Friday, September 23, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife

Oh, adult novels.  Will they ever be able to redeem themselves in my eyes?  I'm not sure they will.  There are so many things I loved about this book, namely the writing.  Audrey Niffenegger's diction is fabulous and captivating.  The story completely draws you in, and the literary snippets she continuously throws in helps us figure out the characters, their personalities, their passions.  She's really a wonderful writer, and this story was intoxicating.

But there was just too much sex.

Again, one of those books that I cannot, in good conscious, recommend reading.  That makes me so sad.  It's a pity when a book is something you can't share.

In case you don't know, The Time Traveler's Wife is about a man who time travels, and his wife.  Self-explanatory, right?  What I love about this particular science fiction story, however, is not the science fiction.  It's a story about two people having normal, real-life problems and situations in an unnatural setting.  Clare has known Henry since she was precisely six years old, but Henry bet Clare for the first time when he was twenty-eight.  It was never a question to her that they would end up together, and so they do.

I watched the movie again after reading this book, and was very disappointed.  It was very well-done.  The cinematography was great, but the character development was all but non-existant.  Clare's character is completely different in the movie than she is in the book.  So many things are left unexplained... ugh.

Overall, disappointed with both.  Too bad.

What've I done?

I had the opportunity to look at some really old pictures of mine recently, and was shocked at the difference between then and now.  Mostly I'm sad.
I've sense learned some technical things about my camera, cameras in general.  I've learned that rule-of-thirds shots are more aesthetically pleasing than stuff right smack-dab in the middle.
(2010, film)
I look at these pictures and think, "Why did I ever think I needed photoshop?"  Photoshop is a wonderful thing.  It provides an opportunity to do things with photos that you can't with the camera, but sometimes pictures are just beautiful anyway.
My question now is, "Do I want to do those things?"
I think its all deviantArt's fault.  There are so many beautiful pictures there that are very hyper-saturated, and I wanted to duplicate that.  I wanted my blues to be so blue that your eyes water.  I wanted my yellows to be yellow-brick-road.
I think I want to go back.  Back to the originals.  Back to just taking good pictures, and only editing them when I need to.  I want to get back those pictures that I took and immediately loved.

I'm not saying that I hate what I do now.  I just want to be better.  I want to take my style back, instead of trying to make my pictures look like all the thousands of others I've seen.

I'm going back to the beginning.

(2006, film)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Testimony

Today I realized that I have not shared my testimony with my friends enough.

It becomes easy, I think, when you live, work, and go to school among so many members of the church, you sometimes become a little less vocal about your beliefs.  In my case, I'm not so sure I was ever so vocal about them in the first place.  If I were to die tomorrow, what would my friends say about me?  That I loved photography?  That I was a writer?  That I was obsessed with Batman?  Flattering--but I hope not.

I hope that if my friends and family could remember one thing I've ever said, one thing that is completely important to me, that it would be this: I know, without any particle of doubt in my being, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of my Heavenly Father.  I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.  He translated the Book of Mormon--another testament of Jesus Christ--and every word of that book is true.  I know that because of my Savior's perfect life, and sacrifice, I can repent of my sins and one day live with my Heavenly Father, with all of my family.  My family is forever, and I shall never be separated from them, even in death.  I know that because of this church, I am happy.  I am so much happier than I could ever hope to be without it, because I know that my God loves me.  He knows me, knows my name, hears every prayer, sees every event.  He has a plan specifically for me, and He wants me to live with Him again.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is His true prophet on the earth today.  Revelation still comes to us through prophets, like it did in the times of Moses, Abraham, and Elijah.

I know that He loves me, even though I am not perfect.

"I know."  What wonderful words to be able to say in such a confusing world.  What a wonderful expression of certainty in my life!

I think that some people consider religion to be an anecdote to a person's life, unless they're the Pope.  For me, I hope it is front and center: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have no doubt of its truth.  I have no doubt that I am on the right path.  I know these things as sure as I know that I love my family, and they love me.

I love this church and I love my Heavenly Father.  I love the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and I love Joseph Smith.  I love that I have the scriptures available to me, and that they contain the true gospel.

"I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it."

I want to leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Way of Kings

One month.  That is how long it took me to read this monster of a book.  It is also how long it took me to realize, once and for all, that Brandon Sanderson is the greatest author of today.  I cannot begin to express in coherent words how spectacular his work is, but I will try to at least show you a sliver of the greatness of this one book.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is more than daunting, with 1001 pages of story, followed by an Ars Arcanum, and a note from the author.  Additionally, it is only the first book in The Stormlight Archive.  There is no word on when the next book will be out, but I can promise you I'll be one of the first in line to purchase it.  On his website, he says this book is a basically a dip-of-the-toes into this fascinating world, called Roshar.  That's hard for me to process, as there was plenty of magic, religion, war, and history in this tome.  His writing is styled in a way that it slowly reveals the answer to every question.  There's no volley of information in which you lose eighty percent of the details.  It is well-thought out, completely creative, and told in a way lets you enjoy the story just as much as the mythology, the intrigue, and the individual characters.

I would love to give you a synopsis, but it would take a couple thousand words to do it justice.  I don't really have the time for that, and I doubt you would have the time for reading my mundane summary.  However, I'll tell you that it is very basically about a war, and a coming war that is said to wipe out the entire world.

The three main characters are incredibly deep, and very entertaining.  Sanderson's ability to constantly create, create, create is a never-ending amazement to me.  All of his worlds are so different, but detailed!

Perhaps my excitement over this soon-to-be series should be taken with a grain of salt, seeing as its the only epic fantasy I've ever delved into.  Sadly, the only thing I have to compare it to is Harry Potter, which it surpases in complexity and creativity.  (Did you ever think such a thing was possible?  Believe me, I never even considered it.)  One month ago, I'd have told you that Harry Potter could never be surpassed in the world of fantasy.  I stand corrected.

Go and read this book!