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood. I've worked at Blue for the past 3 summers and each year I've wanted to participate so this year I'm finally going to do it. I have just over a month now before the race on June 14.

I'm also going to be taking part in another run on June 4. It's the Westin 5k, also taking place at Blue Mountain, but it's less of a :need to do well" and more just to get active. The Westin has this whole well being movement that they're starting. Trying to get staff healthy I guess. But a girl from work and I signed up together so it should be fun.

Anyways, that's my first of hopefully many updates on this challenge. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Trip to Toronto

I’ve been wanting to do something with my time off and finally got to go on a day trip to Toronto.
I found this tour called Tasty Tours Toronto in the Toronto travel guide and decided it sounded kind of interesting. It said it was a sweets tour which, if anyone knows me, is right up my alley. And since it’s free if it’s your birthday month, I decided I wanted to go. Unfortunately it wasn’t what I expected. It was more of a multicultural tour, which is cool in theory, but I’m not big on trying new things. And I don’t recall them saying anything about that on the website (though I suppose if I knew anything about Kensington Market I could have figured that out). Regardless, I did try things.
The first stop was a Chinese bakery, and we tried egg tarts. Which are basically a custard tart with more egg than normal. It was too eggy for me, but surprisingly I didn’t mind the pasty (normally I hate pie crusts). Josh didn’t find it too bad.
On our way to our second stop we paused out front of a synagogue and then randomly got a tour from one of the employees who passed by us and invited us in. Which was interesting.

3rd oldest synagogue in Canada...I think.

The second stop was a Middle Eastern shop. I tried (and did not like) baklava and Josh had Turkish delight. Which I think he was super excited about.
The third stop we made was at a Mexican place. So we had churros. I got mine filled with chocolate. Josh said they were “nothing special” but I actually thought it was pretty good. Chocolate kept dripping out the bottom though.
On our way to our next stop we passed a comic book store and Josh got very excited about it, but we didn’t think we’d be able to find it after our last stop of the tour so then he was kind of disappointed.
The next stop was Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. We (thankfully) didn’t have pie, we got cupcakes (yay!). I’m actually very critical of cupcakes I apparently think I’m some sort of cupcake connoisseur (hah!). The cupcake, well half a cupcake, I had was chocolate and had some sort of cream in the middle. It wasn’t overly fantastic. The cupcake wasn’t anything special, not very moist, and the cream filling wasn’t very creamy or fluffy, it was almost kind of hard.
The last stop on our tour was the Blue Banana Market. I actually thought the market itself was fairly interesting. It had things from a bunch of different vendors but none of them were actually there. If that makes any sense. We didn’t buy from individual people, there was one central cash for everything. So there we got to try a very expensive, apparently fancy chocolate. It was dark chocolate, which I’m not overly fond of, and it kind of had a fruity flavour to it that was kind of weird. And since it’s been two weeks I can’t actually remember the name of the company. It’s Canadian. I think. Haha. We also got to try marshmallows. Real marshmallows! They had a maple flavour to them. They were kind of fun.
After the tour was finished we went to look around the market. There were so many things. Jewellery and clothes, British and Canadian things, souvenirs and stationary, bath and home accessories, and to Josh’s delight, Jelly Belly’s that you could mix and match your own flavours. So he got some of those and I found myself a Harry Potter magnet. I was torn between getting the Hogwarts or Gryffindor crests but I went with Hogwarts.
The market ended up being right next to the comic book store we had passed so I let Josh go in. Since I dragged him on the tour with me I figured it w3as the least I could do. He had a lovely geeked out conversation with the store worker while I looked around. I saw a really cool Doctor Who mug and am now kicking myself for not buying it. (Side note: the guy in the shop was playing music on records!)
Overall the tour was alright. I’m glad I didn’t pay for mine but it was interesting. Though I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone else.
After the tour we walked all the way back down Spadina again to get to Front Street where we parked. Because before the tour we went to…
Ripley’s Aquarium!
Josh has been wanting to go for a while now and I was interested to see what it was like as well. We got through the whole place in about an hour and a half. I would definitely not recommend going on a weekend. It was packed. And strollers everywhere! Drove me crazy. I think if it hadn’t been so busy we could have spent longer but since it was so crowded there were some things we couldn’t see that well so we just sort of moved on. Though I did stop and wait to stand on this platform that tells you how much money you would make if you were your weight in tuna. I was $3096!

There was a really cool little moving walkway that took you all around one section and at some parts there were actually things swimming above you. Josh could actually reach up and touch the glass so he pretended he was rubbing a shark’s belly. I didn’t see the turtles though L and it made me sad. I did get to see some Nemo’s though. And Dory’s and the “bubbles!” fish. And yes, they had information about each of the fish and they mentioned the movie. We also pet little sting ray thingys. They had a hard shell so they weren’t the fun floaty ones. Josh also pet a shark. Which he said was lame because it was just chilling in the corner of the little pen thing and didn’t move at all. There was also one big tank at the end that had a bunch of sting rays that you could touch, as well as some bonnet head sharks that you couldn’t and some staff scuba diving. I left Josh to try and pet a sting ray (he didn’t, they wouldn’t go near him, but the sharks would) to go lok in the gift shop. Where I bought a postcard (obviously…as I have my collection) and a really cute mug with turtles on it, and I bought Josh a shot glass (to add to his collection). It had a little shark in the middle. I thought it was fun.

The aquarium was fun. I would love to go again, hopefully when it’s slightly less busy (Ie not on a weekend and not in the first year it’s been open and super popular lol) and spend a little more time there. But unfortunately it is rather expensive so it probably won’t be for a while.
So that was my outing. God I sound like I’m being held captive and am barely ever allowed out into the world lol. I probably won’t be going anywhere else anytime soon but here’s hoping.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Whovian in Training

About 8 or 9 months ago, I decided that I might want to start watching Doctor Who. However I didn't have anyone to borrow it from, and it wasn't on Netflix so I just brushed it off and decided maybe some other time.

Then a couple of months ago, at work a co-worker and I were geeking out (probably about Sherlock or Harry Potter) and the topic got to Doctor who and she mentioned that it was now on Netflix. "Like Canadian Netflix??" I asked, because Canadian Netflix tends to suck more than the American and it takes longer for us to get things. "Like Netflix that I can actually watch?" she said yeah, so then I decided that's what I needed to do.

And then I realized that the internet at my place isn't the best. It seems like every month we almost or do go over the data usage (land lady still hasn't gotten around to switching it) so binge watching Doctor Who on Netflix wasn't going to be feasible.

Fast forward to about a month ago when I became semi unemployed (slow season = no shifts) and decided to come home for a couple weeks while I had the chance. Now I could watch Doctor Who!

I think I'm just about at the last episode of season 4. Which means Ten is going to be leaving soon. I could have gotten farther but I kept taking huge breaks between some episodes. Like the end of Nine, and the end of Rose, and before Blink because I knew the Angels were coming.

So far I'm enjoying it. I'm not a full blown Whovian yet, though I do tend to talk about it a lot. And post a lot of things on Pinterest... Ok, maybe I'm just in denial.

I started at what I guess some people call "New Who" with Nine. Some day I would like to be able to watch the original Who but I don't know if it's even around anymore. (I keep hearing it was all destroyed in a fire). I have to say I was very fond of Nine. I know a lot of people don't like him as much, but I feel like if he had gotten more than one season people would have grown to like him more. Because when he regenerated, as much as I had heard good things about Ten, I was sad and didn't like Ten for most of the first season. No particular reason why, he just wasn't Nine and I don't like change.


The same thing happened after Rose. I loved her. She was hilarious and adorable and totally clueless at times but always wanted to learn and help The Doctor. And then we got Martha. Who really is actually quite intelligent and competent, but she's not Rose, so I didn't like her as much. She ended up growing on me but I still liked Rose better. Now I'm onto Donna, who I really thought I was going to hate, not totally sure why, but I ended up liking her. She's very brash and doesn't put up with The Doctor's crap. And I also like that she's not in love with The Doctor like the other two. Which makes the end of season 4 so much better because if Martha was still the companion she wouldn't be happy about Rose coming back, but Donna is super happy and excited for both of them.

Aside from the characters, the rest of the show is kind of weird and slightly confusing (there's an adult talking about how when he was a kid he saw the doctor and they show Ten and I think "but wait, he's only been The Doctor for two years, he couldn't mind". You don't apply logic to Who) and mildly creepy. The pig men creeped me out, the Daleks and Cybermen scared me, and so did the Angels. I am a self proclaimed "chicken shit" so that's not at all surprising. Basically the only reasons I'm sticking it out is that I've heard very good things, the characters and the writing.

There are some hilarious lines. Sometimes they're only really funny if you know some background information (liked the Shakespeare episode, when they mention Harry Potter and the Doctor says "wait till you read the 7th book, oh I cried" well, this episode was released a month before the book). I just applaud the writers of Doctor Who.

Cute fan art of the "oh I cried" mention
It's also fun to play name that actor. It seems Britain reuses a lot of actors in their shows and movies. So far I've recognized Mycroft from Sherlock, Myrtle and Barty Crouch Sr (battling his son, no less) from Harry Potter, Simon Pegg, Giles from Buffy, and one guy who has been in 33 different episodes as approximately the same number of characters. Also, the Twelfth Doctor is in a previous episodes. And these are only the ones I recognized off hand and that I can remember.

Overall it's a great show and I look forward to watching the rest. Unfortunately I think Netflix only currently goes up to season 7, episode 6. So it may take me a while to actually finish the series.

And because I know people always want to know, Ten might be my favourite (obviously I haven't gotten to Eleven yet) but I feel like I will always have a fondness for Nine.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Happy 1st Birthday to My Blog!

One year ago today marks my first blog post. Which seems kind of crazy. I don't think I've posted quite as much as I would have liked, but I have more than 52 posts so I averaged at least more than one a week. So that's a start. 

Hopefully the next year holds more misadventures to blog about. My plan is to read more, paint more nails and watch more movies. Which doesn't seem too difficult. I also need to finish writing posts sooner than I have been. I slack and it takes me over a week to write things. 

I don't really have much else to say, just thank you for taking time to read my blog over th past year. :)

I look forward to sharing many more misadventures with you. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Mini Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I actually got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier the first week it came out! So exciting. Unfortunately the only option was to go see it in 3D, so I sucked it up and went (because I don't want to have to wait until it's released on DVD). We went to the early showing, which I have not gone to in ages, because we went to buy our tickets for the 7:30 showing and then just decided that since we were there we might as well just watch it then.

Two years after the disastrous events in The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) lives in Washington D.C., struggling to embrace and adapt to modern society. When a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is murdered, Steve must team up with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), a.k.a. Black Widow, to uncover the assailant's plan, while also battling a threat from his past: the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) from Soviet Russia.
I greatly enjoyed this movie. And Josh didn't seem to have anything to complain about either, so good job to Marvel. I spent at least half the movie laughing, because of lines said by some of the characters. I also liked that there were familiar faces from previous Marvel movies (Fury, Agent Hill, Black Widow) as well as new characters (Falcon, Agent 13).

 It shows quite a bit of Steve's past, which fits in with who the Winter Soldier really is. (The part when he finds out who it is makes me really sad). It also shows that he still has a lot of adapting and learning to do. Even though it's been over 2 years since he's been brought back, he's still having a hard time adjusting. I think it's adorable that he has a little book of things that he needs to learn (mostly pop culture, things to read or watch). There's also an exhibit about him and his life at the Smithsonian (which I cracked up when I saw, not totally sure why I thought it was so funny), but I would actually love to be able to go visit it.

I love that Black Widow got to be a part of this movie, so far she's only gotten supporting roles in 2 other than The Avengers, but it's better than nothing. I'm actually trying to recall if they even call her Black Widow in the movie. If they do, it's not often. I also like that you get to see Natasha and Steve as "normal" people, when they're trying to stay below the radar. And if you look closely at Natasha's necklace, it's an arrow, which is cute because (I assume) it's from Hawkeye.

If you've never seen the first Captain America or The Avengers, the plot will be a tad confusing, but not so much that you would be totally lost and wouldn't enjoy it. Make sure to stay all the way to the end, as usual. There are 2 credit scenes, one comes after the first little run of end credits and then there's another one at the very end. The first preludes the next Avengers and the one at the very end made me kind of sad (though Josh was excited because "he knew it!" lol). I will definitely be buying this and adding it to my Marvel collection (Josh will be so proud haha), and I would recommend this to anyone, even if they're not a Marvel fan. If you like action movies, you'll enjoy this.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Upcoming April Movie Releases

It's that time again. Time to get ready for this month's movie releases. Not a whole lot happening again this month, but there is at least one big theatre release that I'm super excited for!

Starting with DVD releases, April 8 is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

 In the second film of The Hobbit trilogy, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) continues his journey with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.  
When Gandalf leaves the Dwarves to go on a mission of his own, they're attacked by Orcs, then by giant spiders in the cursed forest. Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) bring them to King Thranduil (Lee Pace), who imprisons them.  
Meanwhile, Bilbo, who wasn't captured, works to get them free. With the help of Bard (Luke Evans), the Dwarves arm themselves and set out to confront the Dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch).
To be honest it took me forever to get around to watching the first Hobbit movie. It wasn't that I didn't want to watch it, I just wasn't sure how much I'd like it and it wasn't tops on my list. I'm glad I did though, because I enjoyed it and it was pretty funny. Martin Freeman is awesome. I'm kind of sad I didn't get a chance to see Desolation of Smaug in theatres, but I will definitely be watching this one after its DVD release and then hopefully will get to see The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 17, 2014) in theatres.

Being released April 29 is The Legend of Hercules

In Ancient Greece 1200 BC, a queen succumbs to the lust of Zeus to bear a son promised to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the king and restore peace to a land in hardship. But this prince, Hercules (Kellan Lutz), knows nothing of his real identity or his destiny. He desires only one thing: the love of Hebe, Princess of Crete, who has been promised to his own brother. 
Because of his love for Hebe, he is betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and sold into slavery. Hercules must use his powers to fight his way back through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches in an effort to overthrow the King and restore peace to the kingdom.

 I didn't see this one in theatres, so I'm not sure when I'll be watching it. But the story seemed mildly interesting, and hello Kellan Lutz as Hercules. Who can say no to that? Haha.

Also, supposedly being released today, April 1, is The Pirate Fairy, however the only place I can find that is IMDB and it says it's the American DVD release date, and it's been released quite a few places already in February and March. I'm a tad confused, as I'm pretty sure I've seen commercials saying it's being released today, but I don't know why none of the DVD release websites say it.

When a misunderstood dust-keeper fairy named Zarina steals Pixie Hollow's all-important Blue Pixie Dust, and flies away to join forces with the pirates of Skull Rock, Tinker Bell and her fairy friends must embark on the adventure of a lifetime to return it to its rightful place. However, in the midst of their pursuit of Zarina, Tink's world is turned upside down. She and her friends find that their respective talents have been switched and they have to race against time to retrieve the Blue Pixie Dust and return home to save Pixie Hollow.

In case you don't already know, I love Tinkerbell. It's actually a tad pathetic how many little Tink trinkets, Tinkets! haha! sorry, I have. So I basically don't even care what this movie is about, I will be buying it anyways. Also, Tom Hiddleston (for those of you who don't know, he plays Loki in the Marvel universe) voices one of the pirates. And he sings!   

Update: The Pirate Fairy has in fact been released today, and I bought it.

Now onto theatre releases.

Starting with Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4

Two years after the disastrous events in The Avengers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) lives in Washington D.C., struggling to embrace and adapt to modern society. When a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is murdered, Steve must team up with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), a.k.a. Black Widow, to uncover the assailant’s plan while also battling a threat from his past: the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) from Soviet Russia.

A new Marvel movie! That's pretty much all you have to say for me to go see it. Unfortunately I won't be able to see it opening weekend, as I have to work, but hopefully I'll get to go within the first week or so.

And that's apparently it. That's unfortunate. Oh well, that just means I can save some money :) Stay tuned for next month's releases.