Monday, December 29, 2008

Update: Supernatural, Legend of the Seeker Will Resume in Mid-January 2009

I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas break. Although I am still on vacation, I know many fans cannot wait to resume watching their favorite fantasy/thriller TV shows. I feel the same way too.

If you are wondering when will the new episodes air on television, I have the dates listed below:

Legend of the Seeker (Season 1, Episode 8) will resume on Saturday, January 10, 2009.

The fourth season of Supernatural (Season 4, Episode 11) will resume on Thursday, January 15, 2009 on the CWTV.

Ghost Adventures will have a new episode this Friday, January 2, 2009 on The Learning Channel (TLC).

Stay tuned for my 2008 reflections about my blog later this week.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Miracle: Angel Saves Dying Daughter

Christmas is the season of miracles. We give to one another and take care of the sick and needy. Last night during the holy hour (midnight) I prayed to God to bless me and my family and to guide us through these very tough times on the path to righteousness. I came across this article and it really touched me. This was truly a Christmas miracle.

The picture shows proof that angels DO exist. That bright light in the hospital hallway was an angel who saved that severely ill teen girl, Chelsea Banton. Although she endured many challenges with her health, Chelsea had the courage to live and her family believed in her. It was not her time to die yet.

If you are still skeptical, here is another article about a pregnant woman who stopped breathing when the doctors went through an emergency Caesarian section to deliver the twin babies. When the doctors had about given up on her, she became conscious again and opened her eyes. This stunned the doctors! This was another Christmas miracle.

What do you think about these stories? According to a CBS News 12/21/08 article, 70% of Americans believe angels exist. Many people believe in their own versions of angels (guardian, messenger, or other). Nevertheless, we live in a supernatural world.

Watch the video below!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Christmas Day is only a few days away. Many people don't realize that the celebration of Christmas originated in Northern Europe (particularly in the Celtic and Germanic regions). The Catholic Church adopted many pagan rituals and traditions to convert the local people to the Christian religion. Nevertheless, this is a happy special moment to support each other, give to the sick/needy, and celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Looking for ways to enjoy the holidays? Don't forget to read Charles Dickens' famous novel, A Christmas Carol. For those of you who are looking for Christmas ghost stories, origins and legends, check out the links below:

Happy holidays, everyone, and celebrate with your family and friends.

Enjoy the beautiful Christmas music below by Celtic Woman and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Celtic Woman - O Holy Night

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Carol of the Bells

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Upcoming Movie: Underworld 3 - Rise of the Lycans (2009)

In less than two months, the third installment in the Underworld franchise triology will premiere in theatres nationwide in late January 2009. The official name is Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans. It is a prequel to the first two movies that answers questions about the origins of the main characters, specifically Viktor (the vampire king) and Lucian, leader of the Lycans (werewolves). The setting is the Dark Ages (medieval period).

The prequel story traces the origins of the centuries-old blood feud between the aristocratic vampires known as Death Dealers and their onetime slaves, the Lycans. In the Dark Ages, a young Lycan named Lucian (Sheen) emerges as a powerful leader who rallies the werewolves to rise up against Viktor (Nighy), the cruel vampire king who has enslaved them. Lucian is joined by his secret lover, Sonja (Mitra), in his battle against the Death Dealer army and his struggle for Lycan freedom. - IMDB

If you have not seen the first two movies (Underworld, Underworld: Evolution), you can rent it now at local movie places such as Blockbuster or try online movie sites such as and Netflix. I really recommend watching both movies first because they do a great job realistically depicting the personalities of vampires and werewolves. Vampires are masters; werewolves are their slaves. Their war is ancient and brutal.

You can watch the official trailer below:

Stay tuned to my movie review in 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Review: Elfen Lied (2004)

Elfen Lied (2004) is a psychological science fiction Japanese anime. This 14-episode (13 TV episodes + 1 OVA total) series is for mature audiences due to the violent and graphic nature of the scenes. The opening theme is "Lilium" by Kumiko Noma and the ending theme is "Be Your Girl" by Chieko Kawabe.

The Diclonius (meaning "two-horned human") are a mutated, dangerous species who have two horns on their head and possess a sixth sense with powerful telekinetic abilities. It is said the Diclonius have the power to exterminate the human race so they must be captured and destroyed. They have been locked and isolated inside a secret military laboratory confinement by the Japanese government. Lucy, a young, red-haired and manic Diclonius, breaks free of her cell and brutally murders the guards. Before she could escape the laboratory grounds, a guard shoots her in the head and falls into the ocean. She survives this shooting and drifts along the island beach where two teenagers, Kohta and Yuka, discover her.

Lucy suffers amnesia and undergoes an alternate personality. Kohta and Yuka call her "Nyuu" because they is all she can say. With no place to go, the cousins allow Lucy (aka Nyuu) to stay at their hotel home called the Maple Inn. They do the best they can to help the ignorant, confused and troublesome girl. As Kohta constantly chases after Nyuu, Yuka becomes extremely jealous because she has romantic feelings for him. Meanwhile, Kouta allow Mayu, a homeless young girl, to stay with them at the Maple Inn.

Nevertheless, the evil "Lucy" is not dead yet. While Mayu isn't a major character, she does introduce and befriend another Diclonius, Nana, who was ordered to capture and kill Lucy by Professor Kurama, who heads the research facility and supervision of the Diclonius. She finds Nyuu who immediately regains her memories as Lucy. However, Nana fails in her mission as she lets her guard down in the fight and Lucy tears her limb to limb leaving her only with a head and torso. Director Kurama rescues Nana and gives her artificial limbs so that she can return to her mission.

Nana returns to Mayu and discovers Lucy inadvertently. She immediately attacks Lucy only to learn that she is playful, ignorant and innocent in this state of mind as Nyuu. Earning their trust, Nana becomes the next person to stay in the Maple Inn. Danger still lurks ahead for the group. Will Lucy ever fully recover her memories again? What will happen to Lucy and Nana once the research laboratory is still after them? Will Lucy/Nyuu hurt Yuka's relationship with Kouta? Only you can find out by watching Elfen Lied.

This is a really good (and complicated and controversial) series because of the horror and psychological themes involved: cruel experimentation, abuse/sadism, outright killings, and more. The Diclonius have vectors ("invisible arms") which can turn humans into their kind if penetrated through the skin. In a way, their DNA is highly adaptable and infectious. I know Adult Swim wanted to air Elfen Lied but it would have to undergo too much censorship and editing for television audiences. There is a lot of nudity and extreme violence scenes (I even tensed a bit at the way the soldiers were brutally mutilated and murdered. Yikes!). Yuka and Kohta don't fully understand how dangerous the Diclonius are. We never learn the full names of the characters except Professor Kurama. I don't know if I will ever fully understand the storyline: where did Lucy and Nana come from? What other powers do they possess?

The music is also fantastic. I especially love the opening song, Lilium, a slow, canonical yet gloomy melody sung in Latin with images of Lucky in Austrian Art Nouveau artist, Gustav Klimt's famous painting, "The Kiss" (1907-08), as the background. The name "Lucy" also plays homage to the oldest human ancestor skeleton discovered in Africa. The title of the series originates from the German poem, Elfen Lied ("Elf Song"), by Eduard Mörike. All episode titles are in German. I highly recommend this series but it has many dark horror scenes and not for the faint of heart. Viewer discretion advised (not recommended for children under the age of 13).

This show is available to buy and rent on DVD.

"Lilium" by Kumiko Noma (The Latin lyrics are available here.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

TV Show: Ghost Adventures (Travel Channel)

Ghost Adventures is a paranormal detective TV series on the Travel Channel. It airs new episodes every Friday at 9:00pm Eastern Time. Zak Bagans and his main camera crew, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, search and investigate haunted locations around the world. During their investigations, they scope out the general area, interview locals about the history of the hauntings, and go face-to-face during lockdown (from dusk to dawn) with the spirits who reportedly haunt these places. Zak and his crew try to provoke the spirits to reveal and show their presence. They use the latest electronic technology and camera equipment to capture evidence and prove the existence of the paranormal.

This is a good show to watch, and I'm positive there will be a second season in the near future. Their award-winning documentary first appeared back in June 2008 on the Sci-Fi Channel. Their camera results have definitely shown evidence that they were in the presence of spirits and other supernatural phenomenon. To learn more about Zak Bagans' background and future events, check out his interview on Cinema Suicide and their MySpace page.

I need to clarify though the crew do not investigate locations with very powerful evil spirits. I say this because there have been well-documented incidents where people inadvertently entered very unholy/evil places and never returned alive. (Yes, they died.) This show will make you realize that ghosts exists and the supernatural is definitely real.

[Updated January 2019] It is now available to buy on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the Ghost Adventures trailer below.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review: Blood Debt (Vickie Nelson #5)

"The restless dead are demanding vengeance from Henry Fitzroy even if it means breaking the vampires’ code he’s lived by for centuries..."

Blood Debt, by Tanya Huff, is the fifth and final book in the Blood (Vicki Nelson) series. The setting is contemporary (1990s) Vancouver and Toronto, in provinces, British Columbia and Ontario, respectively. It has been two years since the incident at Queens University that left Henry Fitzroy, 450-year old bastard son of King Henry VIII (Duke of Richmond and Somerset and other royal titles) and Mike Celluci, Toronto Metro detective, shocked in horror and Vicki Nelson, ex-police officer and Toronto-based private investigator, from sudden death. Celluci got his wish: Henry turns Vicki into a vampire to save her. Celluci has not heard from Vicki ever since that frightful night.

Somewhere in Vancouver, a young man waits in a hospital about to be released. When he tries to stand up, an orderly balances him. When the young man turned around, the look of horror scares him. Later that night, three longshoremen discover a body near their dock with bruises, purple-colored skin and missing hands. Missing hands. Who on earth could have done such a thing? As Henry Fitzroy wakes up from his night sanctuary in his condo, a ghost stands before his bed raising his missing hands. Shaken from what he has seen, Tony Foster, his friend and once homeless kid living from the streets in Toronto, insists that maybe the ghost wants revenge. Vengeance. But what can Henry do?

The ghost continues to reappear, and Henry tries to gather more information about this event. When Fitzroy could no longer handle the situation (handling ghosts are not his expertise, after all, he’s a romance writer), he calls Vicki, now vampire detective, his child, for help to get rid of his specter guests. Vampires, by the code, are supposed to keep a safe distance from each other. They live by territorial rules. Although she was his former lover, vampires no longer can have such mutual relationships. Vicki receives the call and summons Celluci to accompany her for the trek across the Canadian country to solve this case before it – these ghosts – drives Henry to insanity.

However, things become more complicated as more deaths continue to rise in the Vancouver region. Vicki and Mike suspect a clinic, through the resources of Patricia Chou, news anchor and journalist, behind the connection between the ghosts and illegal organ-legging scheme. But what they did not discover that using the law and catching the monster behind this could be risky, dangerous and even deadly. As Henry partners with Vicki, despite vampire codes, to settle this situation, they must race against time before someone dear to them could become another ghost haunting the night.

After reading Blood Pact, which was action-packed and highly suspenseful, this book seriously disappointed me. While the story of organ-legging sounded appealing and innovative, the storyline fell short. This adventure was a week long, but it felt like this case only took 3-4 days to solve. Yet this novel was over 300 pages long. I was also expecting a big, surprising ending. I didn’t get that, but at the same time, the reader can tell there will be more stories and adventures between Henry Fitzroy and Vicki Nelson. This book was not as exciting and wild as the previous novel. I understand that Huff tries to diversify her books with innovative and supernatural plots, but this book would be the least supernatural of the Vicki Nelson books: beginning with demons, werewolves, mummies, zombies and now ending with ghosts?

While I would have given this book three stars, I will give it four stars just for adding character twists on Mike Celluci (when he becomes the victim) and more background information and greater character role for Tony Foster. Tony has always been a minor character in the series whom you would have thought as, "well he’s there just for adding information." He has a bigger lead in this novel. We also sense his emotions that trouble him: Vicki is no longer human, she's a vampire, how shall he act around her? Henry has been the greatest thing in his life for giving him food, shelter and a job, but will he always live with Henry? Another question that arises, although Huff never fully explains it: can vampires truly be friends and stand near each other? Is the vampire code outdated?

Fortunately, this is NOT the last book of the Blood a.k.a. Vicki Nelson novels. When I had originally finished this novel several years ago, Blood Bank had not been published yet. It should answer my questions and concerns which led me to believe this series was still incomplete. If you haven't had the chance, check out the TV series, Blood Ties
. Although Lifetime declined to renew the series, I highly recommend the show. As of November 2008, the producers are still seeking production partners but there's no indication it will premiere again.

Overall, this novel series has been fun and invigorating. I recommend that readers start from the beginning of the series with Blood Price. Blood Pact, the fourth book, is definitely the climax—and most stimulating—of the series. I am so glad Huff decided to make this a six-book series!

Stay tuned for next and final review in the Vickie Nelson Blood series, Blood Bank.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"The Last Unicorn" Music Video

Today is the first official snow storm in my area. What a winter wonderland. It is also officially the holiday season.

I want to began this month with a popular song that soothes my mind. This amazing video is called "The Last Unicorn", which is based upon the 1968 critically-acclaimed fantasy novel by Peter S. Beagle. It has also been fully adapted into an animated cult classic film (1982) with the help of a team of Japanese animators. A unicorn, who believes she is the last of her kind in the world, sets off on a journey to discover what has happened to the other unicorns. On her magical journey, the unicorn meets a host of diverse characters who help her reach her goal. Check this website for more information about the novel/movie. This novel has captivated international audiences of all ages similar to Lord of the Rings. I have also added the lyrics (originally performed by the band, America) to the video below. Enjoy the video. The music and pictures are very beautiful.

When the last eagle flies over the last crumbling mountain
And the last lion roars at the last dusty fountain
In the shadow of the forest though she may be old and worn
They will stare unbelieving at the last unicorn

When the first breath of winter through the flowers is icing
And you look to the north and a pale moon is rising
And it seems like all is dying and would leave the world to mourn
In the distance hear the laughter of the last unicorn

I'm alive, I'm alive

When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning
And the future has passed without even a last desperate warning
Then look into the sky where through the clouds a path is torn
Look and see her how she sparkles, its the last unicorn

I'm alive, I'm alive

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Review: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)

But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line--and choose between the two people she loves most.

Shadow Kiss, by Richelle Mead, is the third novel in the Vampire Academy series. Rose Hathaway, a dhampir student, is forbidden to love her handsome guardian, Dimitri Belikov. Meanwhile, she must also protect her best friend, Lissa, the last Moroi royal member of the legendary Dragomir family. Lissa has a special gift: spirit, which has inexplicable healing and compulsion powers. This is their last year at St. Vladimir's Academy, a private school for Moroi and dhampir children in the remote wilderness. Lissa plans to attend college, and Rose will become her guardian alongside with Dimitri permanently. Unfortunately, her feelings for Dimitri have become very difficult to ignore even if she's in the middle of her guardianship field experience. She must also face her worst enemy, Victor Dashkov, at the Moroi Royal Court.

Since her first Strigoi kills, Rose has never felt the same. She feels responsible for the recent violent death of Mason, a former classmate who had a major crush on her. No matter where she goes, she notices his sad ghostly appearance and suffers other dark flashbacks warning her that something evil and terrible is approaching the Academy. She can hardly concentrate in her studies with the dreams and panic attacks. Rose hates lying to Lissa, but who would believe her story that ghosts exist? Adrian Ivashkov, another spirit user and nephew of the Moroi Queen, has a major crush on Rose, which makes her life even more complicated. He becomes Lissa's mentor as they both uncover the secrets of spirit. Meanwhile, Christian becomes increasingly frustrated and jealous at Adrian for reasons even Rose cannot reveal because the truth would shock them all.

When the Strigoi surprisingly attack the Academy, Dimitri is unexpectedly captured. Rose must make a painful and ultimate decision. Will she choose to protect Lissa over her love for Dimitri? Or will she sacrifice Lissa to save Dimitri? No matter which path she chooses, she must do what is right for herself.

Wow! This series gets even better and more unpredictable. I love Mead's writing style because she is great on character and plot development. It took me only a week to finish this novel. I could not stop reading which is quite impressive. The ending is so sad that I became emotional. I won't spoil it, but I really feel for Rose. All this time she knew she would become a guardian, but the Academy attack changed her perspectives on life. Is her loyalty to the Moroi more important than her own feelings? Relationships are tested through novel, and some love triangles emerge (Adrian-Lissa-Christian, Adrian-Rose-Dimitri). Readers will learn how vulnerable Rose becomes as she endures being "shadow-kissed" (higher awareness of the supernatural and sensitivity to Lissa's spirit magic) because she came back from the dead. Although their relationship was forbidden since dhampirs cannot marry nor reproduce, Rose really loved Dimitri. It's also tragic that she leaves behind her friends, especially Lissa and Adrian. The next book will focus on how she will face him again in her incredible journey to adulthood and self-realization.

I highly recommend this series to teens and young adults. You must read Vampire Academy and Frostbite to understand the plot. Stay tuned for more updates. The fourth novel will appear in 2009.