Of Comets, Hobbits, Dwarves, and Dragons

Time for my Tuesday geek-out with my step-grandson.  We just finished watching this week’s Cosmos episode – “When Knowledge Conquered Fear“.  Every time he visits, my grandson asks to re-watch the previous episodes of this program.  I’m so glad that this is something we share – an intense curiosity about the natural world and the worlds beyond our own.  He, like me, is fascinated by space.  I hope his imagination continues to kindle as we enjoy Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan‘s version of Cosmos.

This episode provided a fascinating overview of the scientific contributions of Hooke, Newton, and Halley.

After dinner, we’re watching “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug“.


Although we saw this together at the theatre, we are both willing to re-watch movies and shows we enjoy.

I really like Martin Freeman as a younger Bilbo Baggins and love Benedict Cumberbatch voicing Smaug.  Seriously – what is not to like about Benedict Cumberbatch?



Great Expectations

This weekend I finished reading Markus Zusak‘s young adult novel “The Book Thief” and watched the movie with my step grandson.


With a stellar cast, I admit great expectations for the film adaptation.  This is one of those occurrences where I loved the book so much that the film, in spite of its excellent acting, was a mere echo of the emotional resonance and expert storytelling in the novel.


In fact, I almost wish that I waited longer between finishing the book and watching the movie.  I suspect that distance may have allowed me to interact with the movie on its own, rather than continuously comparing it to the book.

I waited to read this novel because I worried that I needed to be in the right head-space to handle the subject matter.  I am glad I waited for springtime to read it – the sunshine helped me focus on the truly inspirational, life-affirming messages in the this novel.

My grandson, who is 11, had a lot of questions about how people could be so mean to other people.  I think the movie provided us with the opportunity to begin to talk about this period of history.  I wish that there were easy answers to the questions he asked, but of course, there are not.

I would love for him to read this book and hope I can convince him.  I think it may be a little advanced for him, but I found the writing so compelling and engaging, I think with support he will enjoy the story and learn a little about this dark period of human history in the process.

For those who think they do not like young adult fiction, please put aside that bias and read this book.

A Date with the Universe

I love space.

Tuesday evenings, my step-grandson comes after school to hang with me while his dad is at school.  Tonight, my grandson and I are watching the second episode of COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey together and I feel like we are sharing something amazing together.

I watched the original Cosmos, Carl Sagan‘s amazing series, with my parents and grandparents as a girl.  As an adult, I’ve read most of Sagan’s books, fiction and nonfiction, and know that he made science interesting, exciting, and accessible to me.  His contribution to my interests continues to unfold with this new series that is as much an opus to his genius as it is another voice in the conversation.


At first I wasn’t sure about the splashy animations, but I’m sold and officially addicted after the first episode, which my grandson and I watched together over the weekend.  I plan to make this one of our special things – maybe Neil deGrasse Tyson will ignite a passion within him much as Sagan‘s writing and the original Cosmos did in me.

Even if it piques only a fraction of his interest, the time spent together enjoying this amazing show is a worthwhile end to a Tuesday.

Fabulous Freeze

Took the opportunity to spend a little quality time with my step-grandson tonight.  After he finished his homework, and we finished our dinner, I surprised him with “Frozen“.

Utterly Amazing!

Utterly Amazing!

He was lucky enough to see it in the theatre, but tonight is my first viewing.  I bought the HD movie through Amazon and have been super excited to see it.

I do not need an excuse to enjoy animated films – or any form of musical – but it is so lovely to share the experience with my grandson.  At 11, I’m not sure how much longer he will want to spend time with me, let alone think cartoons – especially musical ones – are cool.  For now, he thinks “Let it Go” is fantastic and we’re belting it out together!

I’m so glad that I made the decision to purchase rather than rent this movie – the animation is lovely, the songs are wonderful, and there are no words to describe the soul-stirring beauty of Idina Menzel‘s voice.

For a girl who loves the warmth and sunshine, watching the stunning animation in this frozen world stops my heart.  There is so much artistic talent evident in this film that you could watch it a hundred times and not see all the gorgeous detail or tire of the music.

Tonight is magic – music, laughter, and time with my favorite little dude watching a fabulous film – life is good.  If you haven’t seen it, buy or rent “Frozen” now.


Valentine’s Day Geek Out

This Valentine’s Day, I am going for the geek out!

After a much-needed appointment to get my hair cut and greys blended away before my work meetings next week, my step grandson is coming for a visit.  Our plan is to enjoy a nice home-cooked meal and then settle down for a date with the Doctor.  Doctor who, you might ask.  Exactly.

We will be watching the Doctor Who movie, featuring the 8th incarnation of the Doctor.

Valentine's Day Geek-out!

Valentine’s Day Geek-out!

The DVD came in the mail a few weeks ago, but my grandson hasn’t visited since its arrival so tonight is the night.  This film features the Doctor in San Francisco!  How cool is that?!

I’m looking forward to a little family time with my favorite little dude.  On a day that is traditionally focused on romance, a single person who is not in a relationship might feel lonely or displaced.  I feel lucky that I have something fun planned for my Valentine’s day!

Watching the White Queen

Tonight, when I get home from Zumba, I have a date with the DVD player.  I plan to watch at least part of “The White Queen“.  The DVDs that I pre-ordered months ago arrived in my mailbox this afternoon.

I know several people who enjoyed this series on STARZ months ago, but because I chose keeping my gym membership rather than paying for television, I missed the made-for-cable series until now.  In preparation, however, I listened to the Audible audiobook of “The White Queen” by Philippa Gregory, one of the novels in The Cousins War series that inspired the cable production.

I enjoyed the first three audiobooks in the series, but have not yet listened to more of the books.

Hopefully the STARZ production lives up to my high expectations.  From the buzz online, I suspect it may even exceed a few.  Looking forward to a few days of immersing myself in this dramatic interpretation of history.

Gatsby a la Baz

The spectacle of Baz Luhrman’s  “The Great Gatsby” cannot be understated.  The screening I attended this morning was attended by a gaggle of choir-istas sporting feathered and sequined headbands.  I felt rather underdressed, myself.


Although I didn’t dress for the occasion, I loved nearly every over-the-top minute of this film.  Not exactly the Gatsby of my literary memory, the film resonated on the same emotional frequency.  I really loved Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway and  Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.  Other than Leonardo’s final “Daisy”, I felt lost in the spectacle of the movie.

I also loved the soundtrack – more than I guessed I would.  The hype over the music made me imagine it would feel contrived or forced, but it worked in a way I didn’t expect and resonated with me emotionally.

I’m glad that I spent my “entertainment” budget on the cheap show this morning.  It was a show worth a full-price ticket.