I could hold out nae longa! After many months of resisting the siren song of "Van Helsing", I finally caved and watched it. And yes, to answer your question, it was every bit as awful as everyone who had ever seen it warned me it was. The only good thing about it was a few bars of awesome gypsy music in the soundtrack. I really like gypsy music, and if you do as well, you should immediately run out and buy "Le Violon Rouge", which features some amazing violin music in the gypsy style, as well as Samuel L. Jackson--"That's one #!@#!#@! red-@#%@%$ violin, ^$#$%@@*#@!". Well, not really. I mean, Mr. Jackson is in the film, but he is not his usual badass self. Well, a little, but he does not drop any F-bombs. I think. Hell, just watch the film!
Oh yeah, back to "Van Helsing". Total crap, and you all told me that, yet I still watched it. Why? Well, I have a certain soft spot for vampire fiction--if they make a film, novel, TV series, or lyrical poem containing vampires, I will most likely watch or read it, as the case may be. Oh yeah, and aliens! Almost as cool as vampires. Now if they would just make a movie about alien vampires, or something like that... heh heh.
In other media news, Lyani and I are still watching "Lost" at a pretty good clip--we are now about ten episodes into Season 2. And let me just say, the big "one of your favourite characters is going to die in the next episode!" stunt was pretty weak.
"Lost" is basically like junk food--you know it isn't good for you, but yet it is so delicious that you can't stop. The only thing I will give the writers of the show credit for is an interesting plotline and not being afraid to make us hate all the main characters. Of all the main characters, there is only one guy that I have never had a "I hate this guy!" moment about, and Lyani is the same way. Predictably, the one non-hated dude is different for each of us! :)
I have slowed way down on my reading as of late, both because my daily time on a train has dropped from close to three hours to 15 minutes, and because I am trying to spend my free time studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test , or JLPT (日本語能力試験, for you Japanese-speakers out there). These four letters, arranged just so, strike fear into the hearts of students of Japanese everywhere. The test has four levels, starting at Level 4, which is pretty trivial, and climbing up to the next-to-impossible-even-for-native-speakers Level 1, or ikkyu. I am going for Level 2, which is described thusly:
The examinee has mastered grammar to a relatively high level, knows around 1,000 Kanji and 6,000 words, and has the ability to converse, read, and write about matters of a general nature. This level is normally reached after studying Japanese for around 600 hours and after completion of an intermediate course.
Lyani, of course, having just completed her Jedi training, has set her sights a notch higher. Yes, she is attempting the vaunted Level 1:
The examinee has mastered grammar to a high level, knows around 2,000 Kanji and 10,000 words, and has an integrated command of the language sufficient for life in Japanese society. This level is normally reached after studying Japanese for around 900 hours.
10,000 words! I don't think I even know 10,000 words in English! Interestingly enough, Lyani attended a lecture back at the IUC given by a professor of Japanese Linguistics, and he said that knowing 10,000 words in French, Spanish, or Italian would cover 95% of the language in general use. In Japanese? 10,000 words buys you a paltry 80%! This should not surprise anyone who has ever studied Japanese--as soon as you think you have a good basic vocabulary, you try to do something (open a bank account, buy tickets on the ferry to Okinawa, whatever), and realise that there are a bunch of words specific to that thing that you don't know.
So wish us luck, gentle readers! And if we don't make it, say a prayer for our passing...