Monday, April 30, 2012

Vacations You Should Take: Vancouver Island

Since I'm on vacation this week not thinking about buying a house or working, my blog posts are going to be vacation-themed!  Woo!  Basically I am going to tell you some sweet places that you should go on vacation.

Place the first:  the west coast of Vancouver Island!

In spring 2010 (around this same time of year) Brahm and I made a Vancouver Island road trip.  We drove to Banff, then Vancouver, then Ucluelet and stayed there for 4 or 5 nights (I can't remember), then back home through the Cascade mountains in the states (primarily because I needed to buy some lime yogurt, OBVIOUSLY).  It was amazing!  Being by the legit ocean in the rainforest was so relaxing and fun.  We loved just walking down to the beach and looking for starfish and crabs and sea anemones in the tide pools.

We stayed at The Cabins at Terrace Beach which were awesome.  Because it was low season they upgraded us to a super fancy cabin!  Every day we just walked down to the Co-op and bought some food to cook, or went to a seafood restaurant for seriously fresh and delicious fish.  We went whale watching and hiking and watched a lot of episodes of Say Yes to the Dress when it was raining.

On the way home, we made a stop at a comic/sci-fi convention in Calgary so we could meet the stars of Battlestar Galactica!!! and Ryan North of Dinosaur comics!!! and visit my cousins.  It was an amazing trip and are definitely planning to do it again one of these years.  You should go there!

 (The Cascades.)
 (Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
 (My cute cousin!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Products to maybe avoid - Neutrogena Deep Clean

My sister recently had an experience with a facial cleanser similar to my Crest Pro-Health issues.

She bought a bottle of Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser on Friday, and by Tuesday morning had realized that it was making her face so dry it was painful.

She spent most of Tuesday applying layer after layer of moisturizer and baby oil to try to restore the moisture on her face, but it didn't seem to help.  It was as if her face couldn't soak in enough moisturizer.  In the evening she went to the gym but as soon as she started working up a sweat, the salt from the sweat on her face started burning her dry skin and her face turned purple!

She came home and applied a layer of avocado, but then had to ICE her face because it was still burning.  Eventually it seemed to subside and she went to bed, but woke up in the middle of the night and had to reapply another layer of moisturizer.  The next morning her face was still red but finally retaining moisture.

So warning - if you have sensitive skin you may want to avoid this product!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Bonus Post - On House Hunting

Every time I shop for jeans or shoes (or any clothing items that I plan to wear regularly) I always try to remember that unless I love the item when I first try it on, I'm probably not going to get much wear out of it.  Yet, I keep burning myself over and over on this one for some reason.  I'll hem and haw about a pair of jeans or sweater and then decide to buy it, but then realize (after literally hemming this time) that it doesn't fit properly, or it looks terrible, and then end up donating it to people with diabetes (why do they need so many clothes anyway?  That joke is Brahm's; credit where credit is due).  I'm getting better at remembering this rule but I still forget it on occasion.

It's quite a bit easier to follow this rule with houses though, since it's thousands and thousands of dollars we're talking about.  If you're going to hem and haw about a house right off the bat, you probably should just walk away.  But if you love one you should force yourself to hem and haw about it too.

Brahm and I found a house that we both really liked at first/second look, but then started to think more critically about it and realized that it got absolutely zero direct light, which is a big deal breaker for us.  I refuse to live in a house where you need to turn the lights on at any hour of the day - I think it has potential to become a depression shack in the winter.  It was a good lesson for us to learn, and we're lucky that we found a house like that to learn it from (i.e. a house that has been on the market for a while so we had time to go back and look at it a second and third time), considering that many of the good houses on the market in Saskatoon will sell in a day and you don't have that luxury of going back and spending several days trying to figure things out.

As we learn these lessons by looking at more houses and hemming and hawing over the ones we like, eventually we will get to a place where we can spot what we want and don't want right away and know when it's time to make an offer.  It's been an exhausting week - we've probably looked at around 15-20 houses between the two of us (I've been going during the day while Brahm has been at work so we can speed up our property virgin education) but I think we've learned a lot about what we want and don't want and what we'll see in our price range.  Hopefully soon we will be able to put all of our newfound knowledge to use and buy an awesome house!

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Itchy finger

If you read my vacation themed post in Google Reader, I accidentally forgot to schedule it for next Monday.  Just so you aren't confused.  If you see it but haven't read it yet, save it for Monday!

Some things that are going on in my life

Okay all I'm going to say about house hunting is that it is EXHAUSTING and stressful.  It's fun but also stressful.  When do you know when a house is "the one"?  How do you balance making sure you've considered all the pros and cons and thought about a house enough before making an offer in today's crazy market, where the best houses get snapped up within hours?  There is so much second-guessing involved.  I am looking forward to a legit vacation next week so I can rest my brain, and spend some quality time with Brahm where our biggest decision will be what to have for supper.

Also we have solved the swatch issue from the last post, in case you were wondering (haha in case??  As if!  You were clearly on the edge of your seat for the conclusion of that one).  We decided to get all the bridesmaids to order dresses from a bridal shop, from the same designer and dye lot so they all match.  Different dresses though, because I kind of think matching dresses look cheesy (at least to me).  I sent about a million texts to my maid of honour Sherri while trying to decide this, and then she called me later in the day and said "Okay, first of all, you're NOT a controlling bride, but even if you were that's okay because I LOVE controlling brides."  I love Sherri.

Speaking of the bridesmaid dresses - perhaps it's time to start a new feature on the blog called "Texts from Voice to Text."  If you don't know what voice to text is, basically a robot listens to my voicemail and translates it into a text message that I can read if I'm not able to check my voicemail right away.  It's an alright feature, except when it sends me things like THIS:

"Hi Robin this is Alex calling from the dress(?) your Fair(?) Mont(?) just came in and tried on the Berry(?). Jay(?) just doesn't(?) keep(?) it running(?) gas(?) it up and she had mentioned(?) that you have 2 other bridesmaid.  So I was just wondering when you'd be able to come in because we wanna order these ASAP just because of your date being August 18th.  If you wanna give me a call back at the desk(?) today.  I'll be here till 5:0..."

PS, it only fits the message into three texts.  PPS, I don't know what that was supposed to say except I figured out that it was the bridal shop calling me about dresses.

ALSO - I just finished reading an AMAZING AMAZING book called Quiet.  It's about introverts and how their brains work and how North American society and culture is geared towards extraverts and undervalues introverts.  It was so good, WOW.  I would highly highly recommend this book to everyone, as it gives so much insight into how both personality types (introverts and extraverts) tick and how to deal with one or the other when you're of the opposite personality type.  It's packed with fascinating psychological and neuroscientific research, and I can't wait to write about a million blog posts about it because I learned so much from every chapter, I kind of want to dedicate an entire post to reviewing each chapter because it was JUST THAT GOOD.  But don't hold me to that.  If you're looking for an interesting read that will probably change your life and how you see yourself and others, check out Quiet. 

(Don't actually click to look inside.  I just got the photo from Amazon.)  BUT also, at only $14 for the hardcover from Amazon, maybe that was the best 14 bucks I've ever spent.  Or at least up there among some of the best 14 buckses.  Especially if you're an introvert too, I guarantee it'll also be one of the best 14 buckses YOU'LL ever spend too.

And finally, I got a new lens today for my DSLR camera!  I bought a Canon Rebel before we went to Iceland last year but the lens was kind of a piece of junk that barely zoomed at all so I decided to use a bit of extra cash I had hanging around for a present for myself.  I did a bunch of research and purchased this bad boy (although not for retail price - thank you eBay!), which is supposed to be the best entry-level lens there is.  It came in the mail today and I love it.  It definitely makes my old lens seem like a cheap piece of garbage.  And it should, because this lens retails for more than the camera cost.  I can't wait to take some awesome pictures next week on our trip!

Anyway I think that's all my big things for now.  I'm so glad I'm on holidays not going back to work tomorrow.  This is definitely a much-needed holiday.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Whoever thought I'd have an opportunity to use the "swatches" tag for another post?  Not me.

Anyway, it seems that my "laid back bride" attitude has maybe started causing the exact trouble I hoped to avoid.  I told my bridesmaids to pick their own dress as long as it was yellow.  Seems fine right?  Except then after at least two bridesmaids picked dresses that turned out to be the exact same colour, and then one other bridesmaid picked a peachy-yellow colour, which I thought didn't matter.

But then my mom, who has a good knack for pointing out some of the things that I think don't matter that actually probably should matter, like not having hideously clashing bridesmaids that look like they're trying not to match, told me I should probably take a swatch into the store to make sure the yellows were the same hue.  Crap.  I didn't want it to come to swatches.

But that's exactly what I had to do today - take swatches into The Dress and Moore's to make sure dresses and suits aren't going to clash hideously.  The guy at Moore's totally remembered me too - he was probably like "aha!  So you ARE a controlling bride after all."  But screw that controlling bride business; it shouldn't be too much to ask that if you've determined your wedding party is all going to wear the same colour, they should look good together.  That's not controlling, that's "not being lazy."

Now I sort of feel like a jerk though, because "any yellow" has turned into "bright, pure yellow" and my maid of honour is going to have to keep looking for a different dress.  Luckily she is awesome and the best and flexible, but I still feel bad making "dress criteria" changes less than 4 months before the wedding.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Ultimate Test

You might have seen the latest ad campaign for Huggies popping up on TV lately - "have dads put Huggies to the ultimate test."  If you haven't the commercials involve a group of dads taking care of their babies, doing things that might push diaper-filling or cleanliness to the extreme, to test the durability of Huggies diapers and wipes.  For example:

While I think it's great that these advertisements for childcare products actually have men in them, and the current ads are only subliminally sexist, the first round of the campaign, which was pulled quite quickly due to backlash from a lot of parents, apparently started off extremely sexist and depicted a bunch of dads in a room with their babies, watching sports while the diapers filled unnoticed.  Thus, the original "ultimate test" for Huggies was supposed to be the dads themselves, not just making a mess and having dads clean it up.

I don't need to spend time ranting about this because if you want to read a bunch of rants about it, just Google "Huggies ultimate test dads" or something and you'll find many blog posts like the one linked above.  The interesting thing about this story though, was that Huggies changed their campaign and made it less sexist not because the dads complained, but because it also offended moms.  And because women control most household spending, Huggies straight up admitted that they don't care what dads think, but if moms don't want dads being insulted then the moms get what they want because they buy the products.  Sort of weird - but I guess that's economics.  Although one has to wonder if there were more ads out there for household products that were more gender-neutral if those stats would change.  It's worked with technology, so why couldn't it work with things like bandages and cough syrup and diapers?

On a lighter note though, is that honestly dads are SO FAR from the "ultimate" test for diapers, amiright!  Huggies wanted a funny ad campaign showing someone who doesn't normally care for kids "testing" their products to their limits - but I can think of a ton of different things other than dads that would have been funnier.  Toddlers, robots, animals - you name it.

For example...

"We put Huggies to the ultimate test:  DOGS."
"Okay Barky Von Schnauser, there's a frozen pizza in the fridge for dinner, mashed sweet potatoes for Billy on the counter, and I think you've got the hang of how to use the digital cable!  Here's the number for the restaurant and we'll call in an hour just to check up on Billy!"
"Arf arf!"
Then show a montage of Barky carrying a diaper to the garbage in his teeth, feeding Billy sweet potatoes out of a dog bowl, but then using Huggies wipes for all of the messes, you know, typical dog-babysitter stuff.

However, imagine the backlash from that one.  "OMG DOGS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO BABYSIT we are suing Huggies for promoting neglect."

I have to say, I'm pretty glad I didn't stick with my first career choice out of high school (marketing) because I think considering all this stuff on a daily basis would have driven me nuts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An open letter to Kijiji sellers

Dear Kijiji sellers,

I would like to know what you are actually selling.  For example, provide some information on what you are selling such as the brand and model of your item.  That is not too much to ask.  I'd also like to know how long you had it, what condition it's in, where you bought it (and for how much), and why you are selling it.

However, I understand maybe you just want to keep your ad short and simple, and interested parties could find that information out by contacting you.

BUT if you are not going to provide a telephone number, thus requiring only email communications, please actually answer the questions the potential buyer asks.

For example, if I say "what was the purchase price?" don't say "I bought it in the US."  That does not mean the same thing.  Also, if I say "could I come by on Friday sometime to purchase this item?" don't ignore that question.

And most importantly, when I ask a question to verify that the item is in fact the exact item I'm looking for, don't be like "actually I have a small correction.  It is a different item."  THAT IS NOT A SMALL CORRECTION, KIJIJI SELLER.  I am not going to give you 400 bucks for something that isn't what you say it is!

Finally, follow some Kijiji etiquette and remove your ad if you've sold the item, don't just ignore all the emails people send you.  That's annoying.

It's not that difficult, Kijiji sellers.  Try a little harder please.



Monday, April 16, 2012


If my blog kind of sucks lately I'm sorry.  Things are getting busier these days.  I'm kind of a real grownup now because last week (two weeks ago already I guess) Brahm and I went and got pre-approved for a MORTGAGE and we're going to start house shopping this week whaaaaaaaat.  Plus, our wedding is in 4 months (and 2 days) whaaaaaaaaaaat.  If I didn't mention before at some point, Brahm moved home from Montreal at the end of March HOORAY but that means a bit of a lifestyle adjustment because when you don't live in the same city as your sweetie you have a bit more free time to do things like write lots of blogs.

This doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging because I'm busier now BUT please forgive me if I don't have time to make epic posts that blow the whistle on water softener salt toothpaste for example.  I will still try my very hardest to stick to my M-W-F posting schedule, even if the post ends up just being a text from my mom or a picture of something awesome.  However this also means I will be able to write some neat posts about house hunting/buying and some more cool stuff we do leading up to the wedding!

So stay tuned because this blog is about to get WAY more mature than ever because I'm a serious grownup who does grownup things like buys houses and gets married and maybe gets a puppy whaaaaaaat.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Garbage House

I have lived in the same rental house for a while, which is divided into a few apartments.  I'm looking forward to owning a single detached unit in the near future because I feel like I'm now old enough and successful enough that putting up with the weird antics of other renters doesn't need to be part of my life anymore.

Obviously this is a first-world problem, but let's talk about weirdos who stink up houses anyway.  Very often these days I come home to find that my house smells like rotten garbage (literally, like rotten garbage).  I don't understand what is causing this smell.  I am pretty sure it's the cooking attempts of the people living in my basement, but how they manage to consistently conjure up such a garbagey smell is beyond me.

I've lived in this house for almost 8 years now (whaaaaaaaat!) and have seen various other tenants come and go, blast their music, allow their boyfriends to live here illegally and use my parking spot without asking, obsessively do laundry at all hours of the night, sing loudly at 3 am, etc. but never have any of these tenants garbaged up the house like this.

People, if you would like a cooking lesson so every time you cook it doesn't smell like garbage in the whole house, I will come help you out.  I'm a pretty good cook and most things I make don't smell like I threw a bunch of rotten vegetables into a plastic bag, heated it up for 3 days, and then wafted the bag scent through the ventilation system of the house. 

Seriously, it's so gross, and it happens so much.  Do they not know the food they're making smells like butts and/or garbage?  Or maybe they do, and I have some sort of annoying habit that I don't know about and they're trying to get back at me?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to open a banana

The other day my boss was complaining that he was having trouble opening some of the bananas at work lately.

"Just open them from the bottom," I suggested.

"What are you talking about?"

"Trust me.  Pinch the bottom of the banana instead of trying to snap off the stem.  It will pop open magically and you won't end up with a squished end from trying to pry it open!  It will blow your mind."

It totally blew his mind.  And when I heard about this crazy talk a few years ago, via a YouTube video much like the one below, my mind was also blown.

Apparently this is how monkeys open bananas, so it's the natural way to do it.  None of this silly Western "we open bananas from the STEMS, thank you very much" way of making simple tasks more difficult so they appear refined!

If you aren't already on the bottom-opening banana bandwagon, try it once.  You'll never go back to the old way, because the old way is totally stupid when you think about it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Facebook users beware of the most embarrassing app

If you're a Facebook user, you may have noticed some of your friends reading articles and posting them to their feed recently in a post that usually looks like this:

"Joe Blow read an article:

Snooki poses in a bikini for her new book cover
Teen Mom has new boyfriend
The Duggards have another baby
The Situation and Snooki are getting married, Jon from Jon and Kate Plus 8 is going to be the minister at their ceremony and all of the Teen Moms and cast of The Hills are going to be the bridesmaids

Posted by Social Reader"

You know, really embarrassing celebrity gossip articles.

I started thinking this was a bit weird a while ago because usually the people who were having these articles posted to their Facebook feeds were not the type of people who would admit to reading these articles, let alone share them on Facebook.  Like seriously, I have been known to click on the odd article about the cast of Jersey Shore BUT I would never share it on Facebook as if it's the greatest thing I've read in a while.  However I didn't quite know how best to bring it up without sounding like I was rudely judging my friends for their love of reality star gossip, which they obviously loved enough to shamelessly plug in their Facebook feeds.

HOWEVER, the other day my friend Dani posted the Snooki's bikini article for the second time in a couple of months.  If you know Dani, she's not really the type who would post about Snooki's bikini even once, but twice?  So I texted her:

Me:  Okay I have to know - are you actually reading all these articles about Snooki wearing a bikini and sharing them on FB or is it automatically posting them somehow?
Dani:  I have never read anything like that.  I'm confused???
Me:  It has said on FB a few times that you read an article about Snooki posing in a bikini for her book cover.  It does this with a few of the people I know who don't seem like the type to be like "hey guys check out this sweet article about Snooki!"
Me:  Maybe time to change your password?  Has it ever said I read anything like that?
Dani:  I guess I'll change it today.  No, you are safe from Snooki's bikini.

So EVERYONE:  if you notice people in your Facebook news feed are reading out of character articles like this, maybe ask them if they know they're using this "Social Reader" app that appears to be doing the posting.  Because chances are, they aren't.

How embarrassing is this app?  You don't know it's posting this stuff to your feed, and meanwhile all your friends start thinking you are a giant Jersey Shore/Teen Mom fan.  Well done, Social Reader app, well done - but I'm on to you.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I love Brahm

Whaaaaaaaat my blog is back in business!  Thanks to BRAHM for solving the problem - I don't know how he figured it out but he somehow realized that a couple of the recent images I posted on recent blogs were GIANT .png files that were making my feed too big to load in Google Reader.  So I replaced the offending images with .jpg files and suddenly my blog appeared back in Google Reader!  Hooray!!!

So the moral of the story is never to just copy and paste pictures from websites into your Blogger editor - always upload the files so you know what size you're posting.

Now THAT is true love - a partner who will help you fix your broken blog!  That is the kind of person you should marry.

PS - if you're a Google Reader subscriber you'll see a bunch of old posts showing up out of order as I fixed the images.  If you want to know the real dates on them I think you'll have to come to the blog in real life and look at the dates, but they don't matter too much. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Google Reader you are MEAN

Okay friends, if anyone is still reading this, I have no idea how to fix my blog so it will still work in an RSS feed.  Hopefully if you are one of my subscribers you came here to see why I haven't posted in a while and see that I HAVE been posting but Google Reader is being a big jerk.

Anyone reading this have any idea of what might be going on?  When I go into my blog on Google Reader it says the last post I wrote was the last one that posted to Google Reader on March 28, and then doesn't recognize that I have any new content.  I can't seem to find any info on this on the Google Help forums either.  I deleted the feed and then re-subscribed myself but that didn't do anything.  SAD :( :( :(  I am now poised to probably lose 2/3 of my readership (9 people, in case you are wondering...) thanks to Google Reader being a huge jerkface.

I'm too depressed about this to make a post tomorrow but posting will resume Monday, if anyone is still reading anymore.

Testing testing 123

Trying to see if I can get my blog to work in Google Reader :(

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You Guessed It

Hey RSS feed followers.  It appears all of my scheduled posts are no longer working in Google Reader.  Hopefully I can figure out how to fix this sometime this week but in the meantime, if you've missed the last week of posts, they were posted on the blog, just not in Google Reader.

So come on over to the blog itself for some bloggy enjoyment and sorry about this bug.  Hopefully it will be fixed soon.  In the meantime, I still always do post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Another Celeb Sighting!

As you know, I've met a lot of celebrities and have been known to be somewhat of a celebrity myself, so this should not come as a surprise BUT I have to say, this was probably my most successful celeb meeting to date.

I met Sandra Rinomato, host of HGTV's Property Virgins (and the upcoming Buy Herself)!

She was speaking at the Saskatoon HomeStyles show a couple weekends ago and being a huge fan of Property Virgins (it's awesome, you should totally watch it), I dragged my sister along to hear her speak and afterwards, decided to go chat with her.  There were a lot of senior citizens who were big Property Virgins fans who wanted to do this as well.

Anyway, it was cool!  The other times I have talked to celebs I've been like uh uh uh yeahhh nice to meet you ummmm okay I guess I will walk away now BUT Sandra Rinomato was very easy to talk to and I told her I love her show and chatted for a minute or two about my upcoming loss of property virginity (!!!!).

Unfortunately though the rest of HomeStyles was super lame because it's only for people who want to build or renovate houses, or buy hot tubs, so it was not so relevant for me.  I'm super sad that I had to work the weekend of Gardenscape because I'm pretty sure that would be my heaven :(

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why I Like The Hunger Games

There's a lot of hype about The Hunger Games right now.  I've read the books, and seen the movie, and I'd like to talk about what I like about it.  If you aren't sure whether you want to see the movie or read the books, maybe this can help you make a decision.

Let me start by saying I get that the concept of The Hunger Games is nothing new - there are many films and books and stories out there about battles to the death and humans hunting each other and all that.  So absolutely in no way am I defending that The Hunger Games is a totally fresh concept for a story because it's not.  I don't think author Suzanne Collins would ever try to defend that either.

What I do think though is that The Hunger Games is a very interesting take on the concept, and from it creates a very interesting, moving story about war and oppression and uprising and standing up for what you believe in, even when it's the hardest thing you will ever have to do.  It's also got a great underlying theme of unconditional love and never giving up on the people you care about when it seems like they are lost to you forever.

I also found it to be an interesting commentary on "reality" media and news coverage.  I think a discussion on the large role the media, the news, and even the personal stylists played in The Hunger Games and their significance could go on a long time.

I think maybe though what I like best about The Hunger Games is its main character, Katniss Everdeen (played in the movie to perfection by Jennifer Lawrence).  In a series of books and films that is hyped this big, I'm so so excited that the protagonist is a female who doesn't suck.  She's super tough, but she's emotional.  She's flawed and dynamic.  She's a strong character who happens to be female, not a Strong Female Character

And yet, crazily enough, The Hunger Games appeals to males AND females.  I was in Costco the other day and I saw a nine-year-old boy excitedly exclaim "HUNGER GAMES!  HUNGER GAMES!" and grab the boxed set off the shelf.  Contrary to what Hollywood seems to think based on the movies they keep churning out, movies about women can appeal to a male audience too.  A good story will appeal to everyone, no matter the gender of the protagonist.

I've heard some people compare The Hunger Games to Twilight.  Um... no.  Admittedly I have not read or watched Twilight but from reading the Wikipedia page, the only thing these two series have in common seems to be having a female protagonist and a love triangle - although in Twilight the love triangle IS the story, whereas it's maybe the C-plot, if that, in The Hunger Games.  Because Katniss has more important things to do than worry about which boy she wants to kiss more.

Do I think The Hunger Games is the greatest series ever?  No.  Do I think it's amazing literature/filmmaking?  Not particularly.  But it's an interesting and thought-provoking story, and definitely a page-turning series of books.  As a feminist I think the fact that an extremely popular movie like this passes The Bechdel Test with flying colours with a whole roster of interesting characters who happen to be female, already introduced and yet to come, is groundbreaking and awesome, and I'm happy to support it.

However - do I think you should watch the movie before reading the book?  No, I don't.  I think the movie does a great job of visualizing the settings and characters from the book, and overall the movie was one of the closest book-to-movies I've ever seen, but it glossed over the importance of a lot of subtle things that contribute to the story.  The screenplay was written by Suzanne Collins and perhaps that's actually a downside - when the author herself lives and breathes the story, she might miss some of the elements that an outsider NEEDS to understand the whole picture.  The movie is great if you already understand the story from reading the books, but there are a lot of things that will just seem like plot holes when you watch the movie if you don't already know the story.  I hear that Suzanne Collins is not writing the second screenplay which hopefully will make for a movie that makes more sense, even if it does have to take a few more liberties with the story to do so.