Updates and Thoughts

Although I should be working on finishing my Geography lab that’s due tomorrow so that I can go see the Hunger Games this evening, all I can think of it how I just want to write something non-academic, just even for a few minutes!

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to meet the students that will be going to Guatemala with me, as well as the professor leading the trip and students that went last year. That definitely renewed my excitement, I’ve found myself googling everything and everything to do with planning and travelling, and even a little bit restless.

With only two weeks left of classes, and two weeks of exams, I keep finding myself shocked everyday when I see my countdown to the end of the year getting shorter and shorter. Last week we had some absolutely fantastic weather, with a temperature of up at 28˚C, and it made the summer just seem so close and attainable. I’ve been applying for jobs and writing cover letters like crazy, but am mostly looking forward, first and foremost, to my trip to Chicago to visit a friend at the end of April. I haven’t ever planned a trip on my own before, and this is just the greatest. I’m looking forward to living a real-life version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off every day, because that is completely realistic.

I think I’m just at the point where I have a lot of exiting things to look forward to in the near and far future, as well as some pretty outstanding people to spend some time with. And I’m ready to buckle down and get the rest of my assignments and exams out of the way so I can reach them!

Here’s to the last few weeks.

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Excitement!

Okay, can we pause for a moment and take in how EXCITING this day has been for me?!

I applied almost two months ago to go on a semester abroad through my University in Guatemala (think: living with a host family, learning Spanish, traveling there with with a group of ~20 students from my University, etc. etc.).

Today I found out that I was accepted! I am just ecstatic, and so unbelievably excited for next January, when I’ll be going!

I know that in a matter of time (days? weeks? months?) I will start freaking out…Living with a host family? Living in a developing country? Being taught some courses by Guatemalan professors? And the organizing will cause headaches (visas, immunizations, flight plans). Additionally, this will only further complicate/provide further challenges for my already long-distance relationship (assuming I’m still in one next year!). Domestic long-distance will become international long-distance…oh, the joys of being young!

Nonetheless, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I am so grateful for it! I will keep updating as things progress!


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Academy Awards: Final Thoughts

Okay, so I definitely didn’t end up watching every movie nominated for Best Picture. Why? I realized I didn’t really want to in reality. Maybe another time? We’ll see.

I did end up watching Moneyball, which was surprisingly good. The ones I didn’t watch? War Horse, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Hugo and The Tree of Life. I can live with that.

Before I get down to business and name a few predictions, I have to say that when I am (most likely) proven wrong in these guesses, it’s usually because I always vote on who I wish would win, rather than who I think was the most cinematically the best choice.

That being said, let’s proceed.

Actor in a Leading Role: This one is really, really tricky. I want to say Gary Oldman, because I love him. But Jean Dujardin did an amazing job in the artist. George Clooney was fantastic as well, and I was impressed with Brad Pitt. Going with my gut instinct, I’m going to say Gary Oldman.

Actress in a Leading Role: So I’ve actually only seen one movie listed in this category (the Help). I’m intimidated by the number of nominations that Albert Nobbs got, so that may have a fair chance (hey, maybe it’s really good!). I heard from my parents that Meryl Streep was fantastic, from a friend that Michelle Williams was great, but I’m intrigued by Rooney Mara…Anyways, I might go with a safe bet and say Meryl Streep. Or Michelle Williams. I can’t decide!

Actor in a Supporting Role: Okay, this one is even trickier because I have once again only seen one movie (Moneyball) in this category, and I really don’t think Jonah Hill will win, although he was great. I’m going to go right ahead and vote with my love for Harry Potter and say Kenneth Branagh.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Only one movie here that I haven’t seen! Yay! Bérénice Bejo was great in the Artist, I don’t really think anyone from the Help will win (just in comparison to the others), Melissa McCarthy, although I’m so pleased she was nominated, will not win…I think that brings it down to The Artist vs. Albert Nobbs (the ever so mysterious Albert Nobbs! It’s in every freaking category except Best Picture). Gonna go ahead and say Bérénice Bejo.

Animated Feature Film: Rango.

Directing: I’m only saying Woody Allen because I’m obsessed (read: in love) with him.

Original Screenplay: Let’s go with Midnight in Paris (see above reasoning), although I would faint with happiness if Bridesmaids won.

Best Picture: I’m still so conflicted! And haven’t watched all the movies! Although the Artist was really cool, I don’t think it deserves to win. If life were fair, Midnight in Paris would win, because it was my favourite of them all. It’s really anyone’s game, though.

Other Thoughts: I hope John Williams wins best original score, and that Harry Potter wins in every category (3 of them!) that it’s nominated for.

Oh dear, I really do bring too much personal bias into my predictions…

Happy viewing!

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The Oscars

I’ve been on my reading week (or, “winter break”) for four days now, and so far I feel like I haven’t been living up to what I had imagined I would accomplish. I did set a fun goal to accomplish this week, however, which is to watch all of the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year. Both my brother and I share this goal, but after a discussion today, I’m not so sure I even really want to watch them all!

Here’s a list of all the movies nominated: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and War Horse.

My first thought when seeing this list was “Okay, i really don’t want to watch Warhorse…”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a great film, but why should I force myself to watch something just so I can say that I’ve seen it?

I’ll give a general run-down of what my thoughts on the other films I’ve watched so far are, as well as some added commentary from my brother:

1. The Artist: I watched this last night. What makes this movie unique is that it is a black and white silent film, which is coincidentally about a silent film actor in the late 1920s. There’s some great music, and the actors really had to give their all in order to make a full-length movie with no spoken dialogue compelling. However, while the general art of it was great, the plot was…dull. Predictable. Nothing special. I think the actors deserve awards, but definitely not the script or “best movie” status.

2. The Descendants: I watched this one last week, and loved it. Kind of a bittersweet tale. Set in Hawaii, starring George Clooney (I’m already intrigued), and is just a really interesting, compelling story that hooks you right from the start (yes, really). Definitely recommended.

3. The Help: Possibly the most popular one on the list, I actually didn’t watch this one until tonight. It was great! Easy to understand, great story, excellent acting, and one of those movies that just makes you feel motivated and thankful. Probably not best picture material, but definitely enjoyable.

4. Midnight in Paris: I LOVED this one. Definitely my favourite nominated movie in this category. I saw it in theatres, and watched it once again over Christmas break. The imaginative plot is absolutely incredible, the acting is brilliant, and the story is quirky, funny, intriguing, and captivating. Nothing else to say but high fives forever to Woody Allen.

That’s the extent of my viewing thus far! Tomorrow night I have Moneyball lined up (as my brother said it was also one of his top favourites he’s watched).

In terms of further commentary from the brother, apparently Hugo is a good film, but definitely not going to win (or so he says…). Only watch if you really want to see it, not if you’re just wanting to check it off a list (like me…whoops!). I’ve heard mixed things about The Tree of Life…most people I’ve seen coming out of the theatre have just commented “that was really weird!” or “I’m still confused”, so we’ll have to see about that one..

And War Horse…I really just don’t think I can do it. I’d rather watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which is nominated in a few other categories)!

I’m excited to see who gets those coveted Oscars on Sunday night, and crossing my fingers for Harry Potter!

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Happy Valentines Day!

In honour of Valentines Day, I’d like to make a toast to two photos that made me smile today, and realize that your Valentines don’t always have to be people…what about hilarious memes and/or cities?

Who doesn’t love a little bit of Ryan on a day devoted to love, chocolate and romantic movies?

I’ll be watching The Notebook tonight, soaking up every last bit of this gloriousness.

I know you want more, so check out the amazing Vegan Ryan Gosling tumblr.

I love and miss my city, not just because that’s where my Valentine happens to live while I am across the country, but I miss the ocean, the mountains, the trees, and the glorious Vancouver atmosphere.

Happy Valentines Day!

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Goodbye

Friends, it all ends tonight at midnight.

I haven’t mentioned on this blog before, but I am one of those die-hard HP fans you warn your children about. Well, I’m more quiet about it. I don’t wear my wizard robes in public (unless it’s for a Harry Potter movie or event), but I am a long-time Mugglenet-account-owning, midnight-movie-release-attending, book-hugging Harry Potter fan. Like many in my generation, I grew up with these books, starting when I was seven years old. I begged my grade three teacher to read the first book to our class during reading time because I needed the world to hear it. I read the books more times than I can possibly keep track of, have the autographs of many of the actors, have danced at Harry and the Potters concerts and have loved every minute of this fandom.

Tonight, at the midnight release of the final movie of the series, I say goodbye to a defining part of my generation and my life. Although I am clearly heartbroken and know I will be sobbing my way through the movie, the words of JK Rowling at the London Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 strike a brave truth in my mind:

“No story lives unless someone wants to listen…The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” – JK Rowling

Let’s go out with a bang, HP fans!

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Summer Lovin’

Guys! How were your weekends? I’ve had such an amazing last week and can’t wait to share with you some photos I’ve taken of my travels and experiences.

I started out the long weekend in Portland, Oregon for the Waterfront Blues Festival. Portland has always been one of my favourite cities!

The festival is right on the Willamette River, with three stages of amazing music. Headliners this year included Buddy Guy and Lucinda Williams (and what a great deal for only $35 for a 4-day pass, with all money going to the Oregon Food Bank!).

We drove through Oregon, heading to Bend (which we all thought was a pretty cool name) and loved the gorgeous desert landscapes.
This past weekend, Vancouver held an amazing free festival in Stanley Park with incredible local artists in celebration of Vancouver’s 125th Birthday. I took these photo of Coal Harbour while walking along the Sea Wall heading to Stanley Park.

Thousands of Vancouverites showed up for the Friday night opening acts of Daniel Wesley and Mother Mother. Both shows were amazing, the park was gorgeous and the vibe was so lovely.

I returned to the festival on Saturday to check out the New Pornographers and Said the Whale. The above photo is of the amazing Said the Whale, who I definitely recommend checking out! 

I took a break from some music to go for a walk out to the water with my boyfriend to watch the sunset on Sunday evening.

The weekend ended with some great performances by Aidan Knight, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, We Are the City, Hey Ocean! and Dan Mangan (who played a fantastic 2 hour set that involved welcoming fans onstage, getting the mayor of Vancouver up on the mic to sing Happy Birthday to Vancouver, releasing giant glowing bouncy balls into the crowds and some seriously rocking tunes.

I’m definitely looking forward to even more amazing events and festivals that will take place this summer. With only a little over a month left until I leave this gorgeous city to head back to school, I need to start concentrating on checking off items on my Summer to-do list!

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