Toronto Finds (Take 3) and more!

This week just started and its been pretty awesome!

I went really chill with Toronto and managed to survive the weekend, eating/drinking and shopping for about $250, which is absolutely amazing, seeing as I used to easily spend double that amount.  I’ve tamed myself a bit 🙂 My self-control was in full mode.

Still, I think I managed to get some good stuff…

First up, lets check out MOVIES!

Movies!

Movies!

I snuck in my Les Miserable 25th anniversary soundtrack.  They were on sale at Pacific Mall so I grabbed World War Z and Pain and Gain Blu-ray. I already saw World War Z and if you’re interested, you could check out the review HERE! As for other movies, last time in September, I had wanted Unbeatable but they weren’t available yet.  This time, I managed to get it.  Special ID is the new Donnie Yen movie (YAY!) and Floating City was the buffer to make the deal look better and I realized that Netflix just added it.  Feels a bit like a fail but thats okay.  Ending off is one of my long time faves that I’ve been wanting to add to my collection and Costco in Ontario had it for a decent price: Anne of Green Gables 🙂 No one does Anne as well as Megan Follows.

Next up, Costco also had some pretty awesome deal on books so I grabbed these ones!

Books!

Books!

I’m a mega fan of  Amy Tan. The Joy Luck Club is one of my most favorite books and even the movie wasn’t such a bad one, in my opinion, but I haven’t seen it in ages. I will though, then I’ll review it.  As for Jodi Piccoult, I loved My Sister’s Keeper so I thought I’d give this one a chance.  I’ve read some good reviews of it.

Hmm…I actually think thats all I bought, other than a bunch of food that I ended up eating before taking any pictures.  It was mostly Dim Sum from T&T Supermarket and some Egg rolls.  Groceries, you know? I’m sure you don’t need to see that!

If I ended it here, this would be kind of a pathetic post so I figured I’d share some of my surprisingly quick arrivals 🙂

The first is something that I had bought on Groupon for a Photobook and I managed to finish it right before the deadline! It didn’t come with a lot of long hours looking through pictures and making hard choices for the layout.  It was supposed to be a surprise gift for my boyfriend, but he’s way more decisive than I am, so I asked him to help me and that really sped up the process!

Photobook cover

Photobook cover

Random inside pages

Random inside pages

Excuse my messy desk and all those newspaper snippets my mom likes to stick under the glass on my table! I’d say it looks pretty cool! The pages all of different layouts and pictures, its pretty  much the highlights of all our trips: summer vacations, day trips, weekend getaways, for the past 5+ years of our relationship.  I actually dug out a lot of pictures that I completely forgot I had and we had a good laugh while putting it together.  Fun times 🙂 That flew from Malaysia (according to DHL tracking) to here in just a matter of days, arriving on Friday (but I was out of town) so I got it on Monday.

Next up, yesterday’s one delivery turned into TWO! WHAT?!?!?!? Apparently all those random things I get over the months all came one by one. I had bought speakers from Groupon for my cellphone since I enjoy listening to music when I shower or work around the house, plus, its light and portable.

Veho Speakers

Veho Speakers

I listened to it for a bit and it seems pretty decent.  For the price I got it at, I wasn’t expecting anything grand and it turned out alright.  Always a plus!

I also ordered a shirt from These Quiet Sounds, which is also a clothing company owned by one of the Boyce Avenue brothers, Fabian.  I was curious a few weeks ago and went to check out the site and totally fell in love with this tank top! BUTTERFLIES 🙂

These Quiet Sounds Tank Top

These Quiet Sounds package

These Quiet Sounds tank top

Here’s what it looks like!

I LOVE IT! I was a bit nervous because the fabric they used usually makes me look fat but hey, it looks pretty decent to me.  Maybe it was the 400 crunches I did before I tried it on, but I’m going to take the positive side of this: I probably toned my body up.  Just have to make sure I keep doing it, right?

See, the post didn’t turn out to be that pathetic, right? I actually have one more package that should be on its way for a Kickstarter project.  After that, everything will calm down as I prep for Christmas gifts and crafts.  Then it’ll be my turn to send things out! Plus, I have to try to keep all expenses minimal…I’ll do a big reveal in December after the Nanowrimo November craze has passed!

Things are going back to some form of normality! I do have a movie review going up soonish, maybe tomorrow, maybe later today. I have a few movies on Netflix expiring on December 1st so I have to get those watched: Dead Silence, Children of Men & Martha Marcy May Marlene. Whether I get all those watched, I have no idea but I’ve read some positive reviews each of them so I’m going to try my best to see them all.  3 movies in 10 days sounds very doable in my mind at least.

Okay! I’m done rambling on! 

Any of the three, you’d suggest me to see more than the others? How’s your Nanowrimo going? Do you like to support Kickstarter projects? Have you started thinking about Christmas gifts already?

Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

My original intention was to finish reading World War Z before the movie hit theatres, however, that simply didn’t happen.  There were many reasons that I decided to see the movie without finishing the book, the main one being that the adapted version had about 10% correlation to the book.  If you happened to miss the review, you could check it out HERE! Moving on…

world war z by max brooksWorld War Z by Max Brooks is about the aftermath of the world surviving this zombie apocalypse.  The story is written as the person (Max Brooks) who interviews many of the men and women who witnessed it first hand in different countries with different backgrounds, contributing and taking advantage to or of the situation as it happened.  In their stories, we see the underlying social, economic, technological, political, etc issues.  The interviews and stories are separated in the phases of this war the almost ended humanity, from the warnings to the blaming, the panic, how it evolved in USA and then relating it to all around the world and eventually the way it ended, so to say, revealing the world they lived in as everyone rebuilds their life and many situations are reversed.

What started as a rather slow buildup in the beginning caught on slowly as each story progressed in their way and in their own direction. I supposed it was intended to be like that as in recounting the early stages of the zombie apocalypse and the warnings was slower.  It also reflects on the issues of ignorance.  The warnings were ignored and many eventually in the next part blamed it on the government or leaders, whichever organization for not acting at the correct time which would have possibly prevented this from happening or at least nipped it in the bud before it became a worldwide pandemic.

There was one part where I felt (as a Canadian) that there was a very pessimistic view of the American value.  I just wonder if an American reading this would feel that Max Brooks had a very strong feeling of hatred towards the population’s tendency to be self-centered and ignorant because for a few stories in the section of blame that was what I read between the lines.  However, those parts were also the ones that peaked my interest in the whole book from there.  However, if you think about it, many times we live our own lives and ignore a lot of issues going on around us until it is too late so maybe he was just using one population to reflect how many common people would react to a situation like this if it were to occur.

For the most part, this book was very intriguing.  The way it was set up was also very good.  The only issue I had was as I got to the end, I couldn’t remember the names anymore and in the last section when some of the previously interviewed men and women were saying their final parts and what they got out of this war, I had to flip back to the front and look at the countries and recheck their story to not be confused with what they would say.  That was slightly frustrating.  If it had an index or table of contents of the countries, that would’ve helped.  Just saying…maybe a lot of other people have better memory than me, but sometimes, after reading 30 different stories over 2 weeks, it gets a bit hard to recount it.

Overall, a great concept and an interesting read.  It spread through the worldwide spectrum and reflected the urgency and desperate situation that the zombie apocalypse brought and the different ways people fought it in different countries.  The majority of the stories were ones that would tug the heartstrings or make you sympathize or connect with the character, some other ones would make you wince in anger at the negative effects and how some people still was too selfish to see the big picture and many times causing it to be worse.  Its an eye-opener in general of human nature when put in the most gravest danger.

I gave it 4 of 5 stars in Goodreads but honestly, maybe it was more of a 3.5 (but I like to round up).  🙂

Have you read this before? How did you feel about it?

World War Z (2013)

I did not end up finishing the book World War Z before seeing this movie but am about 80% done with it. Also, I love zombie movies and this has been one of my most anticipated of 2013!  I have been avoiding to read the reviews but have skimmed a few in the last few days with mostly average ratings.  The only thing I knew going into this movie was that there would be close to no correlation to what the book was about.  It would have crazy, super speed zombies.  I went in with a little bit of expectations but tried to keep them minimal. I’m not sure if it was an obligation for everyone else but I had to see it in 3D and I chose this flick to try out the new cinema VIP experience with comfyspacious theatre seats and all.

Now lets get on with what I thought about it!

world war z poster

Director: Marc Forster

Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse

Former United Nations employee, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) has settled down to spend more time to be with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and his two girls Rachel and Constance.  On the way to school one day, they all get stuck in traffic in Philadelphia that turns out to be a zombie attack that he learns has already invaded almost every corner of the world as he tries to seek refuge from his UN connections.  He learns that this turned into a Zombie pandemic and has killed many of the leaders/governments and threatens to wipe out humanity.  This is when they call Gerry in to help find a way to save the world starting from where it all began.  He ends up traversing various countries as he follows the clues.

WHOA! Honestly, that was my reaction when I got out of this movie! Check Twitter, I posted it up there.

Gerry Lane and his family

Gerry Lane and his family

I might be the only crazy person saying it but I LOVED IT! I mean, the story was not very thick but they were weaving this out of a book that recalled the World War Z through stories of different people so they could take some facts and pretty much make up the rest of it to make movie material. In any form of pandemic or whatnot, its about finding a way to save humanity (in this case) from zombies with zero information at the beginning.  Its about a man that walks into a mess that was caused by the ignorance of the authorities of many countries.  I didn’t expect the plot to get any more than it did..although to be absolutely frank, the ending was a bit lacking (just a bit).

Overload of Zombies!

Overload of Zombies!

However, this action/drama/thriller/horror (whatever the genre was) kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time! There was a part in the beginning that startled me and I let out a little scream in the theatre (and I never did that before) which led me to holding my hand over my mouth the rest of it so to not do it again.  It was intense and they progressed the story quickly to keep the audience intrigued with the situation.

world war z overhead

I thought the intro sequence was fantastic with all the news broadcasts.  I thought the directing effort from Marc Forster was pretty impressive. He did a great job at showing the immediate urgency of the whole situation.  We can see how everyone is pretty doomed…no one will get out of this unless we have people willing to make sacrifices. The grandness, massive spread and the uncontrollable breakout, the helplessness was all reflected especially in those overview shots.

world war z plane

Brad Pitt makes an amazing effort here.  He carries the movie from start to finish.  I’m usually talking about the importance of character development and in this one, he’s pretty much on the move so much that we don’t see too much of that.  His job was to really go all out and find a way to save everyone and at the same time, save his own family.  That was Gerry’s goal.  Brad Pitt convinced me every single minute that he went from immense love for his family to being someone who was willing to do everything to protect himself, the people around him and in turn, his family.  This was a desperate situation and it required desperate measures.

Just a little thing, this movie doesn’t take a huge standpoint in the light of the novel itself but it does throw out some of the underlying themes through the dialogue and thats the theme of humanity’s ignorance and carelessness.  That was the basis of what happened.  In the end, this would never have happened if the country leaders had taken a warning seriously.  (Is that considered a spoiler?)

Brad Pitt in World War Z

My boyfriend and I loved this movie.  A part of the review here is from what he thought (that I agreed with after a little after movie discussion).  It achieved what it had set out to do.  I don’t care much for gore even if this relates to zombies but this movie was about the desperate situation the world was in and finding a solution and all with sending just one man to do it. It was supposed to focus on being dramatic at parts, intense for most of it and it did all that!  There was some startling parts, mostly in the beginning, which added to the whole horror experience.  There were moments that 3D did add to the beauty of the flick.  Not to say that it wasn’t majestic in itself to look at from all the shots of the swarms of zombie invading the different cities.  AND, Brad Pitt does a awesome job!  I’d say thats a win.

I loved it quite a lot! 🙂