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Sasha Walton's Journal

23rd July, 2007. 10:04 pm. When in..

..Cardiff, upload the photographs you took on your holiday in the capital of Italy.

It was fun, albeit busy, and a lot of the time was spent avoiding being run over by vespas. We mostly looked at Roman stuff  (one time period is enough for a four day vacation, and roman things are cooler anyway), but there are a few little bits of renaissance things here and there just because there's so much of it everywhere.

Here are some photographs from the plane:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/sets/72157600960723318/

and here's the Rome gallery:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/sets/72157600872060943/

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18th July, 2007. 10:07 am. Llandaff Cathedral

It seems that everywhere I go on my holidays, there's a Celtic cross just around the corner. This was true not only near Carew Castle, but now inside Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff as well. I'm going to be worried if this trend continues when I'm in Rome (leaving in a few hours!).

The Cathedral was nicely gothic, with all the requisite gargoyles and buttresses. Funnily enough, the modern wing of the cathedral, added just  after the second world war, was in the worst condition. We were kindly informed by one of the clergyman that we should refrain from entering that area because it was falling down and dangerous. A look through the doorway confirmed this fact, with lengthy metal poles supporting the walls and ceiling. I probably wouldn't mind if it fell down, it is by far the ugliest part of the cathedral from both inside and out, they didn't make much of an effort to match the style of the cathedral or even line up the roof with the older parts.

I took a few photos of the cathedral, and some of the more interesting details. I left out the giant metal Jesus that looms over the interior of the cathedral, I don't approve.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/sets/72157600872060943/

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17th July, 2007. 9:24 am. Trip to Carew Castle

If there's one thing Canada seriously lacks, it's castles. That's why I have to make sure to visit as many as possible during the month I'm in Britain. The first is Carew castle, a castle built in a place that's been fortified by different people since the Celts. The castle was first built by the Normans, but was later turned into a country house in Elizabethan times. All of the window frames in the castle are much newer, Elizabethan additions and they stand out interestingly, especially since they're made of a different type of stone.

Some photographs:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/835820208/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/835729182/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/835820224/

This is the Carew Cross, found nearby.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/835800688/

Some Sheep found nearby:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10230147@N08/835820270/

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7th September, 2005. 4:40 pm. Some more book reviews

Dark Places
By Jon Evans

Dark Places is a mystery/thriller set in a variety of different locations. The beginning is set on the Annapurna Trail, where the backpacker Paul Wood finds the body of another backpacker in a deserted ruin. The strange thing about the body though is that the corpse has two swiss army-knives stuck through his eyes, just like Paul's girfriend Laura had when he found her murdered two years earlier. Paul begins a hunt to find the murderer of the backpacker and find out if the two murders are connected. Telling any more of the plot of this novel would be a definite spoiler, there are so many well-paced events crammed into this book that practically saying what happened on the next page would be a spoiler.

The characters are very beleivable as real people, and react in beleivable ways to the situations that arise. The plot is well thought out and the pacing is brilliant! There's never a dull moment in the novel, some.moments leave you hyperventilating, it's that intense and well thought out.

One of the things I found most amazing about Dark Places was the amount of detail Jon has put in to describing the different cultures and locations Paul comes across in his travels. It's very educational in that respect

I enjoyed Dark Places a lot, and I reccomend others read it as well


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
By J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was quite a good book, I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than I did its predecessor, due to the fact that Harry seemed to be acting a lot more responsible and less moody than he was in book five. I enjoyed the story, although the focus was a little less on school life than it normally was, I can't really discuss the book without giving major spoilers. I was not surprised to disover who it was that died though, but I thought the fact revealed about Snape was a bad decision to make on J.K. Rowling's part. I enjoyed the excitement and usual wizardly stuff during the book and will definitely buy the last book in the series when it comes out.

The Color of Distance
By Amy Thompson

The Color of Distance is an amazing novel. It is about a woman being stranded on an alien world, where she is allergic to the enviroment. The sentient aliens on the planet use a biological talent they have to engineer her so that she can live on the planet and breathe in its atmosphere. The aliens are biological geniuses that way but live in a pre medeival society in a rainforest, but they seem so alien that a pre-medeival society is something they need never advance from. The aliens are the best aliens I have ever read a novel about, they are so different from humans in every respect, which most Science Fiction authors cannot do all that well. The story is good, and the level of detail the author uses keeps you immersed in the book is incredible. I reccomend that everyone who likes aliens should read it

Current mood: okay.

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7th July, 2005. 9:19 am. Some more film reviews

Films:

The War of the Worlds
This adatation is as close to the novel as it could to be judging the different setting. The original book takes place in 19th Century England, whereas the film is set in Modern America. The protagonist is landed looking after his son and daughter while his divorced wife goes on vacation. Unfortunately they stayed with him at the wrong time. The film starts off with the voiceover from the original, with changed dates of course: "In the first years of the twentyfirst century...", it shows it really quite well. For some reason they decided to change the original "Pod from the sky" idea to be that the tripods had been buried there for millions of years and that the martians were beamed down through lightning on the day the attacks started. The tripods are superbly done as is the general story structure, it's true to the original and hasn't been Hollywoodized as you would've thought a Steven Speilberg film would be. Dakota fanning is a remarkable actor as usual, she is in the role of Rachel, the daughter of the protagonist, played by Tom Cruise. I loved this film, it's definitely one of the best disaster films that's come out for a while. Much better than The day after tomorrow

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
There seem to be a spree of films that are almost but not quite entirely unlike the original book. War of The Worlds, this, Howl's Moving Castle. I think it's best to consider this not a film version of the book, but another adaptation, in the same way there were two different radio versions that are different from the novel. The basic storyline is the same, but the film ends way before the events in the book had really even got started. That's a good thing really since the film was already two hours long and had enough sillyness in it.

I liked most of the characters, Marvin isn't how I pictured him but that's not a big problem. I liked the Zaphod I think they got him right, though
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Films:

<b>The War of the Worlds</b>
This adatation is as close to the novel as it could to be judging the different setting. The original book takes place in 19th Century England, whereas the film is set in Modern America. The protagonist is landed looking after his son and daughter while his divorced wife goes on vacation. Unfortunately they stayed with him at the wrong time. The film starts off with the voiceover from the original, with changed dates of course: "<i>In the first years of the twentyfirst century...</i>", it shows it really quite well. For some reason they decided to change the original "Pod from the sky" idea to be that the tripods had been buried there for millions of years and that the martians were beamed down through lightning on the day the attacks started. The tripods are superbly done as is the general story structure, it's true to the original and hasn't been Hollywoodized as you would've thought a Steven Speilberg film would be. Dakota fanning is a remarkable actor as usual, she is in the role of Rachel, the daughter of the protagonist, played by Tom Cruise. I loved this film, it's definitely one of the best disaster films that's come out for a while. Much better than <b>The day after tomorrow</b>

<B>The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy</b>
There seem to be a spree of films that are almost but not quite entirely unlike the original book. War of The Worlds, this, Howl's Moving Castle. I think it's best to consider this not a film version of the book, but another adaptation, in the same way there were two different radio versions that are different from the novel. The basic storyline is the same, but the film ends way before the events in the book had really even got started. That's a good thing really since the film was already two hours long and had enough sillyness in it.

I liked most of the characters, Marvin isn't how I pictured him but that's not a big problem. I liked the Zaphod I think they got him right, though <lj-user="Papersky"> disagrees. The vogons are great, and so is the Guide itself. If you are the kind of fan who screams if even ONE word has been changed from the original then you will hate this, otherwise I highly recommend it!

Oh, and the song at the beginning is really really great, it should get an Oscar for best Film music

<b>Batman Begins</b>
I don't know much about the original Batman comics to know how good an adaptation this is, but rysmiel says that it was very true to the spirit of the Batman legacy. Unlike previous films such as Batman and Robin and the batman TV show. Personally, I liked it; a lot. It had a good storyline, believable characters, GREAT acting, and, always a bonus: Liam Neeson. The directing was good too, the scenes were very well put together and looked great. I recomend this film

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23rd June, 2005. 11:03 am. Another Film......The Interpreter

The Interpreter

A great thriller that follows in the footsteps of....well I haven't seen any revolutionary thrillers to compare it to but lets just say it was excellent.

The film is about an African ex-liberator (now tyrant) who has killed hundreds of innocent african people for no reason called President Zuweni. He is coming to the United Nations in a week to talk in front of the assembly. But when an interpreter goes into her soundbooth to fetch her things she hears whispering on the microphone, she listens to it to hear two voices speaking in a strange african dialect called Ku (which she understands) about assasinating Zuweni. Did she misunderstand the voices? Is it all a setup? Is she lying? These are the problems the secret service have to deal with in the week before Zuweni's arrival.

Lots of tense scenes but it's great, parental advisory: A tall man with a huge hat may sit in front of you and block your view so watch out!

A must see!

You....must....see!

Current mood: bouncy.

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22nd June, 2005. 12:23 pm. Film: Idole Instantee --- Parental Advisory WARNING: French Film

I saw another film, and you know what that means, another review!

Idole Instantee

This time it was a French film (with English subtitles) and, as they only do subtitles for films they think people will like; it was good. It was a film about a reality TV show called Idole Instantee where four female singers are chosen from random places in Quebec to enter the contest. The idea of the show was that one of the singers would win and become a star, they would release a best-selling album and get famous. The whole film is about the four women trying to win and having lots of hilarious accidents and doing things.

Doesn't sound too interesting does it, here's the thing that made this film good: All four women were played by the same person!. And she was a great actor too, even thinking about the film now I still picture the four girls as different people. This is a must see if you live in Quebec! (Sorry if you don't)

Current mood: thoughtful.

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21st June, 2005. 12:08 pm. The Fringe Festival.......and a book

Summer again....the time of year when I have to write reviews of films I see and books I read.

First.....The Fringe Festival!
(Sorry about this if it's too long but I forgot how to do cuttags, it's been a while)

Here are reviews of all the Fringe shows I saw last week

Confessions of a Class Clown
Another play by Monster Theatre the company that last year did the hilarious production called "Fringe Show: A Love Story". The play was in monolouge form which was a good choice for the play. The play was the story of the life of Ryan Gladstone up to the point where he begins to enjoy life again after the events of his childhood. In school Ryan was a Class Clown who always misbehaved. He was fueled by the laughter of others. After an expulsion he decided to become a real clown in an attempt to fight a system he had been fighting all his life (The govermental school system).

But when he saw his old schoolfriend, the same age as him, but married with kids he stopped his job as a clown and submitted up to the system.

The acting in the play is good, Ryan Gladstone is good at being funny and that is the role required.

The United States of America Doesn't Exist
In one word: Surreal. This play was put on by a bunch of college students who wanted nothing but to run around the stage making silly jokes and obscure sexual innuendo. There was a Giant Fudgesicle, lots of French people, and a strange guy called President Vlad. You'd have to see it to believe it.

Ariadne's Thread
Probably the best Fringe Show I saw this year was this play. It was set starting in a fishing boat just off the coast of Alaska and then set under the water (literally under the water). A man lives on the fishing ship but can't take it anymore so he jumps off only to wake up under the water. He makes new friends and has lots of fun. Great acting too.

Stand-Up Comedy act
Just a normal stand up comedy act focusing on the comedians journeys to different parts of the world.

Juliet and Romeo
This was another in the line of strange shakespeare adaptations. A version of Romeo and Juliet where the gender roles are reversed. Only 2 actors star in this play, a man playing Juliet and a woman playing Romeo. They play all the other roles as well.

Good use of ladders.

That's it for the Fringe this year. Now onto a novel....

Novel: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

The chrysalids is a great post-apocalyptic novel set in Labrador, one of the places least affected by the strange mutations that plants, animals and people are having all over the world. The characters develope, the plot is exciting and engaging, there are lots of great little details. This is a great, well written novel but I wouldn't want to spoil
it for people who haven't read it.

Current mood: cheerful.

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22nd August, 2004. 10:04 am.

Happy bithday elisem!

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12th January, 2004. 7:29 pm. I'm back!

I haven't posted since the summer and I finally got around to it! My last post was in I think the summer. I have made a new years resolution to post more. I have exams in a week, they crept up on me sooner than I had expected. I have an exam in English, math, french and science. They are wierdly scheduled, the first one 1:00 and the second is 9:00 but at least I get to sleep in a little from my seven o'clock start. I just got hooked by Jim.D.Macdonald and Debra Doyle's mageworlds booksCollapse ) It was minus 23 with windchill making it minus 34 the last couple of days and that is too cold!

Current mood: accomplished.

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