War Horse

>> Saturday, December 31, 2011

War Horse
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence.

War Horse is one of those movies that everyone talks about. But no one could tell me if it was "good" or not. Critics praise it, but I usually take what they say with a grain of salt. So I figured the only way to know about it was to see it.
To be honest, I expected it to fail, and to fail miserably.
I've never been so pleasantly surprised.
What I expected to be "Black Beauty goes to war" was far more than that.

I loved, loved, loved War Horse.

This movie put me through the wringer. Every emotion--love, anger, shock, fear, sorrow, and humour--were wrung out of me. (Am I ever so glad I brought tissues!)
The violence wasn't graphic, yet it really drove home the horrors of war. I've never gasped at a movie so much in my life. And yet, there were moments of light that sweetly and quietly showed how kindness can shine through the worst of conflicts.

The characters were fabulous. I loved the mother--she was rough around the edges and yet sturdy and loving. And the little French girl, Emilie, was one of my favorite parts of the movie.
And the cinematography--ah, the cinematography!--was breathtaking.
The story was fantastic and nerve-wracking. And the scene with the English and German soldiers will forever be one of my favorites ever seen on the big screen.

Some people have said, "There was too much war and not enough horse," and still others have said, "Too much horse and not enough war."
I thought it was very evenly balanced out. It portrayed how ugly war can be without being horrific, and it spoke against cruelty to animals without being overbearing or preachy.
I also enjoyed the first fifteen minutes spent on the Narracott's farm. There was some excellent conflict there as well (and the English countryside was gorgeous.)

I can just see you sitting there, raising your eyebrows and thinking, "It can't be that good."
See it.
Then we'll talk.

Because War Horse is a movie to counter with.


Favorite Line: "We need more wire cutters!"

Verdict: Go see it! (and once agin in theaters if you like.)
Grey Travel Rating: 4/5
Special Effects: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Acting: 4/5
Objectionable Content: A couple uses of the Ba-word, H-word and D-word.

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Merry Christmas

>> Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Let Earth recieve
her King..."

Merry Christmas.
by Carl Bloch

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Friggin' Hobbit Trailer!!!

>> Saturday, December 24, 2011



I almost had a heart attack when I heard Thorin singing "Far over Misty Mountains cold, To dungeons deep and caverns old..."

I think I speak for every Tolkien fan when I say,
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Precious.

And we have to wait for a year?

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Tintin: An American's Review

>> Friday, December 23, 2011

Edit: After collecting my thoughts, I found an efficient way to describe my feelings accurately.
"Funny and entertaining with some emotion thrown in, but the pacing was off and there was no tension. It should have been an amazing movie--it had all the ingredients--but it just fell flat."
Also, why would it have been so horrible for the villain to win? I'm not sure.

The Adventures of Tintin
Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking.

Tintin has done very well in Europe, mostly because it's home turf for the beloved comic hero. The real question critics kept asking prior to its American release was, How will Americans like it?
Well, let me tell you.

I wouldn't call myself a fan, though I did read two of the books before seeing the film. My small knowledge of the Tintin universe allowed me to grin every time one of the characters said "Great snakes!" or "Blisterin' barnacles!"
But that was almost it.

The movie was really good. Lots of action (oh boy was there a lot of action) and the animation was astounding! I kept forgetting that it wasn't real. The plot was excellent and the characters 3-dimensional. I loved the Thom(p)sons, who were hysterical.
And I loved Haddock as well. In fact, most of the emotion in the movie centered around Haddock. (Also, is it wrong to think he was at his funniest when drunk?)
And even Snowy--the dog--was fantastic! All throughout the movie I kept thinking, "Goodness, I want this dog!" And I'm sure everyone else in the theater thought the same.

The most satisfying scenes in the movies happened near the end and at the end, mostly as they traveled Morocco. As a plus, the plot was quite unpredictable and I found myself wondering once or twice, "How are they going to get out of this?"

Another thing I liked was the scene where Haddock related the story of Red Rackham. Like I said, I was able to read "The Secret of the Unicorn" and the scene was exactly how I pictured it and more.
I also liked how they added Hergé (the author) into the beginning of the movie.

That aside, there was one thing that it lacked. Actually, all the way home from the theater we puzzled over what it was. We felt something was missing. We finally realized that it was pacing. Though I was on the edge of my seat at one point, there was no real build-up of the tension. There were no slow, reflective moments to catch your breath before being launched into another action-packed scene. That's not to say that it was plotless or dull--far from it! The pacing was just off.

And I know that an intro isn't even technically part of the movie, but may I just say that it would have been nicer to see all those cool animations over cast-members names at the end of the movie? I had kinda hoped that we had left long, credit-filled intros in the 50's.

So--Tintin was a great, fun-filled adventure and, despite a few flaws, it was good watching.
Strangely, not something I'd rave about, but a good film nonetheless.
However, the ending hinted at a sequel and to be honest, when it comes out I'll definitely go see it.

Favorite Line:
Tintin: Mrs. Finch, a man has just been shot on our doorstep!
Mrs. Finch: Not again!


Verdict: Go see it if you can.
Grey Travel Rating: 3/5
Animation: 6/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Acting: 4/5
Objectionable Content: Haddock is drunk. A lot. Blood is shown briefly.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Quotes Part 1

>> Saturday, December 17, 2011

Picture by Nicole Gustafsson
"You behave yourself, got me?"
"I will if she does," said Harry through gritted teeth.

"She deserved it," Harry said, breathing very fast. "She deserved what she got. You keep away from me." He fumbled behind him for the latch on the door. "I'm going," Harry said. "I've had enough."

"What were you doin' down there?" said Stan, dropping his professional manner.
"Fell over," said Harry.
" 'Choo fall over for?" sniggered Stan.
"I didn't do it on purpose," said Harry, annoyed.

"It's this sweetshop," said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his face, "where they've got everything...Pepper Imps--they make you smoke at the mouth--and great fat Chocoballs full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, and really excellent sugar quills, which you can suck in class and just look like you're thinking what to write next-"
"But Hogsmeade's a very interesting place, isn't it?" Hermione pressed on eagerly. "In Sites of Historical Sorcery it says the inn was the headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion, and the Shrieking Shack's supposed to be the most severely haunted building in Britain-"
"And massive sherbet balls that make you levitate a few inches off the ground while you're sucking them," said Ron, who was plainly not listening to a word Hermione was saying.

"If ever you have need of a noble heart and steely sinew, call upon Sir Cadogan!"
"Yeah, we'll call you," muttered Ron as the knight disappeared, "if we ever need someone mental."

"I'm afraid he won't be a teacher much longer," said Malfoy in a tone of mock sorrow. "Father's not happy about my injury-"
"Keep talking, Malfoy, and I'll give you a real injury," snarled Ron.

"I see," said Lupin thoughtfully. "Well, well...I'm impressed." He smiled slightly at the look of surprise on Harry's face. "That suggests that what you fear most of all is--fear. Very wise, Harry."

"That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger," said Snape coolly. "Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all."
Hermione went very red, put down her hand, and stared at the floor with her eyes full of tears.
It was a mark of how much the class loathed Snape that they were all glaring at him, because every one of them had called Hermione a know-it-all at least once, and Ron, who told Hermione she was a know-it-all at least twice a week, said loudly, "You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don't want to be told?"
The class knew instantly he'd gone too far. Snape advanced on Ron slowly, and the room held its breath. "Detention, Weasley," Snape said silkily, his face very close to Ron's. "And if I ever hear you criticize the way I teach a class again, you will be very sorry indeed."

"D'you know what I see and hear every time a dementor gets too near me?"
Ron and Hermione shook their heads, looking apprehensive.
"I can hear my mum screaming and pleading with Voldemort. And if you'd heard your mum screaming like that, just about to be killed, you wouldn't forget it in a hurry."

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Cello Wars

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This is awesome.
My geek nerves are all a-tingling.


 
(Don't forget to check out The Piano Guys' more...er...serious videos.)
 




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Amazing Books You've Never Heard Of But Should Most Definitely Read

>> Thursday, December 8, 2011

Title says all.

Regina Silsby's Secret War by Thomas J. Brodeur
On the eve of the American Revolution, a young girl comes up with her own plan to rid Boston of the British.

The Stone Goddess by Minfong Ho
When the Khmer Rouge takes over Cambodia, Nakri and her family are split apart. When they finally regroup, they  head to America, where they must not only learn to adapt, but overcome the scars of their past.

Lady of Ch'iao Kuo by Laurence Yep
Set in diary format, it tells the story of a princess thought to be a "savage" by the Chinese and thought to be "Half Chinese" by her own people. Not only must she find a place to belong, but on top of that she must rid the land of a barbaric tribe bent on domination.

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
A poignant tale of the Holocaust, set in free verse.

Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey
When Kavik is taken from the master he loves, he sets out on a treacherous, thrilling journey across an arctic landscape.

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett
During WWI, two French sisters find a blind English soldier in the woods, who every day tells them a story...

The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall
Muggles lives a peaceful life in the land of Minnipins, until she and others are exiled for being different. But an old enemy of the Minnipins is returning and the motley group of outcasts have a choice: Should they warn the people who exiled them? And even if they do, will anyone believe them?

Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes
When Joe is transported to the war-torn world of Asphodel, he sets out on a journey to find his sister and ends up saving Asphodel from a terrible fate.

The Wainscott Weasel by Tor Seidler
A charming tale of a one-eyed weasel who saves the beautiful fish he loves from a terrible fate.

The Hounds of the Mórrígan by Pat O'Shea
Pidge and his little sister Brigit live a normal life in Ireland--until he finds the book. Now it's up to him and his sister to go on a whirlwind journey through Tír na nÓg to stop the evil Mórrígan from taking over the world.

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Princess Una has given her heart away, and only those who truly love her can save her. A stirring, refreshing Fantasy novel about love and loss, and the choice between darkness and light.

The Kingdom and the Crown by Gerald N. Lund
Set in the time of Christ's ministry, a family is torn by those who believe in his words and those who don't. And Simeon, leader of a rebel band against Rome, is caught right in the middle of it.
Of course, saying that this epic, three-volume series is only about that is understatement. There's love and loss and it really opens up the New Testament in a clear, un-sacreligious way.
From the acclaimed author of The Work and the Glory.

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume
Cornelia lives a life hidden under her mother's famous shadow. No one seems to understand her. Until Virginia Somerset, and old lady with a taste for travel, moves next door.
The Word Eater by Mary Amato
A girl struggling in a new school finds a worm that--when he eats a word--can make anything disappear. But this new-found power has more consequences than she ever dreamed possible. A fun, imaginative story.

The Road to There: Mapmakers and Their Stories by Val Ross
A historical book, but a fascinating one! All about the mapmakers of old, and their travels and pains to map the world.

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The story of a 16-year-old German boy who defied Hitler's government to make the truth known. A powerful tale.

The Book of Lies by James Moloney
Honestly, the most unpredictable book I've ever read.
A boy wakes up at a home for foundlings, but has no memory of his past--or his name. When a mysterious girl tells him that the truth of his past can be found in a wizard's Book of Lies, he sets out of find it. Of course, the truth is more complicated than it seems. And lies seem to be everywhere.

Titanic: The Long Night by Diane Hoh
A wonderful, well-crafted novel about how the lives of many different characters are entwined in one, famous night.
Nicholas by René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé 
The hilarious adventures of a French school-boy.

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Awarded

>> Saturday, December 3, 2011

I was awarded the LOTR Award by The Director!
Thanks!

Now, I must answer the following questions:

1-Who is your favorite LOTR character and why?
Aragorn. Because he's awesome, brave, loyal, and generally heroic.

Sam is also one of my favorites. He's loyal and brave and really underestimated. "Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam..."

2-If you were in Middle Earth, what species would you be?
A hobbit. I'm short, I like good food, and I'm generally barefoot 24/7.

3-If you were in Middle Earth, where would you be from?
Either the Shire or Erodas.

4-If you were with the fellowship in Lothlorien, what gift would you have wanted from Galadriel?
How about a writing utensil that makes me automatically inspired whenever I write with it?

5-Which language out of Middle Earth would you want to learn?
Black Speech!
Haha, just kidding.
I'd like to learn either Elvish or Rohirric. Even Khuzdul would be great to learn.


I award these fellow LOTR-Lovers:
Marian at All That is Gold
Kirthi at Pages
Gwyn at A Celtic Cowgirl
Margaret W. at Artisan of the Shire

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Quotes II

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Picture by Jake Parker
"I don't want to break rules, you know. I think threatening Muggle-borns is far worse than brewing up a difficult potion. But if you don't want to find out if it's Malfoy, I'll go straight to Madame Pince and hand the book back in-"
"I never thought I'd see the day when you'd be persuading us to break rules," said Ron.

"So Dobby stopped us from getting on the train and broke your arm..." He shook his head. "You know what, Harry? If he doesn't stop trying to save your life he's going to kill you."

"He sounds like Percy," said Ron, wrinkling his nose in disgust. "Prefect, Head Boy...probably top of every class-"
"You say that like it's a bad thing," said Hermione in a slightly hurt voice.

"But why's she got to go to the library?"
"Because that's what Hermione does," said Ron, shrugging. "When in doubt, go to the library."

Harry and Ron walked away, hardly daring to believe that they'd avoided detention. As they turned the corner, they distinctly heard Professor McGonagall blow her nose.
"That," said Ron fervently, "was the best story you've ever come up with."

"I seem to remember telling you both that I would have to expel you if you broke any more school rules," said Dumbledore.
Ron opened his mouth in horror.
"Which goes to show that the best of us must sometimes eat our words," Dumbledore went on, smiling.

"It only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, "because I asked not to go in Slytherin..."
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more. "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Harry didn't know whether the best bit was Hermione running toward him, screaming "You solved it! You solved it!" or Justin hurrying over from the Hufflepuff table to wring his hand and apologize endlessly for suspecting him, or Hagrid turning up at half past three, cuffing Harry and Ron so hard  on the shoulders that they were knocked from their plates of trifle, or his and Ron's four hundred points for Gryffindor securing the House Cup for the second year running, or Professor McGonagall standing up to tell them all that the exams had been canceled ("Oh, no!" said Hermione) or Dumbledore announcing that, unfortunately, Professor Lockhart would be unable to return next year, owing to the fact that he needed to go away and get his memory back.
Quite a few teachers joined in the cheering that greeted this news.
"Shame," said Ron, helping himself to a jam doughnut. "He was starting to grow on me."

"Well--Percy's got a girlfriend."
Fred dropped a stack of books on George's head. "What?"
"It's that Ravenclaw prefect, Penelope Clearwater," said Ginny. "That's who he was writing to all last summer. He's been meeting her all over the school in secret. I walked in on them kissing in an empty classroom one day. He was so upset when she was--you know--attacked. You won't tease him, will you?" she added anxiously.
"Wouldn't dream of it," said Fred, who was looking like his birthday had come early.
"Definitely not," said George, sniggering.

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Happy Thanksgiving

>> Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things I'm thankful for:

1. Sunsets
2.Good books
3. Dark chocolate
4. God and his Son
5. My religion
6. Awesome movies
7. Intelligent conversations
8. Dogs
9. My family
10. Stars
11. The Scriptures
12. Music
13. That I live in America
14. My life
15. Poetry
16. Friends
17. Writing
18. Quotes
19. Cheese
20. Lists :)

(In other news, I finally put my Christmas playlist on this blog. Don't you just love the holidays?)

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Create

>> Sunday, November 20, 2011

This video has a great message on creativity and self-worth.

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I Like My Movies Clean

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A few years ago there was a company called Clean Films. What they did was take movies, cut the bad stuff out, and then rent them out to people via mail.
Me and my family adored Clean Films. We would rent the movies online, and then go check the mail a few days later and get it. I watched so many films I would not have otherwise watched. I saw Paycheck, King Arthur, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and so many others. I even rented PG ones that had swear words, however mild, cut out of them. It was very enjoyable.
And it was completely legal, too--until some Hollywood stars got the lawyers involved. "You're ruining our art," they whined, and Clean Films was taken down.

Needless to say, I mourned the loss of Clean Films.
And I didn't understand.
How can anything wrong be considered "art"?

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Quotes Part 1

>> Thursday, November 10, 2011

Picture by Tang Heng
"Dudley?"
"How about--'We had to write an essay about our hero at school, Mr. Mason, and I wrote about you."
This was too much for both Aunt Petunia and Harry. Aunt Petunia burst into tears and hugged her son, while Harry ducked under the table so they wouldn't see him laughing.
"And you, boy?"
Harry fought to keep his face straight as he emerged. "I'll be in my room, making no noise and pretending I'm not there," he said.

"Dobby will serve the family until he dies, sir..."
Harry stared. "And I thought I had it bad staying here for another four weeks," he said. "This makes the Dursley's sound almost human."

"I hope they're paying you overtime?" He reached into Ginny's cauldron and extracted, from amid the glossy Lockhart books, a very old, very battered copy of A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration. "Obviously not," Mr. Malfoy said. "Dear me, what's the use of being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don't even pay you well for it?"
Mr. Weasley flushed darker than either Ron or Ginny. "We have a very different idea of what disgraces the name of wizard, Malfoy," he said.
"Clearly," said Mr. Malfoy, his pale eyes straying to Mr. and Mrs. Granger, who were watching apprehensively. "The company you keep, Weasley... and I thought your family could sink no lower--"

"I-I didn't think-"
"That," said Professor McGonagall, "is obvious."

"Why," demanded Ron, seizing her schedule, "have you outlined all Lockhart's lessons in little hearts?"
Hermione snatched her schedule back, blushing furiously.

"Why would anyone want to celebrate the day they died?" said Ron, who was halfway through his Potions homework and grumpy. "Sounds dead depressing to me..."

When Filch wasn't guarding the scene of the crime, he was skulking red-eyed through the corridors, lunging out at unsuspecting students and trying to put them in detention for things like "breathing loudly" and "looking happy."

"My life was nothing but misery at this place and now people come along ruining my death."

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Yellow Star

>> Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yellow Star
by Jennifer Roy

It is difficult to find a book about the Holocaust that really makes it sink in.
It is also difficult to find a book in written in free verse that is poignant and powerful.
Yellow Star is both of these and more.

In 1939, the Germans invaded Poland and moved 270,000 Jews into the Lodz ghetto.
At the end of the war, about 800 had survived.
Twelve were children.

Yellow Star is the story of Syvia Perlmutter, one of the twelve. It is told from her point of view, in free verse that encompasses the terrible sorrow of the event. In fact, it was the first book that got me hooked on books in verse.
But that's neither here nor there.
To be able to capture the ongoing terror of living in such a place is extraordinary. At one point in the story, Syvia and her father are walking the streets, sidestepping pools of dark red. And when you realize that this was real, this was their real life, it breaks you down. Children shouldn't have had to seen that kind of stuff, I kept thinking throughout the book. No one should have had to live through that.

It's not graphic, and it doesn't try to horrify you the way a horror movie might.
It's just the little, simply-stated facts that really shock you. It really puts you in their shoes. It makes you never want to complain about anything ever again.

But the book doesn't just focus on the terror and unbelievable sorrow.
There are moments of light, scenes where the main character realizes there's still good in the world. That she can be brave.
It's sombering, yes, but not depressing. Yellow Star ends with a message of hope, which really makes it stand out.
This book will leave few untouched.

Excerpt:
Yellow
is the color of
the felt six-pointed star
that is sewn onto my coat.
It is the law
that all Jews have to wear the
Star of David
when they leave their house,
or else be arrested.

I wish I could
rip the star off
(carefully, stitch by stitch, so as not to ruin
my lovely coat),
because yellow is meant to be
a happy color,
not the color of
hate.

Objectionable Content: None

Related Reads:
The Boy Who Dared-Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The Stone Goddess-Minfong Ho
Number the Stars-Lois Lowry

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Yeah, This Is What I Celebrate

>> Monday, October 31, 2011

Have a very Happy Birthday, Sir Peter Jackson.

(And, er, Happy Halloween, too.)


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Adorable

>> Thursday, October 27, 2011

I am about to make your day in

3...

2...

1...





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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Quotes II

>> Saturday, October 22, 2011

Picture by Jake Parker
But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

"You've got to stand up to him, Neville!" said Ron. "He's used to walking all over people, but that's no reason to lie down in front of him and make it easier."

"You know how I think they choose people for the Gryffindor team?" said Malfoy loudly a few minutes later, as Snape awarded Hufflepuff another penalty for no reason at all. "It's people they feel sorry for. See, there's Potter, who's got no parents, then there's the Weasleys, who've got no money--you should be on the team, Longbottom, you've got no brains."
Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy. "I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy," he stammered.
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not daring to take his eyes from the game, said, "You tell him, Neville."

"Keep the egg in the fire, 'cause their mothers breathe on 'em, see, an' when it hatches, feed it on a bucket o' brandy mixed with chicken blood every half hour. An' see here--how to recognize diff'rent eggs--what I got there's a Norwegian Ridgeback. They're rare, them."
He looked very pleased with himself, but Hermione didn't.
"Hagrid, you live in a wooden house," she said.

"This is Harry Potter an' Hermione Granger, by the way. Students up at the school. An' this is Ronan, you two. He's a centaur."
"We'd noticed," said Hermione faintly.

"Neville," Ron exploded, "get away from the hole and don't be an idiot-"
"Don't you call me an idiot!" said Neville. "I don't think you should be breaking any more more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!"
"Yes, but not to us," said Ron in exasperation.

"But Harry--what if You-Know-Who's with him?"
"Well--I was lucky once, wasn't I?" said Harry, pointing at his scar. "I might get lucky again."

"After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. You know, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all--the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."

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Random Ramblings

>> Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Living up to my slogan of "Random Ramblings", here are a few opinions, thoughts, and questions about nothing in particular:

You know that old question, "Which came first the chicken or the egg?"
I know the answer.
It was the chicken who came first.
If the egg had been first, it would have never hatched because there wouldn't have been a chicken to incubate it.

Also, science claims that tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables. Which I think is just ridiculous.
Technically, they're fruits because there's some sort of rule that any plant that has seeds is a fruit. Well, maybe they're the exception to the rule.
It's just not common sense.
Have you ever put tomatoes in a fruit salad?

And I don't care if Pluto is now classified as a "dwarf planet". Scientists just seem to have nothing better to do than turn tomatoes into fruits and planets into dwarves.
You'll always be a planet to me, Pluto.

One more question: "Is the glass half empty or half full?"
For me, it depends. If you fill a cup up, it's half full. If you pour some out, it's half empty.
It's just logic.

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Jealous

>> Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Wales, a man named Simon Dale decided to build himself and his family a "Hobbit house". I am so exceedingly jealous.
Aren't you?



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Because of Winn-Dixie

>> Saturday, October 8, 2011

Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo

I've always really liked the book. Just recently, I realized that I hadn't read it in years and decided to do some serious re-reading.

Isn't it wonderful when a book is even better than you remembered?

I've never had a book melt my heart before, but this one did. It made me both laugh and cry.
Because of Winn-Dixie just tells you a story in a honest, open-hearted fashion. It was as if a close friend was telling me all about Opal and her dog, not as if I were reading it. Reading it was like looking deep inside someone's soul, and being trusted to do so.

Man, it's such a good book.


Objectionable Content: A few uses of the Lord's name in vain.

Related Reads:
Bridge to Terebithia-Katherine Paterson
The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs-Betty G. Birney
The Tiger Rising-Kate DiCamillo

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Quotes Part 1

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Picture by Brittney Lee
He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination.

Piers, Dennis, Malcolm, and Gordon were all big and stupid, but as Dudley was the biggest and stupidest of the lot, he was their leader.

Of course, his birthdays were never exactly fun--last year, the Dursley's had given him a coat hanger and a pair of Uncle Vernon's old socks. Still, you weren't eleven every day.

"Well, it's best yeh know as much as I can tell yeh--mind, I can't tell yeh everythin', it's a great myst'ry, parts of it..."

"Hagrid," said Harry, panting a bit as he ran to keep up, "did you say there are dragons at Gringotts?"
"Well, so they say," said Hagrid. "Crikey, I'd like a dragon."
"You'd like one?'
"Wanted one ever since I was a kid--here we go."

"Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?" said one of the twins, with an air of great surprise. "You should have said something, we had no idea."
"Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it," said the other twin. "Once-"
"Or twice-"
"A minute-"
"All summer-"
"Oh, shut up," said Percy the Prefect.
“How come Percy gets new robes, anyway?” said one of the twins.
“Because he’s a prefect,” said their mother fondly. “All right, dear, well, have a good term - send me an owl when you get there.” She kissed Percy on the cheek and he left. Then she turned to the twins. "Now, you two--this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you've-you've blown up a toilet or-"
"Blown up a toilet? We've never blown up a toilet."
"Great idea though, thanks, Mum."

"You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
He held out his hand to shake Harry's, but Harry didn't take it.
"I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks," he said coolly.

Percy the Prefect got up and shook his hand vigorously, while the Weasley twins yelled, "We got Potter! We got Potter!"

"What's the matter? Never heard of a wizard's duel before, I suppose?"
"Of course he has," said Ron, wheeling around. "I'm his second, who's yours?"
Malfoy looked at Crabbe and Goyle, sizing them up. "Crabbe," he said. "Midnight all right? We'll meet you in the trophy room; that's always unlocked."
When Malfoy had gone, Ron and Harry looked at each other.
"What is a wizard's duel?" said Harry. "And what do you mean, you're my second?"
"Well, a second's there to take over if you die," said Ron casually, getting started at last on his cold pie.

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To Sierra

>> Thursday, September 29, 2011

I couldn't comment on your blog, (my computer wouldn't let me) so I decided on a different way to contact you.
That book you reviewed, Forsaking All Others, is incredibly badly-researched and false.

I am a Mormon, and I just wanted to clear some things up about our beliefs.
We do not approve or practice polygamy. It's a very common misconception that we do, but we don't.
And we don't believe we're going to become Gods just because we're Mormon, either.

If you have any other questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

Thanks:)
 
God bless.

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Award

Sierra/Arries over at Whispers of the Wind awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award!
Thanks, Sierra!

The rules are:
List 7 things about yourself and
award 15 other lovely bloggers.

Here goes:

1. If I have a choice between researching online and researching by book, I'll choose to do it by book.
2. I'm often called an old soul.
3. I can't play an instrument to save my life.
4. I get cold very easily.
5. I'm a big history buff. To me, it's just one dang good story.
7. I wish I could apprentice myself to a famous artist for a few years (Like, say, Tony DiTerlizzi), just so he could teach me his wisdom.

I award:
Gwyn at A Celtic Cowgirl
Marian at All That is Gold
Ivorydancer at Another Once in Time
Margaret W. at Artisan of the Shire
Liz Patterson at Awake
Madeline Claire at Daisy Chains
Gray at Gray's Locket
Margaret at Hello, World

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The Lost Thing

>> Saturday, September 24, 2011

I've always been a fan of Shaun Tan, ever since I picked up The Arrival in the library.
So when I heard that his short film The Lost Thing won Best Short Film last year, I was happy for him.
It wasn't until recently that I got my hands on the book that the short film was based on. And it wasn't until recently that I watched it.
It's beautiful. If anything deserved to win, it's this. It's true to Shaun Tan's book and even adds a few things of its own. I loved the music, and the animation is wonderful. It perfectly fit the story of childhood creativity lost and found.

You can watch it below:



 I also noticed a few things added into the shortfilm from his other books.
This Lost Thing resembles an animal from The Arrival.

If you look closely at the newspaper, you can see an article titled "The Amnesia Machine", a story from Tan's book Tales from Outer Suburbia.
One of the Lost Things shows the cycle of a flower on its screen; a flower that resembles one from The Arrival.

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Kickstarter

>> Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Travis Hanson, creator of the webcomic The Bean, is doing a kickstarter project to raise money in order to publish Volume One.
Please support him and his amazing webcomic! It's well worth it.
Click here to access the Kickstarter.

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The Rogue Crew Quotes Part 3

>> Friday, September 16, 2011

Picture by chichapie

"Aye, there was nothin' wrong with the song, mate'twas the singer. Our Log a Log's a champion dancer, an' a great leader, but when he opens his mouth t'sing, it sounds like a score o' frogs bein' pelted with rocks!" His companion, Banktail, agreed fervently. "I was goin' to say that meself, but I didn't want to 'urt the feelin's of any nearby frogs, mate!"

"Does that suit ye, Rake?"
The tall, dark captain unbuckled both his blades. "Aye, that suits me grand. Ah'm fair starved!"
Jum Gurdy murmured, "If I ever meet a hare who isn't, 'twill be a rare sight..."
Rake overheard the remark. He stared at the otter cellardog. "Ye were sayin'...?"
Jum replied neatly, "I was just sayin', Cap'n, we ain't had a bite to eat since last night!"

"Rest now, an' don't fret. Those killers will cry tears o' blood when we meet up with 'em. Ye have my oath on that!"

"Well, I'll even the score, I tell ye. We won't rest 'til we can dance on their graves, every last mother's son o' the cowardly butchers!"

Big Drander splashed out with his paddle, soaking the colour sergeant. He apologised, grinning from ear to ear. "I say, Sarn't, sorry about that, me jolly old paddle slipped. Didn't get too wet, did ye?"
Miggory held a paw toward Drander. "I dunno—tell me wot you think, big feller." Drander stood awkwardly, reaching out to touch the sergeant's paw. As he did, a quick flip from Miggory toppled him into the river. Miggory watched as his comrades rescued Drander. "Ho, sorry h'about that, young sah, me jolly h'old paw slipped. Didn't get too wet, did ye, wot?"

"Allus remember, young sah, the quickness o' the paw can deceive the eye—h'an' like h'as not, blacken it!"

"Mark my words, young 'un, there's trouble ahead for our Abbey. Big trouble!"

"Lookit 'ere, mates. We got uz a rabbet!"
The old rat nodded eagerly. "I et a rabbet once—'twas nize!"
To their surprise, Miggory showed no fear, but joined in amicably. "H'I don't think ye'd like me, though. H'I'm a hare, not a rabbit. We're tough, y'see."
A nearby stoat poked him in the back. "Tough, eh? 'Ow tough?"
Rounding on the stoat, the sergeant knocked him out cold with a thunderous straight left. "H'is that tough h'enough for ye, scumnose?"

"Now, do ye like proper, thick woodland stew?" She held up a paw before Drander could reply. "I mean real Woodland Stew, made to an ole Wiltud recipe. With every veggible ye could shake a stick at chopped up into it. Aye, an' full o' chesnut'n'acorn dumplin's."
Overcome by emotion, tears sprang to Drander's eyes. "Chesnut'n'acorn dumplin's, marm, it makes me weak just thinkin' about 'em. Oh, my giddy grandad, where is it, marm?"

The pace stepped up, faces were set grim, weapons grasped tight. On to the Abbey of Redwall, and bad fortune to any foebeasts who dared stand in the way of such warriors!

"Come on, me buckoes, let's give the scum some steel!"

Throwing away her blade, she pleaded, whining piteously, "Mercy, sir, mercy. Can't ye see I'm unarmed?"
Trug swung his sword, gritting out the words. "Aye, I'll show ye mercy, just as ye did to my young sister an' her friends the night ye murdered them!" The young hare's words echoed in the Seer's head. It was the last voice she ever heard.

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9/11: Ten Years Later

>> Sunday, September 11, 2011

Has it really been ten years since that day?
But no matter how many years pass by, we must never forget.


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I See Why

>> Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recent news is that Disney pulled the plug on thier movie adaptation of The Lone Ranger.
Why?
I'll give you a couple of good reasons.

The first reason was because of the budget, which was reaching as high as $250 million!
But that's not all that made the company hesitant to continue.
Johnny Depp was going to play Tonto (who was going to be the main character despite the title "The Lone Ranger").
And he was going to be a werewolf.
That's right, a werewolf.

The movie was planned to be an "Indian-spiruality werewolf film." (The CGI for that probably explains the budget.)
It was going to have tons of effects, with Tonto as a werewolf ripping people to shreds...

So, I can see why they pulled the plug on this.
I mean, a Lone Ranger movie starring Tonto as a werewolf?
I don't even know why they bought the script.

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Cigars of the Pharaoh

>> Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cigars of the Pharaoh
by Hergé

I'd never heard of Tintin until the upcoming movie came to my attention. Determined to know if the movie would be worth seeing, I sought out the comics. But there's a wondrous lack of Tintin books in America, and I was forced to make subsequent trips to Barnes & Noble just to fully read "The Secret of the Unicorn." I was charmed, but still hesitant, so I went to my library and ordered the only Tintin book they had: Cigars of the Pharaoh.

I really enjoyed it--there was adventure, wit, and lots of hilarious comedy. Tintin was clever and the author equally so. There was always a surprise in the plot.
I'm not saying that this ensures that I'll like the movie. Maybe I will, maybe I won't.
And I'm not saying that I'm now a die-hard Tintin fan. I mean, I've only read two books so far.
But so far, I like what I'm seeing.

Favorite Line:












 
Objectionable Content: One use of the Lord's name in vain.

Related Reads:
Um...anything Tintin?

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Classical Viva La Vida

>> Saturday, August 27, 2011

This is a beautiful video that is sure to brighten up any day. Made me happy just watching it.

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The Rogue Crew Quotes II

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Picture by chichapie
Queen Dukwina squeaked scornfully, "It's over, rabbetssurrender or die!"
Buff Redspore glared at the queen. "Nobeast asked for your comments, marm!"
Rake moved casually, flicking the sand with a footpaw as he spoke with Scutram and Miggory. "There's no way out o' this, mah friends. If we fled, they'd pick us off one by one, eh, Lieutenant?" Scutram smiled grimly. "Fled, sah? Fled, did ye say? Sorry, but we ain't much good at fleein', doncha know."

"His spirit will march alongside us,/we'll honour his memory and say,/he died for truth and freedom,/aye, an' that's the warrior's way."

"My name's Sage, like the herb. What's yours, friend?"
Her tough-looking companion replied, "Kite the Slayer, Kite like the bird, and Slayer because of the number of vermin I've slain."
It was said so coolly that Sage felt bound to enquire, "Oh, an' how many vermin have you slain?"
The ottermaid showed Sage her shield, which was scored around its rim with a circular pattern of nicks. "Can't remember the exact count—have to start on my axeshaft soon, though. Just call me Kite, they all do."

"Anyhow, ye'll never guess wot 'appened next!"
Rekaby gave the young otter a long-suffering glance. "No, Swiffo, I'll never guess what 'appened next, but I'd be pleased to hear it from ye."

"By the way, just how many vermin are there?"
The hairy vole, Fiddy, spread his paws wide. "Lots'n'lots o' the scum. Far too many for you to scoff."
Sircolo stared down his beak at Fiddy, then sniffed. "Don't fret, little furbag. I'll give it a good try!"

"Welcome, welcome, welcome, on a fine spring night! Are ye friend or foe or just plain slow? Don't answer that question. Ye ain't too slow, an' ye must be a friend, 'cos if ye were foe, we'd have slain ye long ago!"

He fell asleep, feeling safer than he had in a long while.

"Look to the blade, my point ye must take,/to whence the winds will bring evil in their wake,/for goodbeasts arriving, I bid ye wait,/they bring aid on the day thy need is great./Two warriors that day will answer the call./The most unlikely creatures of all!"

"Complainin' an' moanin', that's all yore good for!"
Ricker pointed indignantly to himself. "Wot me, a moaner an' complainer? Hah, wot've I got ter moan an' complain about, eh? Sent off on an idjit's errand, wanderin' round inna dark, covered in stinkin' marsh slop, an' all because the cap'n wants ter git 'is paws on two stoopid liddle 'ogs. Ho, no, bucko, I ain't complainin'. Lookit me—I'm 'avin' the time o' my life!"

He turned back to Voogal, still smiling. "You'll answer, thick'ead, an' they'd better be answers I like, or things might get a bit hot for ye."

They drifted into sleep on the dark night-shaded stream, cheered up by the fact that they had a good companion, and a real tough one, to boot.

"Chest out! Chin in! Left right together!/Eyes front! Back straight! Can ye smell that heather?"
After the song, one of the sea otters, Garrent, chuckled as he chatted to Big Drander. “Wot sort o' marchin' song is that? Bit sissy, ain't it?"
Drander kept his eyes front, muttering out of the side of his mouth, "Tell that to Cap'n Rake. He wrote it."
Kite Slayer, the tough ottermaid, scowled darkly. "Ain't the sort of marchin' song I'd be caught singin'. Would ye like to hear a Rogue Crew song? One Skor wrote?"
Trug Bawdsley nodded affably. "Jolly nice of ye, missy. Carry on an' warble away."
Without further ado, Kite launched into the sea otter tune. "O there's blood on the axe,/an' there's blood on the shield,/an' blood on the swordblade, too./An' if yore a foe of our Rogue Crew,/they'll be blood all over you!/Blood blood! Blood blood—"
Corporal Welkin interrupted before Kite could sing another verse. "Oh, well done, miss. What a jolly little ditty, a right pretty paw tapper, wot!"

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"Here is a Story That's Stranger Than Strange..."

>> Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zorgamazoo
by Robert Paul Weston

Zorgamazoo has to be the quirkiest book I've ever read. For one thing, it's all in rhyme. For another, it's the story of an adventurous girl and a not-quite-so-adventurous Zorgle who set out to rescue the Zorgles of Zorgamazoo, and end up saving the world from the terrible fate of boredom.

Katrina Katrell was an extremely likable, plucky heroine. The descriptions were witty and the book was loads of fun. Now I wish that every book was told in rhyme.

If Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss had teamed up to write a book, Zorgamazoo would have probably been the result.

So if you've no time for whimsical things,
for pirates and gadgets and creatures and kings,
if you spurn the fantastic to never return
then
PUT THIS BOOK DOWN...
for it's not your concern.
-Excerpt

Favorite Line:
"Hey You!" she cried out./"Do you want some advice?/How 'bout/kidnapping /people is not/very nice!"

Objectionable content: A few mentions of bodily functions.

Related Reads:
James and the Giant Peach-Roald Dahl
A House Called Awful End-Philip Ardagh
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator-Roald Dahl

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Help

>> Monday, August 15, 2011

The Help
rated PG-13 for thematic material.

I swore I would review every movie I saw in theaters this year, but there's really not much to tell.
After the first five minutes I left and went to go watch Harry Potter instead.

Why did I leave? Because:
a) I wasn't following any of it,
b) There was too much swearing,
and
c) The characters were having innapropriate conversations.

So, yeah.

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Yet Another Harry Potter Post

>> Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Harry Potter cast shared memories from filming the eight movies over a decade, and I thought I'd share them with you.
Enjoy.
(Belongs to Entertainment Weekly.)

"I was pretty intimidated by Ralph [Fiennes; Voldemort]. I still am to a certain extent. In real life he is quite sweet. But in terms of his acting, it can make you quake in your boots a little bit."
—Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)

''When it came time to shoot the big kiss between Ron and Hermione, Rupert [Grint] and I cracked under the pressure. We were just dying from laughter. It was quite hard to take it all so seriously, but we also knew we had to do it right, because we had only been building up to this moment for 10 years and seven films. I think we got there at the end. I was nervous and giggly, but it was good.'' —Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)

''The first thing I shot was the very last scene of the first film, when we're all on the train and leaving Hogwarts and going home. It was my first time anywhere near a film set. There were so many people and so much going on. It was very confusing, and very overwhelming, and yet also really, really exciting. From the very first time Chris Columbus said, 'Action!' I was just on this amazing high." —Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
''[Prisoner of Azkaban director] Alfonso Cuarón asked us to write essays about our characters. I didn't do mine, because I didn't think Ron would. Or that was my excuse. At the time, I was actually quite busy with the real schoolwork involved with my exams, and I just didn't do it. But in the end, it felt right because that's what Ron would have done.'' —Grint

''Chris wisely kept me away from [Daniel, Emma, and Rupert] before our first scene together. So in that sense, the first person they met was Gilderoy Lockhart. They seemed to enjoy and be fairly flabbergasted at his extraordinary personality, hair, and teeth. But I got to know them after that.'' —Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart)

''I wore a fat suit in [films] 3, 4, 5, and 6. And I had false teeth in 3 and 4. I didn't mind it — until I was 14 or 15 and there were girls on set. I was a bit like, 'Why me?' '' —Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
 
''My [filming] was always contained to seven weeks of the year. The rest of the time I was making other movies or directing. But as soon as I put that Snape costume back on, I sort of go, 'Oh, yeah...I know you.'' —Alan Rickman (Severus Snape)

''To be a schoolboy up in the gallery watching Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith at the National Theatre, and then [decades later] to find yourself sitting in a canvas chair, laughing with them on set... It's very special.'' —Rickman
 
''Had I ever thought that I would be doing a scene with Gary Oldman that lasted a month, as my fight scene did, I would have always imagined it to have been Shakespeare, not a wand battle on a papier-mâché hillside. But still! It was more fun than people should get paid for.'' —Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy)
 
''We all read the books when Jo [Rowling] released them, along with everyone else. It let us experience the books as readers and as fans, not just as people who work on the movie.'' —Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)

''I was so scared of Alan that it took me about five years to muster up a conversation with him. But he has an incredible sense of dry wit. While Snape is a very daunting character, Alan is actually a very friendly guy.''
—Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)

''All these props and sets started to feel real, the more you used them over the course of the films. The wands weren't just a prop or a piece of wood. They were very personal to you. There was something very, dare I say 'magical,' about it.'' —Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick)

''Oh, I loved my [onscreen] children! I loved them! The fourth film, I wasn't in it, and I got postcard from them saying, 'Come back, Mom! Dad can't control us!' The whole feel of the job was very homey and very family. I've never known a film [series] like it. I suppose it's because we were there for 10 years and we saw the children grow up and the rest of us grow old. It didn't ever feel like work.'' —Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley)

''When you use a wand, it's like [playing Nintendo] Wii. You use a lot of strength, but you're not actually hitting anything, so the next day your arm will be killing you from all that wand action.'' —Natalia Tena (Tonks)

''I was an obsessive fan of the books and movies. I remember the day [director] David Yates phoned the house and said I'd be doing a screen test with Daniel Radcliffe. I was pretending to be like, 'Yup, that's fine.' And I was freaking out inside.'' —Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)

''[My twin brother Oliver and I] actually didn't find out who was going to play Fred Weasley and who was going to play George Weasley until the read-through. We had the scripts and everything. I honestly did prefer Fred, and that's how it turned out.'' —James Phelps (Fred Weasley)

''I've always played bad people or funny people. I've never really played such a nice person in my life, certainly not for 10 years. So that was a really nice departure for me, and I still get sort of goggle-eyed 10-year-olds staring at me in supermarkets. It's quite odd, really.'' —Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid)

''I remember the very first take of the very first scene that I did; as I minced out of Dumbledore's office, Chris Columbus shouted, 'Shut the door behind you!' And I asked, 'Could I just wave my arm and the door shuts by magic?' And he said, 'Sure!' And I thought, 'This is going to be a ride.' And it was.'' —Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy)

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I Am An Otter

You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".

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