Sandman Retrospective: Season of Mists

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“There must be a Hell, for without Hell, Heaven has no meaning.”–Remiel

Season of Mists is one of my favorite story arcs in Sandman. It brings us back to the main arc, continuing on from events portrayed in The Doll’s House.

In this arc, Destiny receives a visit from the Fates. Destiny is the eldest of the Endless and carries a book with him–a book that tells him every single event: past, present, and future. This volume also introduces Delirium, the youngest of the Endless. Delirium was once known as Delight, but she soon turned insane, turning her into what she is now. Gaiman has said that he based Delirium on Tori Amos. Because I’ve listened to (and enjoyed) her music, I cannot think of a better model. Tori Amos is insane!

Desire once again attempts to twist the knife in Dream, reminding him of how Nada spurned his affections, causing him to condemn her to Hell. Surprisingly, even Death agrees that Dream should go to Hell to undo this great wrong.

When Dream arrives in Hell, he’s in for a shock.  Lucifer has decided to abdicate the throne and hand it over to him.  This will kill two birds with one stone.  He is still rebelling against God’s plan and he will also gain revenge against Dream for humiliating him in the first volume.  He doesn’t need to kill Dream; those who wish to own Hell in Lucifer’s place will do that for him, or so he thinks.  Dream does not wish to rule over Hell.  To make matters worse, with no ruler, the damned are rising.  Death is too busy trying to keep her realm in check to help her brother.

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One Faith, Many Paths: Nathan Joseph Sitton Marchand

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This is an interview with a very good and very funny Facebook friend and a fellow blogger! Thank you for taking the time to fill out these questions, Nathan.

1. Tell me about your childhood and family.
I’m the oldest of four kids. I have two brothers and a sister. My parents are wonderful people, but they’re quite “normal” compared to most of their kids. My sister is the closest to “normal” out of all of us. I’m a crazy creative type. One of my brothers has mild autism and is a brilliant artist.That sometimes led to some conflict, but they’ve been mostly supportive. I was homeschooled starting
 in first grade because public school kindergarten was horrendous. My teacher hated me. I’d get my work done first and get bored, so I’d try to talk to the kid next to me. Instead of giving me more work to do like a good teacher should do, she made me stand in the corner. Eventually, I was given my own little desk separate from the class. She never told my parents about my “problem” until the end of the school year. Mom took me out and started homeschooling me at a time when that wasn’t popular. I can’t thank her enough.
2. What evidence can you give for God’s existence?
 Look at the stars. The universe is vast, complex, and breathtaking. It couldn’t have happened by accident. Matter is not eternal. It had a Creator. The more non-Christian scientists try to move away from Intelligent Design and Creationism, the wackier they sound (and they call Christians the crazy ones!) 😛 I also like C.S. Lewis’ argument in Mere Christianity about how murder has been universally condemned by all cultures in history, indicating evidence of a God-given morality.
3. What is your favorite biblical verse and why?
I have several: Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 22:37-39, and Ecclesiastes 3:11. The first because I love the imagery (eagles are a favorite animal of mine); the second because it summarizes the entire Christian faith in a few sentences; and the third because it shows that all humans have an inkling of the Truth, that they know how things were and should be, even if they can’t explain it. It testifies to the image of God we bear.
4. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus?
That changes from time to time. I like several for different reasons, but currently it’s Job. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind to God and dare to question him. He also put the smackdown on his so-called friends for spewing well-meaning but inaccurate philosophies at him. I find that my faith is much like his.
5. Tell me about your blog.
A: It’s only a “blog” in the sense that it’s a WordPress site. Regardless, I use it to promote my books, writings, and videos, and to connect with my readers/fans. I post news updates, unpublished short stories, and musings on writing and creativity. I also have a Youtube Vlog called “But I Digress”.

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Film Freak: Divergent (movie review)

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Since I reviewed the Divergent trilogy, it’s only fitting that I review the movie adaptation of Divergent.

I went into this movie with no expectations. For every great adaptation (like Ender’s Game or the Harry Potter movies), there are several bad ones (the Disney version of The Black Cauldron), or downright awful ones (City of Bones and Starship Troopers). So I wanted to be open-minded.

First off, I did have some problems. I felt the movie rushed through the first act. The book took a lot of time to let you get to know Beatrice and her family.  It did a great job of world-building, letting you see how each faction lives.  The movie doesn’t let you get to know Beatrice before the Choosing Ceremony where Beatrice decides her faction.

However, there were some things the movie did right.  The movie didn’t has as much time as the book, but it was paced well after the first act.  Beatrice and Four were still very compelling. The dystopian version of Chicago was well-designed and looked similar to how I pictured it from the book. The woman playing Beatrice did a good job.

So, was it good? For the most part, I could forgive the movie’s flaws.  I realize that every movie has only so much time to tell a story. Books always have all the time they need to tell a story (for the most part), so movies always have to compensate.  Some do it well, and some don’t. Final word? See it for yourself, and be open-minded. You might like it.

15 Fun Facts About “It’s A Wonderful Life”

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 I have decided to start a new series called “15 Fun Facts About Movies”.   It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the most famous Christmas movies ever. It’s my #1 favorite Christmas movie and I watch it every year.  But how much do you know this movie? Here’s some great facts I found.

  1. The movie is based on the short story “The Greatest Gift” by Phillip Van Doren Stern.  Among the differences are:
  • George Bailey’s last name is Pratt in the original story.
  • Clarence is not named in the story. In fact, he’s not even an angel.  George is instead helped by a mysterious brush salesman who gives George his wish that he was never born. He also tells him to pose as a brush salesman so that people will be more willing to talk to him.
  • George Pratt has only one child in the story, not three like in the movie.

2.  Originally Cary Grant was going to play George Bailey, not Jimmy Stewart.

3. RKO bought the story and sold the rights to Capra’s Liberty Films for $10,000.

4. Carl Switzer, better known as Alfalfa from the Little Rascals (or Our Gang, depending on your preference) shorts, appears in the movie.  He’s the man who is talking to Mary before George invites her to dance at his brother’s high school reunion. (he’s the guy who opens up the floor that reveals the pool underneath)

5. Kingston Falls, the setting for Gremlins, is modelled after Bedford Falls, the setting for It’s A Wonderful Life.

6. The movie did not win any of the five Oscar nominations it received.

7. The movie was such a disappointment in its original theatrical release that Capra was never able to recover with any of the other movies he made afterward.

8. Sesame Street‘s Bert and Ernie were not named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver. That is an urban legend. However, there is an Elmo Christmas special that makes a joke about the legend.

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