Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

Mindy wanted a new tree this year... a pre-lit tree. Luckily, there was one on sale and she was able to get it for 50% off. As you can see, there was no room under the tree (it touched the floor) but there was plenty of room for presents around it.

The first thing that Alex noticed was the wooden kitchen. Whenever we are up in Pflugerville at Betsy's, he loves to play with it... so we figured 'why not get one ourselves.' As you can see (by this and following photos) it was a hit!

The family unwrapping presents at 7:00 AM.

... Andee likes the kitchen too.

Aaron and Aimee got Nintendo DS Lites for Christmas. Santa brought them each their own (so they can stop borrowing their parents'). Now we can get some 4-player action going on Mario Party DS!

As soon as he unwrapped the apron and hat, he put them on!

Andee found the chocolate that was in her stocking... and everyone elses. Not to mention the apples and oranges and cookies and crackers...

Mindy and the kids - after opening presents.

Mindy got a new DS to replace the old one she busted (and no this isn't part of the "Santa/Nintendo DS Replacement Program").

Andee and Alex got a tent and tunnel system to play in.

Andee enjoying the tunnels...

... but not enjoying her new pajamas that we made her wear for pictures.

Alex got a big alphabet puzzle so that he can work on getting those ABCs down.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Golden Compass

I saw the trailer for this movie about a year ago and it looked like an intriguing fantasy adventure, along the same lines as Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia... but a little more civilized.

I like Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, so I figured it would be a good movie to see this Christmas.

Then about six months later the emails starting rolling in. You know the ones that that I am talking about; "Boycott 'The Golden Compass'"

It's funny how emails like this tend to have different effects on the recipients of these messages. I did read the emails and it became the impetus for me to start to seriously look at the book, author, and plot and why this book/movie would become such a danger that people would actually start a campaign against it.

Reading the cliff notes version of the stories, I really didn't see any harm in the plot or in the way Philip Pullman masks his distaste for the Catholic Church (and maybe organized religion in general), but there are many other texts that treat these subjects the same way. The Bible even eludes to this in Revelations... but not to the same extent.

So, I saw the movie last night and quite enjoyed it. I'm aware that the director (Chris Weitz) softened the story and the references that were more prevalent in the book... but I thought that the movie did a good job with what it had.

One of the undertones that I felt radiated the most from the movie was the idea of one's free agency and how important it is to one's soul. I can agree completely with that. Free agency is the reason that we are here and is what allows us to become who we are. Without that, we are nothing more than soulless beings lumbering about with no direction other than what we are told to do.

In this movie, the Magisterium is out to do just that: separate the children from their daemons (their outer soul in the form of an animal companion).

I find it funny (and at the same time ironic) that there is a campaign that spends more time on asking for a boycott than for an education on the topic and an invitation to exercise your own free agency.

I'm not going to say much more about the movie other than I liked it... but I'm curious as to what was left out or softened.

There is one event that happens at the end of the book that doesn't happen in the first movie, but would open up the next movie and it will cause some to cringe spoiler below (highlight to see it), but they did the same thing with the LOTR series.

Lyra's friend Roger is killed by her uncle as a means of gaining Dust so that a portal can be opened to another world. They are in a remote location and since they are the only people around I can see the reason for the sacrifice, but it wouldn't be a good way to end the movie.

Min reserved the first book for me, and I'll start reading it when it comes in.

I know how the trilogy ends (or rather what the Evangelicals are so miffed about) and I'd like to see what leads up to this choice that the children make to do what they do.

Anyways, I doubt that the sequels will be made. The movie only grossed $26M this weekend and that is far from an automatic greenlight. But I did find out that overseas this movie made $60M overseas (so an $86M world-wide ain't bad).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007