I’ve posted a few times in the past about the Perseid meteor shower in August as one of the few truly fun and awesome things even someone living inside the city can do in astronomy with just the naked eye. I’ve been watching the Perseids for about five years now and have been lucky to see something each of those years but I always got a bit depressed because always included in anything written about meteor showers is a mention that the best meteor shower is the Geminid meteor shower in December and that’s just a bad month to star gaze. It’s not the cold; living near a Great Lake means lake effect snow and also lake effect clouds, so clear skies are practically non-existent. For example, two winters ago from December to February we had a total of 5 days that weren’t cloudy (4 partly cloudy days and 1 mostly sunny day).
This year, however, a high pressure set up shop a couple days ago and it looked like I’d finally get a chance to see the Geminids. I didn’t want to jinx things so I didn’t post something beforehand but now that it’s done I’m bursting at the seams to say –
The Geminid meteor shower was AWESOME!
Living in the city I might see 6 Perseid meteors an hour – though the light pollution filters out the smaller ones so it’s a nice 6 meteors – but last night I was averaging slightly better then 20 Geminid meteors an hour in the two hours I was looking.
If you’re reading this and live somewhere that it’s possible to see the Geminids next year then do yourself a big favor and go see them. Bring a couple friends or family members to make the time pass between meteors easier and to help confirm that you did see that meteor out of the corner of your eye :) . It’s difficult to explain why watching falling stars is so fun; I’ve watched videos of meteors and they just don’t do the experience justice. Amongst the ones I saw yesterday, there was one that as it streaked across the sky left a twinkly tail that persisted a couple seconds before disappearing and it took my breath away with how beautiful it looked.
To allow myself to go two hours in sub-freezing weather I figured minimizing the amount of contact between me and cold objects like a lawn chair would help greatly on a night with little wind and I was right. What finally chased me inside was my feet turning into popsicles within my shoes. The one drawback of just standing there was that looking up for so long can strain one’s muscles and so, today, my back and legs were throbbing a bit as I went to see The Hobbit: Part 1 (or whatever it’s subtitled).
It’s funny, for someone such as myself who keeps this anime blog and tries to critique anime, I don’t put much stock in the opinions of movie reviewers. I read the many mixed reviews for The Hobbit: Part 1 ahead of time because it wasn’t like I could be spoiled when I just finished rereading The Hobbit a month ago and thought the critics that said it was too long were probably wrong.
And they were. The Hobbit: Part 1 was totally AWESOME!
It was paced exactly right, never too slow or too fast, and the nearly three hour movie flew by way too quickly. It stopped at the place I had guessed the best place to do so. Trying to pack a couple more locations in would have made for a weaker, rushed film. Seeing the first part now, I think splitting The Hobbit into three movies was the way to go.
Peter Jackson and crew had a better handle of the franchise then with LOTR and let more of Tolkien’s Middle-earth into the movie. Martin Freemen as Bilbo was as perfect as I imagined to be after seeing his work as Watson in the BBC’s Sherlock series. Andy Serkis as Gollum upped his game from LOTR and the riddle scene was much more engrossing then I thought possible. Thorin Oakenshield and really all the dwarves were much more interesting then in the book. I’d have to see it a few more times but I think this movie was a better movie then the first LOTR movie – The Fellowship of the Ring.
What I wanted for The Hobbit movie was for it to be able to stand on par with Lord of the Rings because, even though, the books aren’t on the same level the story itself is once you dig around the material that didn’t make it into The Hobbit originally. Peter Jackson did this, like I knew he would. Now the wait begins for part 2.
And finally, for the record I saw this in 2D and thought the special effects looked just fine. If by fine, I mean really good. Oh, and I saw this with part of my family today and my Mom (who turned into a Tolkien nerd after LOTR) really wants to see The Lone Ranger after seeing the trailer because she loved the show as a kid (though she was always forced to play Tonto and her older brother always got to play the Lone Ranger. :) )