Liebster Award from Nicole

I received a Liebster Award nomination from Nicole! If you’re not familiar with her site, Nicole’s Book Thoughts, head on over and check it out! Nicole reviews a nice variety of books, managing to give key details for those wondering if a book is right for them while still avoiding or clearly marking any major spoilers. You’ll also find fun posts with tags, lists, and general updates about life and reading. I am endlessly impressed with the way she took a school project blog and turned it into this wonderful, personable site. Thank you, Nicole!

liebsteraward

Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to the blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Nominate between 5-11 other bloggers.
  4. Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  5. Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post.

Questions from Nicole:

1. What’s the hardest part about blogging?

It’s always a challenge to keep up a regular schedule. Every time I think I’m getting into the swing of things, other parts of my life flag me down. I am trying a new idea based on a tip from CW at The Quiet Pond, plotting out my ideas further ahead of time. The original tip utilized an organization app for this scheduling, but I’m testing it out with pen and paper to start. Yeah, I’m old-fashioned like that. I’ve learned to keep my plans flexible, but writing down a basic plan does seem to be helping me stay focused.

2. What is your favorite book cover?

That honestly depends on my mood and what books I’ve just discovered. For today, I’m going to say that my favorite cover belongs to Foxfire, Wolfskin, and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women by Sharon Blackie. This is technically two covers in one because I love both versions. One has a blazing fox seemingly circling with a smokey wolf containing a woman’s face. The cyclical, fluid motion and the dance of light with dark are both elements that I frequently enjoy in covers. The second cover has the other set of elements that usually appeal to me, an intricate visual tapestry that teases the content within in a cool palette of silver and blue.

3. Do you prefer movie or TV adaptations?

It seems like I should like TV adaptations best. A show generally has more room to explore and interpret a story than a movie, but that doesn’t always happen. The Dinotopia mini-series is one of my most-hated shows because it threw out most of the best philosophies from the book and replaced them with a shallow YA narrative with adults restricting teens. That’s especially annoying since I loved the YA Dinotopia novels where teens and adults often show a refreshing mutual respect and support for each other. Because I’ve been burned before and because a TV show is a longer commitment, I often hesitate to watch shows based on books I’ve read. I do have several based-on-books shows I love—like Ice Fantasy, TrollHunters: Tales of Arcadia, and Lupin—but I watched them without reading the books first.

I guess that means I prefer movie adaptations, though that’s still a case by case basis. For instance, I was initially annoyed by how much was cut from Lord of the Rings in the movie versions, but I’ve since realized that the parts they cut really made the story more coherent. I never really understood the whole Sharkey bit with Saruman. On the other hand, Ella Enchanted was a decent book that I almost didn’t read because I disliked the movie so much. The movie seemed like it was trying to make some important points, but even the attempted social commentary felt rushed and superficial.

4. Who’s your favorite book character and why?

Hmm, another tough one. Let’s go with A from the Every Day series by David Levithan. A is a being of pure consciousness who wakes up every morning inside a new body, borrowing it for one day. I find it fascinating watching A take on each new life, initially just trying to avoid disrupting it before finding ways to occasionally help their hosts and still live their own unique life. One of the few places A can achieve a consistent identity is online, where the faces behind words are often automatically masked. It makes me think of my own forays into the digital world. A’s hatred of the children’s book The Giving Tree also gave me cause to ponder. I still carry some nostalgia for that book, though I can see A’s point about how it portrays love as endless sacrifice even when the recipient never gives back.

A close second is Diana from Chasing the Moon. Anyone who can find a practical solution to being suddenly immortal and stuck in a room that won’t release them until they let a devouring monster out of a closet deserves my attention. And she’s human enough that she still runs screaming down the street after releasing said monster, before befriending him.

5. Which author have you read the most books by?

I’d say Patricia A. McKillip for adult fiction. I’ve read 16 of her books so far and I’m working on Kingfisher for a 17th. She is one of my favorite authors for the vivid, dream-like worlds she creates, with storylines that often meander far from the beaten path. For graphic novels, it would be Adachitoka since I’m caught up with Noragami to volume 21. The pen name is shared by both of the women who create the artwork and story.

6. What is your least favorite trope?

I’m going to say the “make someone jealous to make them love you” trope. That whole idea promotes so much toxicity in my opinion. First off, jealousy is not a sign of a healthy or deep love. It is a sign of possessiveness, which can occur without any true concern for the object of that urge. Second, trying to “make” someone love you does not really seem like an act of love either. Thankfully, I’m seeing less of this trope and more attempts to explore relationship-building by healthier routes, but whenever I see it, it really sets me on edge.

7. How do you feel about splitting movies into two parts? (I jus watched the Twilight saga lol)

If it truly warrants it, I have no problem with a two-parter. I didn’t feel like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows suffered from being split up. What I don’t like is when a story is stretched thin and stuffed with filler because someone wants to get more money from it. The Hobbit movies had good points, but quite a lot of the added material just felt pointless and weird. Of course, the “Blunt the Knives” song was original material, but it still felt off because it didn’t match the more serious tone other parts of the movie struck.

8. What’s your absolute favorite mythical creature?

Currently, I’d say the kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit. Their style of shape-shifting is the kind I most covet, the ability to change into anything from specific people to animals, plants, and even inanimate objects. They’re also tricksters, another thing I love, clever illusion-masters who are still more likely to co-exist peacefully with humans than their Chinese and Korean counterparts, húlíjīng and gumiho. Though some types of kitsune are considered good and some evil, I prefer the ones who exist in the moral gray zone, capable of compassion but also with their own agendas. They’ll keep their promises, but if you harm them or their loved ones, watch out!

9. When’s the best time to read?

I generally prefer to read in the evening, when I’ve either done most of my to-do list or decided to call it quits for the day. With nothing else prodding my mind, I can sink fully into the story. A cup of tea to sip is always nice too.

10. What genre do you not usually read but would like to try?

Lately I’ve been thinking about reading more horror. I was fairly sensitive to violent and gruesome imagery as a child, but my tolerance has increased over time. Visual media can still be too intense for me, but in print I can usually handle it. This may be partly from my accidental strong-stomach training resulting from reading Elizabeth Bear novels while eating lunch (I always hit the grossest parts right in the middle of eating). A lot of recent additions to the horror genre also explore thought-provoking and socially relevant themes rather than just being about flatly evil monsters chasing people, so I think it’s a good time to give it a try.

11. What is the best book you’ve read in 2020 so far?

Well, at the time that I received this nomination, it was Slay by Brittney Morris. I mentioned Slay in my lineup of book recommendations for my last Sunshine Blogger Award, but let me just reiterate that it is awesome! I loved Morris’ vision of a game space that could provide cultural celebration and safety for diverse Black players, who so often find the opposite online.

Looking back from now, I would also add Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, which features a trans brujo trying to help an energetic spirit, and A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, which does an amazing job of developing the relationship between found-sisters Tavia and Effie. Like Slay, both are among the few books where I had not wished for even one thing to be slightly different.

My Nominees:

Lotus Laura

Chocoviv

Dragthepen

The Alchemist’s Studio

Whispering Stories

Emerald City Bookworm

Myth Crafts


My questions for you:

  1. Name one place you really want to visit someday.
  2. What is the perfect end to a day?
  3. Which do you prefer: Cooking for someone, having someone cook for you, cooking for yourself, or takeout?
  4. For reading, what format do you like best (print, electronic, audio, etc.)?
  5. Other than looking at a clock or phone, how do you check the time?
  6. What kind of ending to a story makes you mad?
  7. If you had a time machine, what would you use it for?
  8. If you could control an element, what would it be?
  9. Are colors more or less vivid in your dreams?
  10. What kind of sky lifts your heart?
  11. Where do the lost things go?

39 thoughts on “Liebster Award from Nicole

  1. Congrats! Very deserved! And I had to laugh at your responses to some of the questions! Like keeping a regular schedule is the hardest thing about blogging. Lol oh you’re telling me! Also that abomination of a miniseries Dinotopia really truly deserves so much scorn, I’d love to see a particularly cruel reviewer smash it to bits!! Also those Hobbit movies was the best example of how bad things can be when studios try to shamelessly milk a property. Lol! So anyway kudos again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊

      Hmm, maybe I should play cruel reviewer sometime on that Dinotopia miniseries. 😈 There’s so much bash-worthy material there. Except then I might have to watch it again. 🤢 Thanks, I was pretty sure other people found it awful, but it’s good to know for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You definitely need to review Dinotopia. I understand the revulsion to watching it again, but you know great artists all suffer for their art. It’s just a sad fact of life. So anyway I say do it! Lol tell me you will!!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. So I think I’ve found it on YouTube. Starts off with a scene clearly aping Titanic. We cut to a cesna with two bickering dudes and their dad who sounds (and somehow looks sorta like) McGruff the crime dog. He’s taking them out for flying lessons. One son vaguely resembles Anakin Skywalker and the other looks like a young Chris Isaac. They’re flying out to sea, way way out, I can’t see land anywhere. Is that a good idea when you’re teaching someone how to fly? I’d never question McGruff’s methods, but at least keeping visual contact with the coastline seems smart. So anyway they fly straight into a huge storm and crash. What was McGruff doing during all this? There is a brief shot earlier where he appears sort of slumped to the side. Was he asleep? Did he fall asleep while giving his unlikable sons flying lessons?!?
            Anny and Chris (actually Davey and Carl) wash up on a beach. They briefly whine about McGruff-dad, then immediately start heading inland. Wow, a whole 10 seconds of mourning. Your father obviously meant so much to you. By the way, this place is clearly Dinotopia. HOW FAR OUT DID THEY FLY?? IN A CESNA?!? FOR FLYING LESSONS?!?!?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. So as I said they head inland, hoping to find a phone. For two people who’ve been tossed around in the stormy sea they’re very dapper. I would have probably collapsed from exhaustion after such a taxing experience. Chris Isaak looks right at home on the beach. And well he should, I mean, he’s Chris Isaak after all.
              The scenes of them marching along is supposed to instill in the audience a sense of isolation which slowly builds into wonder at the natural beauty that surrounding them. The locations are amazing, the movie they’re found in is not.
              They glimpse a dinosaur statue and exclaim that they don’t know what it is. It’s a dinosaur statue, guys. It explodes. Muh dudes are thrown back by the force. A comic relief Englishman emerges from the smoking hole of the statue to explain he has permission from some council to “explore ancient sites” – and destroy them I guess?!? Btw, where he was positioned during the blast would have left him totally deaf, if not dead. He also seems unconcerned that his reckless methods of “exploration” via explosives sans properly securing the blast area might have injured/killed two innocents. The two dummies don’t seem much alarmed either though, so perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill.
              I’m skipping ahead till I see some dinosaurs…

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Ok, I think you just wrote the first episode of this review. 😂🤣 Oh, wow, that is terrible. Thanks for the tip! I’ll see if I can track the full thing down. I actually have an idea of how to work this, although now I’m thinking your review would be way funnier.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you for the encouragement! I wrote it imagining like I was a foreign correspondent reporting back to you with what I found – with all snark the subject deserves, lol. I still think you should write up a review. Your sensibilities would lend it a uniqueness that I very much want to experience. I’d like to continue too… I don’t like to disappoint… but where would my review go? Not on “burnt thumb”, I wouldn’t want to post it there. Eh I’ll have to just figure it out. So anyway, I’ll do that while you do your idea, ya? I anticipate your idea will work great! Dearly hope I’m not being pushy. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I think that was the perfect tone for dealing with that bewilderingly bad mini-series. And you were making connections I never would have seen, so that’s why I was enjoying it so much. You had me laughing even harder than Honest Trailers usually do! 😄

                  I was initially wondering the same thing about whether the review would fit in with Fool’s Mirror or if I’d have to find some other place. I think my idea might allow me to slip in some mythology references, but I’ll have to do some thinking. I will definitely keep it in mind, though!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. That’s some breathtaking high praise, and it means a lot coming from you, thank you.

                    Ya I’m at a loss for where my review will go. I’ve written a lot more already and I JUST hit the 20 minute mark of this 4(?) hour garbage fest. I’ve even pulled some punches to cut down the length of the review so far. I can’t stand these two brothers and a scene I just saw just showcases how poorly realized their characters are. So they’re stuck in some human outpost that looks like a shantytown, and the people here look like Dickens Faire players mingling with the cast of an Aladdin stage play. David and Carl have determined they should head out to Waterfall City. They’re settling in for sleep under some gross, mildewy looking blankets (remember how everyone in the book looked disheveled? Neither do I.) when they pitch little hissy fits at one another. Carl says when they reach Waterfall City they’ll find a means of escape or call for rescue. I think the by the wording of the dialogue that the script means for him to be frustrated or angry, but the actor’s delivery doesn’t rise above a casual conversational tone. David sneers (and I use that word _only_ because it seems like that’s what the writer envisioned given the context of the scene, because the actor playing David is somehow even more bland): “Do you really think some place called Waterfall City is going to have telephones?” Uh… why not? “Waterfall City” is just some prosaic name, like Atlantic City, and that town has telephones. His rejoinder is just baffling. David continues by saying that this place has “new rules” and that they better learn them. What does that mean? Maybe he means this place has a different culture/perspective/set of laws than what they’re used to? If so he phrased it in the dumbest way possible. Carl shoots back “screw the rules! I’m not giving up on dad!” …Excuse me what? Honestly, does Carl have early onset dementia? Those two phrases he utters (in a completely stale tone remember) aren’t linked in any logically coherent way. This whole exchange is nonsense. They continue bickering like brats and I get disgusted.

                    The point is: viewing this scene brought to mind your op about how Dinotopia’s real downfall how petulant and quarrelsome the protagonists act. This really REALLY clarified just how right you are. When you were a kid did you ever read Jules Verne’s book Two Years Vacation? To sum it up it’s like a Victorian Lord of the Flies but instead the schoolboys band together overcome every daunting adversity they face. Very positive story. This miniseries would be so much more powerful like that. Maybe it will reverse course, I’m sure they’ll have to work together since the English guy is _obviously_ going to be the antagonist.

                    Jeez sorry for the wall of text. Didn’t realize. Don’t worry I don’t feel entitled to your reading it. 😂

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Oh, I am enjoying every word of this “wall of text”! 😂 I’m sympathizing with you for slogging through that junk, but your commentary is pure gold.

                      You know, at the time that I watched this I didn’t have a clear concept of what bad acting looked like, but in hindsight, oh, so much bad acting. Not that even good acting would have made some of those conversations understandable, let alone impressive.

                      The only Jules Verne I’ve read so far is A Journey to the Center of the Earth, but now I’d really like to read Two Years Vacation. I’ve always steered clear of Lord of the Flies precisely because it sounds like it gives up on cooperation from the get-go. I don’t deny that competition and violence are part of human nature, but I also think our cooperative side is often ignored or trivialized. Thanks for the recommendation!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Thanks Ceridwen it’s tremendously exciting to read your words. It’s really gratifying. Also! I’m feeling wary of your wrath for hijacking your comment section for my review. Lol, feel free to use mine in some act of revenge.
                      It’s refreshing to hear a nuanced view of competition/cooperation. Yes the human condition requires both, depending on the situation. Verne’s story just really blew my mind as an impressionable kid. I’ve never read Journey! Recommend?
                      Ya, I barely remember anything at all about Dinotopia except that I really didn’t like it. Couldn’t really judge acting performances lol. But really there are so many people to blame.

                      In fact, after watching more I’ve got a new theory about this movie. We first have to return to the scene that introduces our leading men: as they board the Cessna McGruff impatiently urges David on, grumbling about David’s bookreading habits. 🤔 Carl on the other hand is enthusiastic (or as approximate to enthusiasm as the actor can emote) about getting the chance to fly. 🤨
                      Now, recall their petulant tantrums the night they’re in the shantytown. Carl takes charge immediately by flat out informing his brother what their strategy moving forward shall be, spotty and questionable as it is. David “pokes holes” in Carl’s plan, though his points are bs nonsense. He posits learning the different “rules,” whatever that could mean. Carl responds with harsh words that would lead viewers to suspect anger, though it conflicts with the thespian’s dispassionate delivery.
                      💡
                      My gut tells me that this is the scriptwriter’s feeble attempt at characterization. I suspect Carl is envisaged to be something like a brash go-getter; he loves his previous life and eagerly want to leave Dinotopia. David, even more improbably, is intended to be a bookish, cerebral thinker. He is cautiously open minded about this strange new world. Now that’s why no matter how bland the actor playing Carl is, the actor playing David comes off even blander. It’s the actor’s poisonously sad attempt to portray a contemplative nature. In sum, the script is weak in developing its characters, so weak that the viewer has to waste his energies concocting theories to explain the near complete absence of personality traits in its leads.

                      I’m stopping right there before you ban me.
                      You’re always the best!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. No worries about wrath or revenge! I always prefer a lively comment section. Besides, I wouldn’t want to miss this. I don’t know if your review will get the traffic it deserves here, but I’m glad at least one version of it will be living in my comment section. 😁

                      About Journey to the Center of the Earth: No, not recommended at all. That book is the reason I never read any more Jules Verne and howled with laughter to discover he criticized H. G. Wells for “making things up” as a sci-fi writer. 🙄 It was kind of like the Dinotopia mini-series but underground and with only two characters. Somewhere between the giant cavemen and prehistoric sea reptile battles underground (with an underground sea and sky) and them exiting through a volcano, my belief lost all suspension. Anyway, I’m glad to hear that he’s written some better stuff.

                      Your commentary is showing me how much I did forget about the mini-series, but I do remember a fair amount because I brooded on it so much. It was especially annoying to recognize the bland characters you’re describing as flat versions of types in the books. David and Carl are a lot like Raymond and Hugh from Windchester, except they’re brothers and barely developed. Just curious, did you read many of the books?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. I don’t trust you, I know you’re trying to get me to drop my guard so your revenge will be all the more exacting. Alright well if you’re down with my posting, I’m down. And I don’t care if no one else actually sees my review, it’s fun just as it is.
                      Yikes Journey sounds atrocious. Now I’m worried I’m seeing Vacation through rose colored glasses. It’d be sad to find out all my fondness for it comes from boyhood lack of discernment…
                      I had the first couple Dinotopia books. You know really, much like the miniseries I only have hazy memories of those books, beyond knowing I relished the world-building. Do those characters appear in the main trilogy or the spinoff (y.a.?) series? I did not read those.
                      So cool, let’s keep the party going:

                      So David and Carl are guided by the Englishman to the grungy human settlement that he calls a “bus depot”. For a place promising mass transit it exists in a state of pre-industrialization. The brothers partake in some weak verbal repartee.
                      Then an ankylosaurus bursts into sight. The prehistoric creature crashes madly through every structure in its path. The people scatter in terror. The brothers’ English guide acts completely unperturbed, yet everyone else is screaming in panic. Why is he so positively disinterested? The brothers duck behind a railing to watch the proceedings. They aver dismay, but of course the actors’ energies don’t rise to the intensity that this scene calls for. The ankylosaur swings it’s massive club tail at a fleeing human (!) and the shot cuts away. He had fallen to the ground as the club was crashing down on him; I can’t imagine he wasn’t killed. This is a major departure from the books that I remember.
                      A young sleepy-eyed woman emerges from around the corner and confidently but delicately confronts the dino. She places her palm on its head. It opens its mouth and she yanks something out. As she turns and departs she calls to the cowering townsfolk: “toothache.” So the dinosaur was driven into a deadly rampage because of a toothache. Glad that that one guy’s family will get some closure. Anyway, the people show their appreciation to the woman with a polite golf clap. Very resilient people.
                      Englishman explains to Carl and David that the woman is “Dinotopian, 20th generation.” I recollect something about humans developing psychic bonds with dinosaurs from the books. I may be wrong, but I thought that any human could form this kind of connection with a dinosaur. This dialogue implies you have to be magical. Englishman informs them he’s now abandoning them, but presents them with his card. The card is professionally manufactured cardstock and conveniently wallet sized. It’s just like if a movie’s prop dept. ordered them on Amazon, rather than take the time to handcraft something the Dinotopians would have created. The card reads “Crabb’s Curios” and it’s painfully obvious that the lettering has been printed from a computer printer. It’s really jarring. What a lazy props dept. Englishman aka Crabb then leers evilly at them as he takes his leave. This is to foreshadow the treacherous turn he’s going to take later in the film. “I’m not sure I trust him,” says David in his characteristic dull drone. I love how he hedges his words. “Why not..?” asks Carl with expression vacant. Wow, this conversation is as soaring as Sir Isaac Newton having a round-table with a bunch of Sir Isaac Newtons.
                      The pair then decide to find a map. Not a bad idea, finally!!! The map they find was also printed at Kinkos. They decide to take “the bus” to Waterfall City in the morning.
                      We then cut to nightfall and they have their insane squabbling match that we discussed earlier.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. So I was looking into Two Years Vacation, and a couple things: First, it was published almost 20 years after Journey, so his writing probably had improved by then. Second, I saw a review that implied Vacation helped inspire Lord of the Flies, though I’m not sure I trust it given it lists Journey under his “truly extraordinary adventure stories.” I’m still definitely interested in reading it if I can find it.

                      Of James Gurney’s Dinotopia books, I’ve read the first two. Those have similar characters, but I’m pretty sure the other two he wrote both take place at other times. A few of the initial characters make cameos in the related YA books, like Bix in Windchaser. It’s more like Rick Riordan Presents than a series, though, since a variety of authors contributed one-off stories with a different cast in each. Scott Ciencin was one of my favorites, though I also really loved Hatchling by Midori Snyder.

                      Oh, wow, the Kinkos map! That is hilarious! 😂😂 I remember the special effects were kind of gimpy in places, but I don’t think I paid much attention to the props. And you’ve confirmed my suspicion that they did away with the cool “3 mothers Irish” way that Dinotopians used to identify their background. Guess they didn’t want to think that much about their characters.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. I have to find it again too, no matter how bad it may turn out to be that can’t take away my fond childhood memories.

                      Ya the special effects: I can believe it was mind boggling for tv in 2002 but I noticed they reused dinosaur animations to save money. I don’t want to me too nitpicky though, this is already turning into a novilization more than a review. But anyway, how’re you doing today?

                      So the next scene opens with the morning sun already mounting the sky. Our heroes shamble over to an odd looking building representing the “bus station” or whatever. By the look on their faces they are mildly happy to see that the sleepy-eyed young woman from yesterday is milling around there too. They greet her and she introduces herself as Marion. David, who can’t be younger than twenty, gives her some polite praise for yesterday in the manner of a well behaved child. I say that because his body language signals a shy boyishness to me. Is this an attempt to convey bashfulness towards Marion? A budding romantic subplot? That should be amusing. When he fails at remembering the species of the rampaging dinosaur Marion gently cuts in: “ankylosaurus”. She pronounces it like “ankle-uh-sore-us”. That sounded wrong to me so I youtube’d an educational program from pbs and the paleontologist hosting it said it more like “ang-ky-low-sore”. Perhaps there isn’t a standard pronunciation, or perhaps the filmmakers didn’t care about diligence.
                      Marion explains in a staid Mid-Atlantic accent that she’s “training to be a leader” and that she must be “calm in a crisis” to “inspire others”. That’s all fine, but this is the moment when it hit me: the actress is playing Marion practically as sedate as David and Carl. What the hell is going on here?!? I’m imagining the director standing behind the camera shouting to these actors, “Less emotion! Yes, yes! I want more languish!” It doesn’t make any sense. I think we all were hoping for a character with a little (lot) more energy to balance out the “subtlety” of the brothers. By the way, Carl is behaving all sheepishly around Marion too. Love triangle?
                      She comforts the guys in regards their situation and states that everything will be explained once they reach Waterfall City and “register”. Hot-blooded Carl interjects that “they don’t want to register for anything.” He delivers his lines with the gravitas of ordering from a dollar menu – and nothing looks appetizing. The director must truly have been in the thralls of ecstasy! Brainy David just stands there and says nothing. Marion gives them a sympathetic look. They carry on walking. Aren’t the brothers going to ask what she means by “register”? What does registering entail, and what’s the purpose? Why is there such a shroud of secrecy around Dinotopia? The boys don’t even stop a moment to rethink the wisdom of going to Waterfall City.
                      Next we see a dinosaur. It’s a giant brachiosaurus being fitted out with plates of armor. You’d think the pair would be reluctant to get near it after their first encounter with a dinosaur, but they aren’t particularly fazed. Instead they ask what the armor is for and Marion replies that it’s protection “to stop him from getting killed.” They fail to press her for more information about this possible threat. Even David, and he’s a brainiac. Some person shouts that “the bus” is secure. Haha, they’re referring to the dinosaur as a bus, like this is Dinotopia’s version of public transit! Haha, why that’s so silly!… ha.. I’m so disappointed in you, Dinotopia. Are you really stealing gags from the Flintstones? The brachiosaurus turns to the camera and grumbles, “Eh, it’s a living.” Carl yanks on a bird’s tail and it shrieks like a factory whistle. David triumphantly exclaims “yabba dabba do” and Marion merrily slides down the dinosaur’s big long tail. Lololol no, none of that last bit happened, but if you’re going to steal the “dinosaurs as modern conveniences” gag you might as well steal everything.
                      Anyway, the trio climb aboard and set out for adventure. Destination: Waterfall City!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. I’m doing fine, and a lot better for reading the next installment of your review! I always end up smiling and laughing. The Flintstones “bus” really cracked me up! 😂 And honestly, that would have made a better scene because there would have been personality in it. What was that director thinking?

                      Hmm, yeah, how special effects look tends to change based on what we’re exposed to. I remember thinking the original Jumanji movie had really cool effects when it first came out. Then I saw a clip of the monkeys and it was just like, wha?! Their fur looks so fake! 😲

                      There definitely is a standard pronunciation for ankylosaurus and there are no “ankles” in it. I have heard a few people say “an-kee-low-sore-us,” but the official one is what you heard on pbs. Ugh, even the Dinotopia books are now outdated compared to paleontology, but at least they got their scientific names correct. I actually learned of a few new species from them (Yes, I am a total dinosaur nut).

                      Liked by 1 person

                    8. Pleased to hear you’re well and having fun with the review, too! I hope you like it as much as I enjoy your feedback and encouragement! That “bus” stuff was just do out of place for Dinotopia…

                      Jumanji. Wow that takes me back, I don’t think I’ve thought about that movie in decades. Lol, I read the skimpy little children’s book and was bewildered that the movie was so different. I bet the effects look bad; just think what must go into modern effects to just be boilerplate for audiences!
                      Thanks for the clarification about ankylosaurus! That’s really cool to know hear your a dino fanatic; I used to love dinosaurs too, let me ask how did you kept the magic about them alive for yourself?

                      We find our heroes traversing the Rainy Basin atop their majestic brachiosaur steed. It really is kind of cool looking and I remember it from the book. Marion informs them that this place is the abode of the carnivores, but they have little to fear as they’ve brought extra food to appease any would-be prehistoric assailants. “Besides,” she adds, “it’s only 1 in 5 convoys that get attacked.” She pronounces this unnerving fact in a deadpan, like she had recently taken a bunch of medication to suppress her humanity. David actually notices her odd behavior and responds with a sarcastic snicker! He even elects to inquire what kind of “carnivores” she means. You could bowl me over with a feather. The answer he gets is Tyrannosaurus Rex.
                      They get to a wooded area and the dinosaurs halt. They’re spooked. The driver, Marion, and the brothers disembark the sauropod to investigate! They find “hundreds” of tyrannosaurus footprints and fresh droppings. They decide to leave the relative safety of the caravan and follow the tracks on foot!!!!!! Oh good, this movie is about to be over.
                      There is an outpost that Marion wants to check on. A human outpost in tyrannosaur country?!? I don’t know, that sounds sorta foolish. Also, Marion already mentioned that expeditions in the Rainy Basin were rare due to the danger, so how would the outpost receive necessary outside supplies? It sounds like the scriptwriters needed an excuse to put the three in harm’s way for an action scene, and didn’t trouble themselves with how stupid it all appears.
                      Anyway, stormy night falls before our intrepid friends arrive at the fortification. This has a very “Jurassic Park” vibe to it. The outpost looks like a pile of crap just like the “bus depot” or whatever, so I didn’t realize it was meant to appear ravaged until Marion says so. They hurry into the interior of the compound and Marion is shocked to discover something in the rubble. The driver recognizes it too, “The sunstone has failed,” he bleats. Really it sounds like the actor is reading from a cue card. Marion exposits that sunstones are Dinotopians’ source of power and “keeps the outposts and settlements safe”. Safe from what? She suggests getting back to the caravan. The driver says that “the next outpost is 5 hours away. The ‘brachs’ will never carry us through the storm.” I think those sentences sound be reversed. I assume what he means to say is that the brachiosaurus won’t move in this storm and it’d be a long, dangerous trek on foot. But I’m just trying to cull meaning from this drivel. They opt to shelter in the ruins overnight. As the group trudges along 1 or 2 shadowy human figures are visible in the background. Who are those people? Our gang doesn’t acknowledge them.
                      They find a suitable refuge, and Marion and Carl squabble over vegetarianism. I don’t know what to say; it’s world-building but I feel it’s inappropriate given the present circumstances. Once Marion removes herself from earshot David quips to his brother with a grin, “I see you haven’t lost your touch Carl.” OMG there _will_ be a romantic subplot! I’m so excited! We cut to Marion and David chatting. She keeps asking him about Carl and what she calls his “restless spirit.” Lol poor David. He informs her that they’re only half-brothers and have little in common.
                      We cut again to David on a bunk. He’s been shaken awake by the movie’s sound design (tiger’s growl blended with thunder and the creak of timbers). He wakes Carl to report that he heard something. Carl rises from his cot and peers out the window. “Nothing but jungle out there,” Carl affirms. They banter a short time before a tyrannosaurus foot smashes through the roof. I think the scale is off in this shot; the chamber is too tall for a properly sized Rex to literally step on. The group flee outside. We’re treated to shots clearly mimicking Jurassic Park as a tyrannosaur noses around for our heroes. It’s not thrilling because you know the trio won’t die. They’re saved by a squad of flying skybax riders. Their saviors alight to land and greet them. Bookish scholar David deduces “I think… you just saved our lives.” Carl is curious about the pteranodon and begins striding foolhardily towards it. He’s stopped from his reckless action and scolded for being a jackass imbecile. Seriously, he was nearly dino chow moments ago and he still hasn’t grown cautious around dinosaurs. Btw, the skybax captain was apparently awarded the movie role for his baritone voice – it wasn’t his acting ability. He declares that there are still some individuals from the outpost m.i.a. and that our gang better skedaddle while the gettin’s good. The group agrees and depart.
                      That’s all for this chapter, but what a pulse pounding ride! Action! Suspense! Magic gemstones! The promise of unlikely love and some blatant cribbing from the Jurassic Park playbook! What will our friends stoop to quibbling about next? We’ll find out together next time on Dinotopia!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Yes, it’s been the highlight of my WordPress time and sometimes of my entire day lately!😊

                      Hmm, that’s an interesting question about preserving the magic of dinosaurs. I don’t know that I ever had to work on that. I’m always excited and thrilled to catch up on dino news. Movies and fiction are less likely to interest me now because most just make them monsters, which is boring. I’d rather have the science. Maybe it’s the sheer diversity of their species that keeps me fascinated, or maybe it’s how what we know about them keeps changing so fast. Or maybe I’ve just been at it for so long, it’s a habit. 😅

                      Ok, after reading your review, I had to go look a few things up. First off, Rainy Basin is at the center of Dinotopia on the map, with most of the towns sensibly outside it. It’s very unlikely they’d drag dolphinbacks (maybe wetbacks, since there were no dolphins in this series) through there to get to Waterfall City unless they started in Treetown. Since no one was living in trees, I’m going to have to go with your guess that they just wanted an action scene. And oh, wow, a T-Rex foot actually crashes through their roof? That’s beyond bizarre. 😂

                      And the sunstones…I don’t even know where to start. Well, how about, if it’s raining, duh, of course the sunstone “failed”! They’re powered by the sun, hence the name. Also, pretty sure the last one to make it to the surface got tossed in the ocean after it seemed to go One-Ring on Lee Crabb. Even if this is present-day Dinotopia rather than 1800s Dinotopia, I doubt sunstones would make a comeback after that stunt.

                      It’s weird that I remember the vegetarianism argument but not the sunstones. Though on that note, I thought it was very artificial-feeling. Who asks for chicken in the middle of a jungle anyway? Meat spoils quickly in hot humid climates. I didn’t see any refrigerators on the brach-“bus.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    10. I like sharing some laughter together!I hope your rl isn’t getting too stressful, though. You can let off some steam now! Btw, when do I get some details about your plans for Dinotopia?

                      Reading your reply I see you’re an obviously intelligent person with a genuine love for paleontology. It’d be more fun imagining you in the Dinotopia movie than watching brothers pokerface and pokerface jr. On the other hand, it’d be bad being stuck in this Dinotopia/Jurassic Park mashup universe. I understand about lackluster fare featuring dinosaurs. There was a film called Veloci-Pastor that got some buzz recently for its hokey title and premise. Ugh, what awful bait!

                      Thanks for the information! The writers definitely workshopped it and decided they needed some action to hold viewers interest. The sunstones sound like they’re going to be magic to me. How else could these smallish rocks protect the human towns from… something?

                      “Artificial” is a good word to describe a lot of the dialogue heavy drama. They’re all nitwits, in the case of Carl asking for a burger or chicken he seems to have forgotten he’s been in Dinotopia the past several days. It’s so crazy.

                      But speaking of crazy…

                      We open on a smooth grassy veldt; hills and mountains cascade gracefully in the distance. The caravan is continuing the long march to Waterfall City, and we find Marion and Carl already in a “heated” exchange. It’s so good to be back in Dinotopia. They’re debating self defense and dinosaurs’ place in Dinotopian society. It would be some nifty character development except that it’s weighted down by their unabashed stupidity. I don’t want to wade into the ethical minutiae myself, but here’s a lowlight showcasing their level of discourse: “I love my dog back home, but he’s not getting a driver’s license,” Carl reasons, completely impressed with himself. First off, I believe that that’s missing the point. I _think_ the argument is that in Dinotopia dinosaurs are rational beings capable of reasoning, therefore they deserve a certain level of rights. Seriously, Carl’s seen dinosaurs telepathically communicate with people, and Marion has at least presented herself as possessing the ability to understand dinosaur grunts. Also, purely on the basis of rhetoric, would Marion even know what a driver’s license is? Evidently she does and is astounded that he feels superior to dinosaurs. It goes back and forth and Marion says some very dim things as well. The scene dredges up vague recollections of ungifted classmates debating civics back in high school. Or college. 😦 David coyly asserts that he agrees with Marion. Kiss ass.
                      (Btw I’m not saying I’m gifted; lol needless to say I’m not.)
                      Then we get a pan of glorious Waterfall City from the books rendered in decent computer animation. The brothers take in the marvel with tepid little grins. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” confirms David. You. Sure. Look. It…
                      A huge globe over the arching gateway depicts Pangea. David informs Marion that “your world map’s a little bit off. America isn’t joined to Europe.” She describes Pangea to him. Jeez. I’m surprised you didn’t know that, David. Carl declares, “I’m surprised you didn’t know that, David.” I’m red with embarrassment that Carl and I are on the same wavelength here. This also really undermines David’s nerd cred. Just imagine what his coworkers at Geek Squad would say! Honestly, being “smart” is David’s single informed attribute. What were the scriptwriters thinking?!
                      Legions of finely dressed denizens throng the streets and palisades to welcome the newcomers. The brothers are considered celebrities, there have been few new arrivals to Waterfall City from the outside world. That sounds like a contradiction from an earlier statement – oh well I’m not going back to check.
                      The brothers are ushered along to the palace with pomp and spectacle. At the steps of the palace they find a man in Elizabethan attire descending to meet them. “Who’s that guy?” Carl drawls, “He looks like a clown with all those robes on!” “Hello father,” Marion says warmly. Oh Carl, your loose lips have have betrayed you again! Har har! But really, Ceridwen, do me a favor and say “who’s that guy?” aloud in a deep, dull monotone. Lol that’s exactly how the actor delivers it! I love it! Father and daughter engage in a bout of small talk before he turns to the two brothers and officially extends Waterfall City’s hospitality to them. The crowd erupts with applause. Carl and David hastily interject with their concerns about McGruff-dad. They want search parties!!! Excuse me? I’m mystified. When they talked to Marion at the “bus depot” they said they “just wanted to go home.” Now there’s hope that McGruff is alive…?
                      We cut to the senate while Marion’s father, Waldo Seville, has the floor and is concluding his address. It’s some exposition about where Dinotopians come from. The senate bursts into cacophonous cheers. These folks sure are easy to please. David and Carl observe the chamber around them. They’re encircled by masses of Elisabethans and dinosaurs. It’s surreal. The pair are presented with a book that contains all the names of castaways on Dinotopia and are made to sign. David must have taken a calligraphy course because his penmanship is simply elegant. Btw, certainly almost everyone who washed ashore would have been illiterate sailors, right? Most of those signatures would be X. They are congratulated and informed that soon they will take a “saurian life partner,” which Marion explains is a human/dinosaur relationship “like a marriage.” The boys are understandably nonplussed, and I am too. I would laugh in their faces, turn right around and run. David, in a shot that’s awkwardly framed and I suspect is meant to be comedic, answers “Thank you for the offer but we have to get home.” Carl tags this with: “Our dad’s still out there.” Does this dialogue have the ring of schizophrenia to you, too? These guys are impenetrable. Waldo avers that escape from the island is impossible. They take this news in stride. Impenetrable!!! They are requested to address the senate and describe the current state of the outside world. David uses this opportunity to embarrass himself. Also, frankly speaking, the Dinotopians don’t cover themselves in glory during this scene either as they scoff and guffaw at David’s fumbling pronouncements on the moon landings and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Where’s the spirit of inquisitive enlightenment? Is it meant to be a humorous reversal of circumstances to see a room full of foppish Tudors and dinosaurs sneering at the ridiculousness of the real world? The scene does have a bizarre “Gulliver’s Travels” vibe about it. Carl next mounts the stage. He has fire in his eyes. Evidently he is not taking things in stride after all. You know what? Good for him. He lambasts his hosts as he recounts the plane crash that stranded him in Dinotopia. He storms off, and a musical sting lets the audience know that they should feel tension right now. It seems that for all the cheer and celebration, trouble is rumbling in Dinotopia!

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  2. Congrats! And thanks so much for the nomination — looking forward to answering your questions soon!!! Ahhh, I adore the kitsune, and I appreciate your admiration for the moral grey area. I relate to becoming a bit vicious when I feel a loved one is under attack. It also feels more relatable to connect to a mythical power that also has a “human” quality, such as not always being good but not always being bad. Alongside, I like your point about jealousy — when someone tries to make me jealous, it does the opposite and turns me off. It’s game-playing, hurtful, and disrespectful. I sadly have a lot of jealousy issues, but I have learned to handle it in a much more mature way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊

      Yes, that’s what I love about kitsune! They seem more relatable and “human” despite being only tourists to the human experience. Add the cool powers to that and they’re such great imagination material!

      Kudos to you for working with jealousy. It’s not an easy emotion to handle, but I think as long as it’s handled with awareness, it doesn’t have to be damaging. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

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