January 10th, 2008


He took the golden compasses, prepared in God's eternal store

I thought I should see The Golden Compass before it left theaters, and considering how few showtimes it now has, that will probably be happening soon. So I caught a matinée on Tuesday. There were a maximum of five other people in the theater with me, but one or two of them kept moving around. Anyway, I actually quite liked the movie. Sometimes I think the best way to enjoy these book-based movies is to have read the book, but not all that recently. That way, you can appreciate how they show the stuff you remember from the book, but you're not bothered as much by the stuff they left out. I could tell that the ending was different, even though I can't quite remember how the book ended. There was some kind of conversation between Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter pretty close to the end, wasn't there? That wasn't in the film. And there was another significant development that I'd forgotten about but have since seen mentioned in reviews, which I'm assuming will be in the next film, if there is one. Otherwise, though, I found it appealing both in terms of visuals (the daemons and bears looked great) and acting. Incidentally, I only recently learned that the book is called Northern Lights in the United Kingdom. So apparently we Americans not only don't know what a Philosopher's Stone is, but also haven't heard of Aurora Borealis.

I was hoping for a Prince Caspian trailer, since I'd heard that other people had seen one before The Golden Compass (despite the fact that Philip Pullman is vocal about his hatred of the Chronicles of Narnia), but no such luck. Well, the previews were already in progress when I got to the theater, so maybe I just missed it. What I did see were previews for a terrible-looking Will Ferrell basketball movie, and a few films based on books I've never read. I did find it interesting that the Inkheart preview included someone reading from The Wizard of Oz and a cameo appearance by Toto, though. Another preview was for the Horton Hears a Who! movie, and while I have to say that it doesn't look bad visually, I have to reiterate my question about why casting directors think Jim Carrey is ideal for Dr. Seuss stories. I did like the appearance by Vlad Vlad-i-koff, whom I believe is being voiced by Will Arnett.

After the movie, I noticed a car in the parking lot with "no spin" and "don't be a pinhead" bumper stickers, which I found amusing and disturbing at the same time. Then I went to GameStop and bought a copy of Final Fantasy III. While I was there, I overheard some kids talking to the clerk, and all of them seemed to have pretty much every recent video game system. Where do they find the money? Also, they had some special edition strategy guides that were wrapped up, so I'm not exactly sure what was special about them. I kind of think that the Internet has made video game strategy guides more or less obsolete. But then, some people say the same thing about CD's, and I don't agree. I can remember getting and reading the Nintendo Power guides to Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original Final Fantasy before I even had the games, but nowadays you can get a lot of that same stuff from websites like Game FAQs. I guess they don't have all the screenshots, though, so that's an advantage of paper guides.

Later, I went to Target, and then pick up bethje from work. On my way to the latter, I noticed that the same O'Reilly fan who had been at the movies was right in front of me for a while, which was pretty bizarre. Anyway, Beth and I met my mom, my brother, and his girlfriend at Applebee's, and we finally exchanged Christmas presents. I am now a few gift cards, a book on the Bible as history, and a DVD set of the BBC's productions of the Chronicles of Narnia richer. At Applebee's, I had the fried shrimp, which was quite tasty. I had actually been wanting shrimp, but my mom didn't like my initial suggestion of Red Lobster, so I guess you could say Applebee's was a good compromise.

Someday that ant will grow up to be President

Here are the results of a political quiz that a whole bunch of other people on my friends list did:

89% Barack Obama
87% John Edwards
86% Chris Dodd
85% Dennis Kucinich
85% Mike Gravel
84% Hillary Clinton
83% Bill Richardson
80% Joe Biden
43% Rudy Giuliani
31% John McCain
26% Mike Huckabee
25% Mitt Romney
23% Ron Paul
21% Tom Tancredo
15% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Kind of weird, since I usually get Kucinich at the top of these things. You never know exactly how these things work, though, and there are a lot of issues that are more complicated than brief online quizzes make them out to be. I didn't think either of the options on the gun control question really reflected my position on the issue, for instance. From what I've heard them say, Kucinich is the most reflective of my own positions, although I think Edwards might actually come closer than Obama. I haven't been watching many of the candidates' recent speeches, but bethje was talking about how Edwards has said more on economic disparity than the others, and I think that's one of the most important issues. Really, I could do with less "hey, America's great" speeches candidates on both parties. Still, I don't think there are any Democratic candidates I specifically DON'T want in the running, although I think Hillary is too far to the right on some things.

As far as the Republicans go, Giuliani always seems to be the one who's always at the top of the heap with these quiz results (which still places him below every Democrat), yet he's also the one who personally annoys me the most, so I was pleased by his rather pathetic showing in the New Hampshire primary. Of course, that's New Hampshire, and there's no telling how he'll fare in other states. If I had to choose a Republican candidate, I'd probably have to go with McCain. He's been guilty of some of the same sudden changes of position to appease far-right voters as Giuliani, but he has the major advantages of: 1) not constantly milking a national tragedy, and 2) at least appearing to be someone you could reason with, while Giuliani comes across as an irrational hothead. I appreciate Ron Paul's candor, but some of his libertarian beliefs are just too radical for my tastes. Huckabee's distaste for the separation of church and state doesn't sit too well with me, and as for Romney...sorry, but no, freedom doesn't require religion.