The Continuing Adventures of Myself – Part The Fourth

Monday 23rd November: Another set of plans scuppered this Monday night, but I’m partly accepting the blame for this one as, with hindsight and after having it pointed out to me repeatedly, I probably could have done more to help avoid the situation. Basically, through a lack of communications, the cinema trip is not happening tonight but tomorrow instead, mostly due to the fact that even though I sent a Facebook post and a text, the other person was not aware that I had actually bought the tickets. SO, the valuable lesson of the day is this (and this, you can quote me on) – When organising any events, if  you have to assume anything at all, assume that the other person knows nothing! It’s just safer that way, in general. Anyway, it’s moved to tomorrow now. Speaking of which, I’m actually only in the office for two days this week, which will be a change of pace. We’re not in tomorrow because there’s a meeting being held out of the office, Thursday will actually be Thanksgiving (which I’m looking forward to, as I haven’t been a part of anything like that before) and we’re apparently not bothering going in on Friday, because it’s the day after Thanksgiving. SO, a majority of this week will be spent doing work from other places, which means I might have to start getting inventive with the places I go to work in order to keep it fresh and new! So, we’ll have to see how that goes, and fingers crossed that tomorrow turns out better than the mis-communication of tonight!

Wednesday 25th November: No post from yesterday, but that’s actually due to last night going off without a hitch. Well, mostly hitch-less… Jennifer and her boyfriend actually turned up 5 minutes into the film due the typical LA traffic, but oh well! This pretty much made us even since I received heat the night before for a lack of communication! Anyway, she enjoyed the film a lot, which is probably partly down to the fact that she hasn’t actually read New Moon or much of the other books, so most of it was new and fresh to her. Anyway, by the time we get out, it’s about 9 45 and I last ate at about 2 30. They apparently already ate before coming out, so I didn’t want to drag them to a restaurant just to watch me eat, and they’re both tired by this point anyway, so I let them go and refuse a lift home from Jennifer as she has to go the opposite direction, and it wouldn’t make sense to take me back to the house first. IN DOING SO, however, I miss the bus that takes  to the end of my street by just 2 minutes, the next one of which isn’t due for an hour and a freakin’ half! So, slightly annoyed, I catch two different busses instead, and somehow end up back at my street at the same time that first bus drives by… How that happened, I don’t know, because this was nearly an hour later! Anyway, it’s now 11 by this point, and I can no longer be bothered to cook a main meal. My resort? Peanut Butter on Toast. WIN! Anyway, fairly easy-going day today. It’s the day before Thanksgiving today, so people getting out early, eager to start what is effectively a 4 day weekend. Personally, I’m sort of looking forward to attempting to consume my bodyweight in turkey and a variety of complex carbohydrates! Anyway, time to close down for now, I think… Tomorrow could need a lot of energy…

Thursday 26th November: I think that perhaps Thanksgiving can be given the unofficial title of “Carb-Fest, USA” for the most part! Don’t get me wrong though – today I had some of the nicest home-made food I’ve had since being here! There were at least three different kinds of potatoes (including sweet potatoes), stuffing, all that sort of stuff… and a massive, 24lb turkey! SO MUCH meat… and that was before the three different kinds of pies they had for after, including my two separate servings of pumpkin pie. No wonder I feel so tired right now, it’s an entire day dedicated to meat, carbs and American Football! To be honest, I’m sort of wondering why we don’t start doing this EVERY Thursday! Anyway, it was great being there in Venice. Met loads of people there today, had some great conversations with people I’d only known for a couple of hours or so, ate an awesome meal and everyone was so happy to be there with all their friends and stuff, then wound down watching the new Star Trek film together… really, just a great kind of atmosphere for the whole day. I can definitely see why it’s such a great ideal for a Holiday! Still, I’ve been told tor points of Thanksgiving is the amount of left-overs you have – turkey sandwiches with stuffing, turkey curries, pumpkin pie every day for a week… it’s all about that! Anyway, the long and short of it was that I had a really great time, and it was a huge experience of American culture that was totally worth experiencing. Plans for the long weekend are now set in motion as well, so I’ve got plenty to do. Strange to think it’s only Thursday…

Friday 27th November: Had a pretty interesting day filled with exploring today. A friend/work-mate of my mum’s from out-of-town is staying for a while in LA and he said that we should meet up, so he brought his friend and her daughter to come and get me and we went out to eat at an Islands, which was great. But then we went to the Getty Centre just north of Westwood, and the Getty Centre is basically a HUGE art gallery on the top a hillside, and it over looks the entire area of Westwood and Santa Monica. Today was a really nice, clear day which meant that the view from outside the Getty Centre was REALLY great, and you could see for miles and miles into the distance! Some of the sights were amazing, but the garden they had there was just as nice, especially at the time around sunset when we were there. I’m not really a very art-y type person, and I never really claim to be ; I never tend to go to art galleries, or claim to know that much about art, but the Getty Centre was actually a really nice place to go to and just see all these really nice, artistic displays as well as the sights outside as well. Anyway, that’s mostly what today was about, and it was definitely something very different! Right now, there’s pecan pie downstairs that isn’t going to eat itself…

Saturday 28th November: Surprising how sometimes a lack of actual plans can bring with it just spontaneity and exploration, isn’t it? I did the thing today of going to the Westside Pavillion to finish off that shopping for friends (and even got myself a shirt from Hot Topic almost as a reward. Score!), then decided to hit Santa Monica for a bit, but wasn’t planning on staying for too long. I got to the Promenade at about 4 ish, just as the suns lowering in the distance, and decided to go look for this place Finn McCool’s, since I now know where it is and also worked out that a bus should go right past it. It does, I found it pretty easily, and nothing much was happening tonight, so I left it for another evening and went back to the Promenade (stopping on the way at a Vans store and finding a type of Vans shoe that deliberately looks like Moccasins – the best of both worlds, for work and play!). I eventually settle on eating at a massive sports bar called Yankee Doodles, only to discover once I’m there that a college football game is on later between UCLA (a.k.a The team we should be supporting) VS USC (a.k.a. University for Spoilt Children), who are local rivals. I get quite excited about this, as it’s really the first big sporting event in recent history in which I actually know what’s going on! Plus, there are fit girls going around promoting Jagermeister by giving away loads of free shit! Not that it needs promoting anyway – the stuff is the blood of Satan – but if it means I get free flashy things to wear round my neck, I’m pleased! So I stay and watch half of it before I have to go get a bus (getting quite into the game as I do and feeling more and more manly in the process!) but not before stopping at Pinkberry’s since it’s right in front of the bus stop. Again, I realise that this is exactly the sort of atmosphere I’d really like more of and to be a part of with friends as well, and how great it would be to do that sometime. Anyway, it’s late now, and I have to be getting on and start thinking about what to do with tomorrow as well!

Sunday 29th November: Very layed back, chilled out day today, as almost every Sunday rightly should be! Decided to hit Venice Beach today – the safe haven of anyone who has ever been called a hippie! Weekends are the best time to go, as theres a bigger market and more people are selling all their craft stuff, so it’s likely you’ll find a bit more interesting stuff there. Plus, it was a very clear day, so it was definitely beach weather, which made a change as I haven’t really done beach-like stuff since it’s been just me here. There’s also this huge skate park on Venice, where loads of people go to just hang out and skate all day. What impressed me most, though, was how many young kids were there that were just as good as the Adults. And by young kids, I don’t mean teenagers, I mean children as young as 6 years old!! And these kids were SO impressive with what they could do! Seeing things like that, and so close to a beach, you do realise that it’s not just an entirely different atmosphere in these parts, it’s and entirely different culture altogether – not just from English culture, but from places in America too. It’s sort of hard to explain unless you;ve experienced it, really. Anyway, so I sat in the sun for a bit and then wondered down through the market to see what people were selling today, before going back to Third Street for another short walk around there, before finally coming back to the house (stopping to get blank CD’s on the way) to eat and stick on a bunch of laundry. This laundry thing is something I’ll have to start getting on top of – once again, I technically ran out of socks on Thursday, and have had to do some clever “recycling”… Anyway, back in work again tomorrow, and for the first time in quite a while I’m actually excited about going into work! Strange, I know, but stranger things have happened… Time to make some Mix CD’s for people now, then start a brand new week!

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The Continuing Adventures of Myself – Part The Third

Monday 16th November: Coming into the third week of my being here has been a bit of a rude awakening, in part. I’ve realised that even though I SHOULD be doing something different each night (which is hard for most people when they’re somewhere they know!), I’m sort of not. Every other night or so, perhaps, but still the days are limited and I have to remember that. So, more arrangements are being made and weekends and evenings will hopefully start shaping up. A new week at work brought new projects, so the Reality TV show will be the new thing that I’m working on for a while. Also, I saw on local news that people have been queuing and camping outside a cinema in Westwood (which isn’t TOO far from where I’m working…) for the Premiere of New Moon which takes place tonight since (ready?) Thursday last week!! What the Hell?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the film, and I’m pretty sure I’ll really enjoy it and everything, but these people aren’t even SEEING the film! They just want to be there when the cast walk down the Red Carpet! This is when I realise just how much madness beautiful Hollywood celebrities can cause! Anyway, that’s about it for this Monday, if you’ve stuck with it to this week, congratulations! You’re officially a Stalker! Just kidding, thanks really!

Tuesday 17th November: One more uneventful evening, but it’s laundry night, so theres actually a reason for it this time! And it’s a pretty good thing too, since I was technically out of socks yesterday… Work was pretty good today, I’m doing some more creative work on this Reality TV show treatment, and the ideas have started flowing now that I’m up to the main episode breakdown of the show, so I’ve definitely got the work cut out for me! Anyway, we all got so into the work that we lost track of time and ended up finishing half an hour after we normally do! Managed to actually find a MySpace site yesterday that had a live streaming video of the Red Carpet premiere of New Moon, and suddenly realised that the thing people had to que for 3 days to witness in person, I was watching on a computer, plus had a better view, plus watched actual interviews with the cast, plus I was in a warm room, plus I could turn down the volume, and finally (and here’s the best bit) I could do it all in the comfort of my pyjamas! Who gets the better deal in the end? Anyway, my contacts are starting to dry out a bit – Chill out time, then workout, then sleep, thank you very much!

Wednesday 18th November: Bit of a last-minute change to the plans for today. I get woken up at 7:30 not only by my alarm going off, but also my phone as well. This firstly confused me to no end because I had no idea what was going off or why, but then the Boss-Man calls me and says that he might have something bordering on a cold, so neither of the people running the show would be going in today lest they infect everyone else that works at the Facility. Shame, but not in the sense that I get an extra hours sleep out of it. So, I go back to the coffee place from last week at Howard Hughes Centre, since it’s a short bus trip away, I know that I can get Wi-Fi for free, its quiet because it’s a bookshop and I can have decent coffee any time I like! This then ultimately frees me up in the evening as well since I don’t have to spend time travelling back either, so I walk the 5 minutes from there to the friends of the family whom I often mention (from now on we can call them Lora and Hans) and we eventually decide to go out and eat. So they take me to the restaurant they go to normally 2 times a week or so, a Mexican place called the Hacienda Del Rey. And it is some of the nicest Mexican food I’ve had! I’ve been there before, of course, but it makes me realise how un-educated we as British people are to proper, authentic Mexican food! So it was nice to have a meal out after living off of coffee for the day, which was unexpected. Big midnight screening event for New Moon tomorrow at the Howard Hughes, so I’m going along even if it’s just to refund my tickets (I draw the line at literally fighting people to get to good seats!) and see the pandemonium that will be happening! Also, I’ve started taking pictures a lot more frequently now, so I’ll eventually have a nice little collection of them going soon.

Friday 20th November: No post for yesterday, I realise that, but here’s the explanation. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how it came around, but here’s basically what happened: I went to take the tickets for New Moon back (because as I explained, I refuse to fight people for good seats, nor que for endless hours for the pleasure of doing so), and the line for mine ISN’T as bad as I thought by the time I arrive at about 9 30-ish. But still, by this point, the fact remains that I would not be seeing it with anyone else that I knew, and whether I would get a decent seat was still an uncertainty. So I leave it (for now) and take ONE of my tickets back for a refund, which they happily give me (I hang on to the second in case anything develops…). So, I go over to Borders because there are some things that I have to get for people as Christmas presents and such, and I start talking to people who are also in line, for the same one as me, that are surprised at my wanting to take my tickets back. “Come in line with us” they say, “We’re kind of close, and we don’t mind you going in with us.” Brilliant, I think to myself, these people are really nice and they hardly know me. So, I consider the possibility of seeing it with people I don’t really know instead. By this point, I’m debating whether it’s worth being “one of the mental crowd”, salivating rabidly for a movie they aren’t seeing for another couple of hours. Anyway, I leave the que to go and see the people I said I’d come by and say hi to (Lora and her friends) who are waiting in the bar, and already have their seats in THEIR auditorium. I say that I would stay and watch the film if I could stay and watch it with them, but there’s no likelihood of doing that since they’re in the 12:01 screen and I’m not – a screen that is completely sold out. Or so I’m currently under the impression of.

SO, by this point, it’s getting to the time where I either have to 1) leave immediately to catch my very last bs back to the house, 2) stay and talk longer and then get a taxi home or 3) stay and watch the film with people I hardly know. Someone does what I normally do and irresponsibly rationalizes it for me by saying “Well, it wouldnt matter if you were NEXT to us in the screen, because we wouldn’t be talking anyway. You should see the film and then meet us after, it’s the same thing.” This is true, but its the social activity of seeing the film WITH people I know I’m searching for. By this time, the screen I DO have a ticket for has gone in, I’ve lost my place and there won’t be any good seats. I take my final ticket back, all prepared to get a taxi home by this point. But WAIT – Lora’s friend accidentally printed off her ticket as well as Lora doing so, so by default they have an “extra” ticket that isn’t really a ticket. They’re meant to be scanning these, but they arent, they’re just tearing them. So I see if I can get into the same screen with that and just find any old seat that will be semi-near the people I know. This, evidently, is a total success. After scouring the screen for anywhere that will be free, I resort to sitting in a space in between seats at the back that I assume is meant to be for disabled chairs (how they’d get to that place, I don’t know, but still…), all too happy to sit on the floor (or, again, leave before it starts) for the duration of the 2 hour film. BUT WAIT – Lora and her friends have asked the people in front of them if one of their seats is taken, and they’d saved an extra one by accident!

SO, somehow I go from being in the mindset that I won’t be seeing New Moon until after the opening weekend by which time everyone will have seen it and be talking to me about it, to seeing it WITH the people I wanted to see it with, AT a midnight showing, IN a seat which is in the middle of the row at the back (one row and one seat over from the people I know!), AND (somehow) AFTER taking my tickets back! By the time the film starts, I can hardly believe the series of events that have just passed me by, and yet I’m sat there watching the film exactly the way I had intended to originally but was denied the possibility of doing so!

Anyway, the film was totally amazing, and I’ll probably post a review of it soon (though by the time I post THIS, it would already have been posted…), but there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this strange, convoluted series of events – You never know exactly what life will put in your lap, unless you open your arms and embrace giving it a try! Well, that, and that it can be beneficial to have clever friends that are willing to pull a fast one…

* * *

 Busy, busy, rushed, hectic but ultimately lively day today. Doing all that writing in the morning set me back a bit further than I thought, and I didn’t really make it out of the house until about 2. Aimed to go into Santa Monica Third Street today to meet the person that rented my family and I our house the first week we were here, because she wanted to see how I was settling in. As it turned out, I arrived there earlier than I believed she was getting there, so I ended up having time to do stuff as well. I THOUGHT that I might be able to get some work done if I could find somewhere with the Wi-Fi to do it, but as it happened my time got taken up talking to someone very friendly that worked in one of the shops. This ultimately led to me getting precisely zero work done for the day, so Sunday looks like the day I’ll be doing all of that instead! Anyway, feels like a much longer day today despite the time I slept till. Also, I found out some rather valuable information that I might have to remember in future – if you go to a populated restaurant in Santa Monica, and you talk, you WILL get mobbed by teenagers that just love your voice!! This, of course, made me laugh quite a bit, but they were actually very nice about it. One of this group is actually an actress named Danielle who has just finished acting in a Disney Channel movie Starstruck. So, naturally, I’ll be looking out for both that movie AND her being in it once I get home to a place where I know how to work the remote!! Ok, long day over with, time for rest now.

Saturday 21st November: No set plan for how the day would go today, but that actually turned out to be a benefit to me. I ended up making it to the Westside Pavillion again in enough time to do some leisurely shopping for friends there, and managed to knock off half of my Christmas buying list there (pretty much entirely at Hot Topic as well. I really do love Hot Topic…), so a lot of that is done and not having to be worried about again. The bad news is that its taken the amount of money I had on my card right down, so I’ll have to start making some calls to banks soon in order to make some transfers. That is, if I actually want to be able to afford to do things again! Anyway, mid-afternoon comes round, and I decide to hit the Third Street Promenade again. It’s almost a different atmosphere there on the weekends when compared to the weekdays. It’s more lively, more people are out, more people are performing, and the shops don’t shut until at least 9. People are there shopping until about 11 if they can!! So I spent some time there taking in everything, and then decided to eat at this cool little place called Cabo’s Cantina, which does some basic Mexican food, a lot of Margarita’s and several huge sports screens on all the walls! It also made me realise that it would be awesome if (since we’ve started discussing it now) my friends could eventually make it out here for a bit next year with me, because thats exactly the sort of place we’d probably go and eat. On more than one occasion as well, since it was pretty reasonably priced! So, one Cabo’s, one Pinkberries and one bus ride later, and I semi-screw up the timing for the buses, and end up getting back about 30 minutes after when I would have liked at about 10-ish. But then, this is America, and places are open ’til all sorts of hours on the weekends, so 10 isn’t actually really late to be getting a bus at all. Anyway, back at the house now, and its time to sort out all the stuff I got today into one, easy-to-pack package!

Sunday 22nd November: Not quite as interesting a day today, but thats because I felt the need to do some work today. Plus, Sunday is my usual day for Skype-ing the family to check in and let them know everything is going well. It’s also normally my day for going and getting things from the shop as well, so I had to stock up on milk and stuff (resorted to toast this morning through lack of milk for cereal. These truly are the hardest of times…). So, that mixed with a bunch of work has made for a semi-productive day today. There’s meant to be a Lakers game on tonight, which I would normally get to Lora and Hans’ for, but tonight I’ve got some things I’ve got to sort out before I can sleep, and I’m trying to get a little bit more work done as well. However, the concept of watching a film before going to sleep is starting to win me over… Anyway, one half of this trip already over with. It feels almost like no time at all, but I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve been able to get out and do things some of the time, so that I’ve made as much of it so far as I feel I can. But, after Thanksgiving, I’m probably going to try and get out for even more things to find! Some people I know will be more available after Thanksgiving as well, so it would be good to get out with them at least once as well. And Thanksgiving itself should be interesting, too. I’ve never been a part of this holiday before, but it is one time when people get together and just eat. And people generally make all sorts of different stuff to choose from for each course as well! Anyway, it will be interesting to see what its like. Shave time now, then film methinks…

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Contains Spoilers)

After a long, convoluted series of events that finally led to me getting a perfect seat in the same auditorium as my friends at a midnight screening in L.A., I actually managed to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon on its opening day. Of course, much to my expectations, the atmosphere was complete pandemonium – people were queuing for ages just to get good seats, most of the people there were wearing branded T-shirts of the film, some of their Mums were wearing branded T-shirts as well, inside the auditorium was packed out and people couldn’t stay still from the excitement, etc… It was complete madness, and part of me was a little shocked that I got mixed into it all. But  sort of couldn’t hear that part of me, for there was a bigger part of me that was saying “You’re getting to see this film at midnight with your friends in a different country, what the hell are you complaining about??”

All the seats erupted into screams of delight when Robert Pattinson appeared on the screen… In a trailer for his next film Remember Me. “Good God” I thought “This is just the bloody previews!!” That, fair people, is exactly the sort of madness that The Twilight Saga stirs up in some people. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why people get so into it, as the subject matter speaks to certain people in the same way that Harry Potter does and people go just as mad for that as well. But then, a majority of the people there were also there to see sexy vampires and buff werewolves, so you take the good with the bad, I suppose. Me? I was there because I got into the storyline of the book and because I knew there were going to be some awesome Werewolf scenes as well!

Anyway, once the film actually started, you were able to tell immediately that it was not the same director as before (Catherine Hardwick had other projects to work on and Chris Weitz took the helm for New Moon), as it opens with the shots of what’s in the book as the prologue – of Bella Swan running through the town square in Italy trying desperately to get to the clock tower. This wasn’t done in Twilight, which made sense as it was just the start of the whole story anyway, but it still meant you’re able to distinguish the different styles of direction straight away. This is something I personally thought would benefit the film, as you’re not expecting it to be anything like the first one that way. Which it completely isn’t!

As almost the entire population will already know by now, the storyline to New Moon takes what was set up in Twilight (i.e. the relationship between Bella Swan and her Vampire love Edward Cullen) and completely rips it to pieces after one of the Cullens nearly kills her after she cuts herself. After all the Cullen’s then disappear from town, she is left alone and faces life without her true love, which consequently leaves her with her best friend Jacob Black, who is part of a tribe of Native American’s (the Quileute Tribe), who turn out to be Werewolves, which are the only other thing in the world that can kill Vampires… understand? Good.

The scene that everyone was hoping, nay praying, that they got perfectly spot on is the scene where Edward has to tell Bella that him and his family are leaving, and that they can’t be together anymore. This scene, I have to admit, they got perfect. A majority of it follows exactly how it happens in the book, down to the tone of voice each of them uses, but it’s also how the scene first starts out that really sets everything up. Now, we’ve all been there – on the receiving end of a break up line, but we all know how the conversation has to start. So when Edward utters in a low tone “Let’s go take a walk”, everyone is automatically in the mindset for what is about to happen. What starts as a gentle opening of “It’s safer for you if I’m not around you”, turns into a full on “You’re not good for me. I don’t want you to come with me”. And as the scene progresses, you do get the sense that it is becoming more and more devastating for these characters. Tears and sniffles are exchanged throughout the cinema at this point, as one second Edward kisses Bella goodbye, and the next he has disappeared from sight, supposedly never to be seen again. The devastation that hits Bella after this is very well crafted, as she then slips into a nearly comatose state for the months that then follow, drifting emptily through life just as is described in the book.

I could go on, with a scene-by-scene breakdown, but I’m just going to stick to the main bits! The thing with New Moon is that it is very much Jacob Black’s story, and how he discovers that it is his birthright to be part of the Quileute Wolf Pack. Another thing that was established early on after the first teaser trailer that the producers definitely HAD got right was the Wolf effects in the film – The Quileutes aren’t the traditional Werewolves so much as people who can spontaneously erupt into giant wolves, the size of stallions. This, when described in the book, is very cool. This, when seeing on the screen, is freakin’ bad-ass!

The first time you get a glimpse of one of them (the Alpha of the pack, when Bella is crushed by Edward leaving and is stranded in the forest) it IS just a glimpse – but its more than enough to keep people on tenterhooks to see more! Which means the first time you ACTUALLY see the Alpha Wolf, closely followed by the rest of the pack, you ARE on the edge of your seat and I personally was completely gob-smacked at how incredible and formidable they have made the Werewolves look on the screen!

The transformation of Jacob Black from the skinny best friend, to the beefed-up super-jock with a chip on his shoulder is gradually seen over the first half of the film as well. Like I said, this is very much Jacob’s story, and Taylor Lautner has clearly put a lot of work into his look and his acting to get this role perfected. Throughout the rest of the film, even though Bella’s reckless stunts on a motorcycle are her only means of seeing visions of her lost love, by the time she knows all about the Quileutes you are wanting her to pick Jacob over Edward, because of his dedication to her and his promise of constant protection from any outside dangers (namely the vengeance-seeking Victoria, whose mate got killed in the first film).

The good thing about adapting a book into a film, is that can be perspective-less. This opens up a variety of new possibilities for direction. Because the book is only told from Bella’s perspective, we only know and see what SHE knows and sees in the book. In New Moon, there is an entire scene where Jacob and the rest of the Wolf Pack hunt down, fight and chase Victoria through the woods of Forks. This was definitely NOT in the book, but the fact that they managed to work in more Werewolf scenes into the film than there is in the book was an unexpected surprise that made all the difference. Clearly, this is because they spent so long developing the technology to get the Wolf effects just right, that they wanted to make it worthwhile and not just have a couple of scenes with them in, but instead give them more screen time than is suggested in the book, because clearly this is what people have really come to see. And its 100% worth it! The Werewolf scenes in New Moon are phenomenal, and you find yourself damn near cheering them on as they’re chasing Victoria.

The only thing that I will say is that there is quite a fair amount of slow-motion during these sorts of scenes, and whilst it is mainly used to show (ironically) the speed with which these creatures can move, it is only borderline distracting when you want to have a bit more action going.

The film then develops into a race-against-time to stop Edward from provoking the Volturi, who basically are the Vampire Royalty that reside in Italy. They lay down the law and destroy anyone who doesn’t obey. So when Edward gets the wrong end of the stick and thinks that Bella has somehow killed herself, he decides to piss off the Volturi by showing people he’s a Vampire on the most crowded day of the year at 12 when the sun is at its highest. This means that Bella has to stop him from doing something he might then regret, which then leads to them all going to the chamber of the Volturi. Dakota Fanning plays the creepy, spooky young Volturi member Jane, who many were opposed to when it was announced, but she actually plays her part with the right kind of malice that her character requires. Micheal Sheen also plays his part of Head Volturi member Aro with the right kind of finesse mixed with sinister to get the character just right.

Anyway, the scenes with the Volturi are the set up for how the story will continue after New Moon and into Eclipse next year, and even though there is no such scene in the book, a massive Vampire fight breaks out in the middle of the Volturi’s chamber. Well, of course it had to, right? The Werewolves have had their fight scenes, now it’s time for some Vampires to have a cool little skirmish with some awesome effects! I got the feeling that this was sort of thrown in to not make either side look more dangerous than the other, but it was still fun to watch as these guys smack each other about the room and through concrete and stuff. Mixing in the violence into the romance, as it were.

By the time the film comes to a close, you are left at the scene where Jacob reminds Edward of the treaty the Quileutes hold with the Cullens, and what could happen to Bella should the treaty be broken. This is a tense enough moment in the book. So, when it suddenly breaks out into an unexpected scrap between Edward and Wolf-Jacob in the film, the audience are taken a-back as the rivalry that will drive the next film is formed, and people are left debating who could take who in a fight to the death! The film then comes to a slightly unforseen (even though people know this is the end of the film) when Edward makes his proposal for Bella’s transformation. Literally. This bit of dialogue was not meant to be introduced until the start of the next book, but the fact that they have ended the film on the words “Marry me, Bella” means that people will be begging for the release date of the next one to come as soon as possible. Clever, Chris Weitz, clever.

Anyway, overall, the film is awesome. It’s exactly what I expected it would be – the Werewolves are bad-ass, the script is very close to the book, minus a few scenes that help the story along everything that needs to be in there was there, and the high-running emotions and tensions are all felt throughout. So, it’s definitely everything that it needed to be, and possibly a bit more too. Also, if you’re weren’t already on the side of Team Jacob before seeing this film, by the end you’ll be cheering on the Wolves as loudly as everyone else!!

The Continuing Adventures of Myself – Part The Second

Monday 9th November: Attempts to make further plans for going out scuppered once again by my friends classes going on for two hours longer into the evening than expected, and for tomorrow as well. I’m starting to think that perhaps go-to, last-minute contingency plans might not be such a bad idea… But for now, there’s always cooking a meal and the big pile of ironing to sort me out for the evening. It’s no night out in the city, but fuck it, it’s got to be done sometime!! Productive day today, even if it was just intern-type research work. Which is essentially part of what I’m here to do, so I should really expect that! Possibility of some American TV for the evening, perhaps highlights of the Lakers game last night is on… Or House, I’m happy with either…

Tuesday 10th November: A mixture of curiosity, impatience and a wanting to explore got the better of me this evening, so I went to go look around the Howard Hughes Centre by myself for a couple of hours after getting back. The place itself is quite simple – mostly restaurants and a massive cinema. But there is also a Borders there with a coffee shop and free wi-fi, so until I can find a nice day to go and do work on Venice Beach when the weather will be right, that will be my “from home” workspot in future! Also, a little piece of advice for those that might otherwise be unaware: Restaurants here display their cleanliness rating in the windows, so if you see anywhere that doesn’t have one showing, or one less than a B, don’t bother. BUT, what I learned tonight was this – though a place may have been graded as an A, if it looks like it sells rubbish food then its likely that they will still serve you rubbish food, just in an exceptionally clean environment. So, choose wisely where you eat! Also managed to buy tickets to a midnight screening of New Moon, but it’s unallocated seating, so the guy said if it turns out that loads of fans in Edward Cullen T-shirts que for hours to get the good seats, I can return my tickets and go somewhere with better seating options! As for work, today was the polishing stage of the research, so new working projects are soon to come. Exciting stuff from adventurous days. Music sampling time now, closely followed by sleep time.

Wednesday 11th November: Basic day today, since my thirst for adventure was thoroughly quenched yesterday. Working on some new projects at work, so I’ve got plenty of reading, writing and research to be getting on with all of a sudden. But thats fine, because we’re not going in tomorrow, so I can set myself up somewhere decent and cozy outside of the house to work from instead. Hummus and pita for dinner? Why not? Minimum preparation, maximum hunger satisfaction, and its NOT a rubbish chicken bowl from a rubbish fast food restaurant with bleachy-clean floors! Happy times!! I don’t ask for much really… Anyway, simple night tonight, maybe some American TV if I can work out how their cable system works and don’t get annoyed by the adverts!

Thursday 12th November: I’m currently sat in a Borders coffee shop, with a massive blueberry scone and a cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee (I know I’m in California – the Company is called “Seattle’s Best”, just to avoid confusion!), and working hard at my research. Today was meant to be a day when it rained, or was at least clouded over for the day. And they say that when it rains in California, it freaking POURS, so that worried me a bit. However, the operative word here is “meant” – I get outside, and there are a few light clouds in the sky, perhaps blocking the sun every so often, but not to a horrendous degree. Bright? Sunny? Still rather warm? Basically the English equivalent of a lovely spring day? If this is what a “rainy day” is like in California, that’s something I could quite happily deal with!! Ok, work time now, perhaps time for some burgers later at this good-looking place I saw on my way in. It has an “A” in the window, but lets keep our fingers crossed that it also reflects the food quality this time!! One month left already? Craziness…

Friday 13th November: No burgers last night, which totalled up to one very hungry Drew, but it’s ok because it got re-arranged to tonight, so either way I end up getting burgers! Didn’t feel like TOO much work got done today, but that’s also because a lot of the work today involved reading in preparation for working on Reality TV show treatments, and a lot more thought and preparation goes into writing the pitch, one-sheet and treatment for a Reality show than you’d think!! So, yes, I’m staying late at the office, which is something I’d never thought I’d say, but there you go. Mind you, it’s only really by comparison – the people I’m working with left an hour early to start their weekend, so I decided that I should stay and do a little more stuff before leaving and going for burgers… mmm… On another note, someone bought me a box of cereal from a health food store which is the equivalent of Health Food Lucky Charms. “Healthy” Lucky Charms SHOULD be an oxymoron, but the proof is in the testing of them, so as you wait with baited breath to hear the results, I shall be happily enjoying the experience!

Saturday 14th November: The so-called “Healthy” Option Lucky Charms turned out to be not too bad at all – not too far off from the original, but you can tell they’re not the same. Less marshmallows, and they’re not bright amusing colours either, which sometimes is part of the experience. But for the first-thing-in-the-morning sugar boost in your cereal, it definitely does the job, and if it’s organic foods then I’m counting that as a bonus!! Mission Successful then! Last night was great fun as well – my friend Jennifer and I went to Islands (which is the place that makes the great burgers) and had a really fun night out. I THINK I’m bringing her round to the idea of visiting England eventually, but it may take a bit more coaxing than one conversation! I introduced her to The Vitamin String Quartet as well, which she instantly liked, and I found that there are all these different things that we both like that I had no idea of before. It’s almost a shame I can’t find someone just like her at home, really!! Haha! But the night was very cool, and I look forward to another soon. Not the most productive of days today, though – I rode the public transport not too far up to the Westide Pavillion, a huge mall with a cinema and stuff alongside it as well. I love the place because there’s a Hot Topic store there, and that’s one of my favourite places to shop when I’m in the country! Plus, I can buy for a bunch of my friends there as well. So, although I haven’t really done too much that was productive today, I have got a good idea of a bunch of things I can get for people for Christmas, so I guess its not entirely bad. The people I’m staying with are having a dinner with friends and then taking all of them plus me to this Improvisation Comedy thing in Hollywood, so it should be interesting to see what that’s like and a good way to spend a Saturday night too. Trying to set up activities for tomorrow as well, so we’ll see what happens there as well. Mustn’t forget to buy food either, lest I starve this week…

Sunday 15th November: With my food for the rest of the week bought (mainly consisting of a SINGLE potato, pasta, sauce, deli-counter tuna salad and Oreos), I decided to go out and enjoy the brightness of the day today. Take a bus to Santa Monica? Enjoy the Third Street perhaps? No. I get distracted by a call from home and run out of time for any of that! Oh, well, sometime soon I’m sure. Decided instead to have an attempt at an evening of manliness, so I go round to the house of some friends of the family, where inside there lies a big screen TV with Hi-Def sports. So we watch the New England Patriots play the Indianapolis Colts (that’s American Football, for those who didn’t know. Like me.) and then watch the last bit of the L.A. Lakers get stomped by the Houston Rockets (that’s Basketball. If you didn’t know that, then that’s slightly more shameful.) which made for quite an entertaining evening. I feel all the manlier for it as well! The improv comedy last night was kind of fun – not the most amazing comedy in the world, but it was impressive how they take a single starting point and play off of each other for a full 40 minutes or so. so it was definitely fun to watch them create stuff out of nothing. Anyway, another week done with, another work week starts, so it’s back to the good stuff tomorrow! Also – the Premiere of New Moon is held somewhere in Los Angeles tomorrow, and I’ve heard it may not be too far away. So, with enough research and the right bus, I may be able to go past and see what it’s like…

LISTED Film Previews – November/December ’09

Yes, it would appear that there really is no rest for the wicked, as although I’m on the other side of the planet I’m still posting up my film previews that I write monthly for Listed Magazine. Admittedly, I wrote all of these the week before I actually came out here, but I’m still taking the time to post them up so you can get your grubby great eyelids around them! Enjoy:

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON (12A) (Dir. Chris Weitz)

Twi-hards, rejoice! After the success of the first film, the eagerly anticipated second instalment in the Twilight series is soon to hit cinemas! After the vampire attack that nearly claimed her life in the first film, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her Vampire love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) settle into their new life together. But after an incident at Bella’s Birthday sheds her blood, the Cullen’s decide it’s better for Bella’s safety if they leave, never to return. Distraught and heartbroken, Bella finds comfort in her (now super beefy) best friend Jacob Black (Taylor Launter). But in doing so, Bella finds out that the Cullen’s aren’t the only family in Forks with a secret… Fans of the series will not be disappointed, as they can expect bigger effects, awesome werewolf fights, a loyal script adaption, and a lot more bite than the first film! Released 20th November

BUNNY AND THE BULL (15) (Dir. Paul King)

Quirky, weird and completely bizarre, this comedy comes straight from the writer of The Mighty Boosh. A young shut in called Stephen takes an imaginary road trip within the confines of his own apartment; based around mementoes for an actual trek he took around Europe years ago with his friend Bunny, whose sole intention on their trip was to fight a bull. Also starring Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt of Mighty Boosh fame, this looks like it might well be the unsung hero of the comedy films this year! Released 27th November

AVATAR (12A) (Dir. James Cameron)

James Cameron’s status as a director has always been one associated with breaking new ground in the film effects business, and Avatar is no exception! Visually epic and masterfully imagined, Avatar sees Cameron creating wonderful, in-depth landscapes of entire new worlds, all of which have been created with the most cutting edge technology possible! In the future, Jake Scully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic war veteran sent to the jungle planet Pandora inhabited by native blue humanoids called the Na’Vi. To blend in and perform his mission, Jake must undergo a procedure which will allow him to control a Na’Vi “avatar” and allow him to walk again. This could possibly be the most visually breathtaking film you will see all year, so don’t miss it! Released 18th December

SHERLOCK HOLMES (12A) (Dir. Guy Ritchie)

Bare-knuckle fist fights? Jumping away from explosions? Saucy situations in the bedroom? This is definitely NOT the Sherlock Holmes which we have previously seen. But then, this is Guy Ritchie taking a perfectly well known story and doing completely his own thing with it, the result being this more amped-up film of the legendary detective. Robert Downey Jr. stars as Holmes (before next summer’s Iron Man 2), and Jude Law co-stars as his companion Watson, which makes for a good acting team, but all the “mass-appeal action” might be a bit of a letdown. Only time will tell if this will actually be worth watching, or a total waste of time and effort. Released 26th December

As Published in Listed Magazine issue 23 and on www.listedmagazine.com

The Continuing Adventures of Myself – Part The First

Tuesday 3rd November: So, part of what I’m doing out here is developing some of my skills which I would be likely to use professionally, in whatever kind of direction that would take me, and part of that includes working on my writing even more than what I’m doing now. It’s like with anything you want to be good at – practise, practise, practise. You want to learn an instrument? You don’t just read a book, then take a lesson, and then get good over night. It takes work, and lots of it. I found that out after a while with my vocal lessons when my tutor caught onto the fact that I might not have been practising, and then when I did start doing more, I was picking up more stuff a lot more quickly. So, like I said, part of what I’m doing out here on my extended trip to Los Angeles, California is working on all the things that I want to use to make a career, and one of those is writing, in whatever form that may come in, whether its creative writing, lyrics, articles, whatever. This means, therefore, that I shall be doing a little bit of a journal everyday as part of this challenge. Nothing major, just a little little bit everyday.

So, to start, something new I discovered today – for all the usefulness and inexpensiveness of California’s public transport, and for how clean and majoritively tramp-free they are, there is always likely to be a problem. Today, I discovered that problem, and it came in the form of one bus I really needed to get not coming. At ALL. A half an hour goes by, I’m still waiting for it to come and by now its past 15 minutes since it was due and I’m now 5/10 minutes late. My plan of action now? Say “Fuck this” and walk the over-a-fucking-mile to the place I’m working. In the midday sun. Carrying almost my entire computer supplies. My reward later on in the day? A big cake/cookie thing called a Snickerdoodle!! SCORE!! And the world is balanced once again! Day out of the office tomorrow, and the plan WAS to find a Starbucks somewhere and do work, but I might need to make calls so I’ll probably be staying in instead. No beach/work/cappuccino combination for me tomorrow then!

Wednesday 4th November: Not much to say. Worked and researched from the house, have been outside for a total of 10 minutes to get some fresh air after getting cabin fever over being inside. Was meant to go out and explore a place called The Howard Hughes Centre (big massive shopping place with restaurants and a huge Imax cinema), but people cancelled. Bad times. Perhaps tomorrow will bring better prospects, who knows?

Friday 6th November: No entry yesterday, I know. “Better prospects” fell asleep when they got in from work and then overslept, even after I texted them, so instead my evening was occupied with other activities. For instance – ever wondered what happens to a BLT sandwich when you forget about it for 2 weeks? Neither have I, but I found out all the same. One bag scrub, and a bunch of clothes ironing later, and it’s already evening, so no time for even 1 episode of The Mighty Boosh! Still, today has fared better – work has been somewhat completed (minus the polishing-up), and adventures a-plenty tonight as I stay round friend’s/people-I’m-working-for’s house for an early start to a recording session tomorrow, which I’ve been invited to sit in on. Outlook for the rest of the weekend after? Sketchy, with a chance of clarity later tomorrow. Stay tuned, good people.

Saturday 7th November: What a previous 24 hours that was!! Stayed at friend’s house last night, and watched films till about 1.30 am, before finally crashing out on a bed-on-the-floor which had never felt so comfortable, woke up to a breakfast of chicken-sausages and swiss cheese eggs (which, by the way, has been the best breakfast I’ve had since getting here if you don’t include Lucky Charms!), and then spent the entire day in a recording studio recording a song to be used in a low-budget film the head of the facility I’m working at is involved in! The studio belonged to a man named Bruce Hanifan, who has actually written and recorded loads of music and scores for shows like Ice Road Truckers and won awards for them, but his studio is set up in a converted garage in his back garden, which is amazing when yousee how professional it is! The song was, as everyone admits, a cover of a stupid little song that the band 10cc made eons ago called Neanderthal Man, but part of doing a cover is that you do your own thing with it, and these guys bloody nailed it!! Layered, harmonised vocals; gang singalongs; jazzy bass solos; the lot! It was awesome just to witness, but then to be able to be involved in it as was even more amazing! So, today was my first time singing in an actual recording studio and I think its something I could easily get used to!! Also, I worked with an amazingly gorgeous girl named Sarah, who apparently is a very talented singer-songwriter/actress/model in her native Germany, and is on her way to being kinda famous, so I’ll be watching the presses closely! Went for proper, no-nonsense sushi afterwards and I got a proper, no-nonsense blast of wasabi to the back of my sinuses. Also tried “oni”, which is sea urchin. Personally, after trying it once I won’t recommend it – it’s sort of what I picture brains feeling and tasting like. Oh well, lesson learned! Anyway, that’s enough for now, shattered, need sleep, more plans for tomorrow and the day after as well.

Sunday 8th November: Adventures come in all sizes. I found that out today in the form of a simple outing to get some essentials for the fridge. A simple excursion to the local supermarket? No, more like getting severe culture shock in a crowded area!! Only in America can you walk into a supermarket and be greeted with a Starbucks right by the door, and trollies that have coffee cup holders. Not only that, but the mentality of having all sorts of choices gets taken to extremes here. For instance, how many kinds of peanut butter can you think of? Smooth and crunchy, right? No. Try Honey Roasted Peanut Butter, or Almond Butter, etc etc, but all can be found at a station that actually PRESSES the nuts into the paste/butter for you in a deli-style tub that you then pay for. Not only that, but in some supermarkets like the one I went to, there are fast food chains in the MIDDLE of the store, like a half-way point of doing your shopping – Getting tired of hauling those bags of milk and bread around? Stop at the Panda Express Chinese Food in the centre of the shop! Craziness… Also, if you come over here and are looking to buy a fresh can of anti-perspirant spray, don’t bother, as apparently it’s borderline illegal and they only use the horrible anti-perspirant sticks here. Regular deodorant spray is it, then! Anyway, apart from that, it was a pretty chilled day. Spoke to loads of friends today, which was awesome to see how they were all doing, and then went to some friends of the family’s house for an evening of chilli and sports, which I wouldn’t mind spending most of my Sunday’s doing as it’s a pretty good combination! Back to the interning tomorrow, hopefully some more exploration in the evening. One week done with already? Where does it all go?!