Thoughts on Backlash

smilingldsgirl:

A little post I wrote on how being a fan used to be a little bit more fun. Now backlash comes so quickly it can be a bummer.

Originally posted on Reviewing All 54 Disney Animated Films And More!:

backlashLately I’ve been thinking a lot about fandoms and backlash.  When I was growing up (back in the old days of 1980s…) most kids got a lot of their identity from the things they liked and didn’t like.  I loved The Little Mermaid.  I knew every scene, song and wished I could be like Ariel.  Then in high school I loved Les Miserables.  I saw it in New York, watched the 10th Anniversary Concert special over and over again. It was great! I loved Jewel, Simpsons, REM and Clueless. I saw Jurassic Park 6 times in the theaters. My friends all saw Titanic over a dozen times and I was annoyed by it but it wasn’t a big deal.

In college it was Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pixar, Jane Austen, Norah Jones, romcoms and Jane Eyre that caught my attention.

Back then I may have gotten a little bit of backlash…

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The Christmas Without any Presents

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents”

That my friends is the opening line to one of my favorite novels and the first big book I remember reading- Little Women.  In the story the March sisters have been told by their Mother they should forgo Christmas presents because “it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices”

little women2 As the story continues they decide to spend the dollar they have on themselves but unselfish Beth convinces them to instead buy a present for their Mother.  The girls get as much pleasure selecting gifts for their Marmee (Mother) as if it had been for themselves. They even end up giving their Christmas breakfast to a family in need rather than enjoy it alone.

littlewomen1While I am eventually getting the desire of my heart for Christmas, and the March girls went without, I found myself thinking about this classic scene today as I kind of had a Christmas without any presents.

I’m not complaining at all as I had a great day but it was an interesting experience to have a Christmas with one present to open (an awesome book from my sister! Thanks Meg).

le creusetSadly even the gift to myself was a bust as my Le Creuset pot had a giant crack down the side (both sides).  I can return it of course but that was a bit of a letdown.

My siblings and I didn’t exchange gifts this year and my parents are bringing me my gift on Monday (so again don’t feel sorry for me by any means).

I’m not going to lie to you and say my experience was perfect and I didn’t miss opening presents on Christmas.  Of course I did.  That’s part of the fun of Christmas is opening presents and seeing what people have thought to get you.

But on the other hand it did force me to focus on the day in a new way.  I know this will sound cheesy but I found myself as excited to see the reactions of the presents I had sent as I would normally be for my own presents.

Particularly my gifts for my nieces were a big hit.  I had found a lady on facebook who made bow and arrow sets for kids and sent one to all 5 of my nieces and they loved them!

archery archery2I was also excited to see what my Mother thought about the knitting book I got her or my Dad the Beethoven set he had requested.

I also looked at my life for the many gifts I have and tried to focus on those.  I got invited to my friends The Porters for Christmas day breakfast this morning and what a lovely way to start off the day.  I’m so blessed by good friends in my life.  I got to see the sister missionaries and think about the gift my mission was. I’m so grateful my favorite mission comp Julia Graves is coming to visit on Tuesday.

I woke up to snow on Christmas when we had none up to the 24th.  I don’t know if I have ever had a true White Christmas out of nowhere like that before.  It was really fun.

snowI put together a version of our German Christmas Eve meal and thanked my Heavenly Father for the food I have and the bounty in my life.

christmas dinnerI looked at my tree and felt grateful for each of the memories captured on my Memory Tree. The travels, smiling faces and love that abounds in my heart.

I thought about the joy art, music, theater and film give my life.  Yesterday I went to see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen and had a tremendous experience (probably causing me to be extra sentimental today).

http://54disneyreviews.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/bonus-holiday-review-its-a-wonderful-life/

Aside from the breakfast, I have basically spent Christmas day alone.  I know people who would find that idea incredibly depressing, almost unimaginable.  And yet today I felt gratitude for the overwhelming blessings of my life.

Mostly I felt grateful for the gift of Christ’s birth and atonement in my life. For my knowledge of His goodness and love and that when I am alone he is always there to buoy me up and I mean ALWAYS.

for unto usSo yes Jo, I can confidently say ‘Christmas is still Christmas without any presents’.  It is what you make of it and in the end we all have many presents just being an America and living a life with a witness of Jesus Christ in our hearts.  That is what this Christmas taught me.  While I missed opening presents (I’m not a saint!) I realized its a tertiary joy of Christmas not the primary reason to celebrate. Sounds cheesy but it’s true.

And as Clarence told George Bailey- ‘no man is a failure who has friends’. Thanks to all of you for being my friends this holiday season.

failure

RIP Tom from Car Talk

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I don’t normally get overly emotional when a famous person or celebrity dies but every once in a while someone who has touched my life, celebrity or not, will pass away and it makes me feel sad.  Today my Saturday morning friend over on NPR, Tom Magliozzi, passed away from alzheimers and it made me feel very sad.

He and his brother Ray were the hosts of NPR’s Car Talk and were better known as Click and Clack the Tappett Brothers.

Here is a tribute done on NPR today.

The thing is anyone who knows me knows I hate cars.  I hate driving.  If I could live in Manhattan and never own a car I would be a happy lady.  They are a necessary evil in my life and a royal pain in the neck.  As my Dad knows I even hate cleaning cars.  I just don’t care about cars.

And yet I liked Car Talk.  I first discovered them around 2006.  At the time I was very unhappy working as a receptionist where I would do long stretches of data entry, sometimes days of data entry.  One regular project I had was 35 pages of data for the monthly car account.

That was just one of the mindnumbingly boring chores I did for that job.  When there wasn’t a call I could put an ear bud in one ear and play some music or a podcast, so I downloaded just about everyone I could put my hands on. That is also when I started my audible account so I’ve had that for 8 years!

In fact, I preferred podcasts to music because it was less distracting and made me feel like I was having some human contact in my cubicle cell.  I could be doing the most boring task imaginable and listening to a podcast on books or science and feel like my brain was getting some aerobics in the day.

In all those podcasts I discovered Car Talk and the first episode that really made me laugh was when Tom told the story of Tanya the Trainer.  I posted this on my blog years ago and it still makes me laugh every time I read it.

I was hooked.  Tom and Ray were the embodiment of cheerfulness and joy.  Every Saturday I would turn in and laugh and smile and then I would listen to the podcast again a couple of times throughout the week.  Just a few months ago I tweeted during stopped traffic ‘thank you for Car Talk. It makes traffic liveable”.  Joyfulness and a love of life will have that effect no matter what they are talking about.

Another funny bit that was a favorite of mine is the operation vowel drop.  I’ve listened to this about a hundred times and it still cracks me up.

A recurring bit on the show was that Tom could never remember the puzzler from the previous week.  Little did we know for at least some of the years he literally could not remember.

Here was a bit where the two laughing at dementia and foreign accent syndrome.  Even though I didn’t know him his laughter was infectious and I’m sure he would want to be remembered for it.

It’s interesting that I would find Car Talk when I was so unhappy at work and listening to all those podcasts while grinding through all that data entry because Tom was somewhat of a crusader of anti-work.  He said he had an epiphany one day after commuting 45 minutes to work and almost being in a dangerous accident:

“He had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.

“He actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”

As Tom once described his own attitude to his listeners, “Don’t be afraid of work.  Make work afraid of you. I did such a fabulous job of making work afraid of me that it has avoided me my whole life so far.”

I love that. Just when I was so miserable in my work I found a joyful spirit in someone who had found freedom from it.  Do what you have to do and do it with joy and ‘work’ in it’s 4 letter sense will leave you be.

This is another caller I love who they talked off the edge from destroying her car.  They just made you happy when you listened to them.

A friend of mine told me she didn’t like their show and I found it astounding because they are so cheerful and happy.  It’s like not liking a babies grin or dimples on a little girl.  They are so joyful.

Anyway, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and say thanks to Tom and Ray for cheering me up all these years.  RIP Tom and my comforts to Ray and the entire Magliozzi clan.

It just shows what good a human being can do when he or she finds their calling.

They were immortalized by the Pixar folks with Ray a Volkswagen van and Tom his fabled Dodge Dart.

 

Utah Symphony

I’m so grateful to live in Utah!!  It is such a fabulous place to live in so many ways including a wonderful history of cultural arts including of course the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the top 6 ballet company Ballet West and the world renown Utah Symphony.  They perform at Abravanal Hall which is an art deco masterpiece of a building with fabulous acoustics and have had top rate directors such as Keith Lockhart over the years.

Symphony-WideWebEarlier this year I went to a Bravo Broadway performance of Rogers and Hammerstein classics that was fabulous and tonight I went to a show called Cirque de la Symphony with circus acts performing along with the orchestra and it was fabulous.

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My friend Emily came with me and we had a lovely time.  And for 3rd row the tickets cost $18 each!!! Pretty remarkable I think.  I don’t know anywhere else in the country where you could see that kind of quality on a regular basis for that price.

symphony1 symphony 2It was fantastic and I’m so awe inspired by people and the talents God has given them.  What amazing gifts we all have.  I’m so grateful to live in a place where I can see so many wonderful performances at reasonable prices with a family values theme.  It is a great blessing.

For my Utah readers- have you been to the symphony? What have you enjoyed?

Next up I’m going to their Messiah Sing-in.  It is a tradition of mine but I am usually out of town for the symphonies version but this year I am staying put for Thanksgiving! What a treat that will be.

They played Night at Bald Mountain which was really fun as it is featured in one of my favorite segments of Walt Disney Classic Fantasia!

Final Disney Rankings

disney-kisses

http://wp.me/p4VRGy-wi I finished my initial project and have posted my rankings of the Disney Canon worst to best. Enjoy and please add your comments! Thanks!

Here’s the list first to worst but check out the link to see links and short explanations of why I rated where.

1 Beauty and the Beast
2 The Little Mermaid
3 Cinderella
4 Tangled
5 Fantasia
6 Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
7 101 Dalmatians
8 Frozen
9 The Jungle Book
10 Sleeping Beauty
11 Alice in Wonderland
12 Dumbo
13 Lion King
14 Mulan
15 Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs
16 Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad
17 Rescuers Down Under
18 Great Mouse Detective
19 Aladdin
20 Emperor’s New Groove
21 Atlantis: The Lost Empire
22 Lady and the Tramp
23 Robin Hood
24 Pinocchio
25 Melody Time
26 Tarzan
27 Hercules
28 Winnie the Pooh
29 Lilo and Stitch
30 Bambi
31 Peter Pan
32 Princess and the Frog
33 Fox and the Hound
34 Wreck-It Ralph
35 Treasure Planet
36 Meet the Robinsons
37 Saludos Amigos
38 The Black Cauldron
39 Make Mine Music
40 Oliver and Company
41 Bolt
42 Sword and the Stone
43 Fantasia 2000
44 Hunchback of Notre Dame
45 Pocahontas
46 Fun and Fancy Free
47 The Aristocats
48 The Rescuers
49 Three Cabelleros
50 Home on the Range
51 Brother Bear
52 Chicken Little
53 Dinosaur

Forgotten Animation Collaboration

top 11-002

Hi guys! I just wanted to share with you a recent youtube collaboration I got to do with my friend over at the Lawn Gnome.  I’m a better blogger/writer than youtuber/editor but I think it turned out pretty well.  We both created videos on our Top Forgotten Animated Movies.  It was a lot of work but I think it turned out pretty well.

It is fun to see how different our lists are.

Here is The Lawn Gnome’s review.

What would be on your list?  I’ve already thought of some that should have made the list like Atlantis: The Lost Empire and The Wild Thornberry’s Movie.

Would love for you to take a look at both videos and subscribe to our channels.

The Lawn Gnome does movie and a few other reviews like Funko toys, but he also has a whole section called Out of the Vault that focuses on the Disney Canon.  I do subscription box reviews with some movie, DVD and TV commentaries and reviews.  I think you will enjoy the channels and I am always working to make them better.

Also I just finished #50 in my Disney Canon series so I am nearing the homestretch of the initial project. Make sure to look at the reviews and add your comments and thoughts.  I’ve loved the discussion that has come with every entry.  It has been a blast and I look forward to starting new projects with animation after I finish Nanowrimo in November.

http://54disneyreviews.wordpress.com/

Adventures in Reading pt 2: Manga- FAIL

Way back in July I did a post called Adventures in Reading pt 1  all about comic books.  The whole point was to dive into different types of writing I had never read before.   Before the project I hadn’t read a single comic book and yet I would see the movies and wasn’t that big a fan.  I thought maybe if I knew the art behind the movie I might appreciate them more and for the most part it worked.

There were some things I didn’t like such as the treatment of women but I’ve been reading more of them and they have gotten much better in recent years. Either way, it is fun to try new things and step out of your comfort zone.

However, not every step out of the comfort zone is successful.  My next adventure was to read ‘manga’ which are kind of like a Japanese comic book and graphic novel morphed together.

manga

For the project I picked 7 different series- Fruits Basket, Chi’s Sweet Home, Astro Boy, Attack on Titan, Yotsuba, Dragonball, and the Black Butler.

I decided on these 7 by looking online at family friendly manga articles.  Each of these series would be fine content-wise for teens and children with the exception of Attack on Titan that is pretty violent.   Oddly enough it was actually my favorite but more for teens and adults than children.

titan

The reason why it has taken me so long to write this post is I found myself struggling to get through them.  That may be strange thing to say about children’s books but let’s just say manga is not my favorite.

A lot of the pacing felt schizophrenic.  One minute a character would be talking and then the next an explosion.

From Fruits Basket.  Tone changes so fast
From Fruits Basket. Tone changes so fast

And from Dragonball (which was one of the better one’s).  But characters would go from normal talking to screaming at each other with no real reason.

dragonball2

It seems like a lot is lost in translation.  A lot of the writing felt like a drill commander giving orders or robots talking not people.  Like this scene from Yotsuba”

yotsuba2

She’s getting ‘caughted by a bad person’.  and then ‘Leave it to me to take care of the bad person’. In all of them the dialogue felt choppy and disjointed, which made them unpleasant and difficult to read.  I have to believe the Japanese is more nuanced and fluid.

A lot of it felt like the old 60s Batman show with the expressions of “pow”, “bam”, “crash” thrown in instead of interesting setting, characters or plot.  In a way it is surprising to me because in the anime, which are based on many of these books. the backstory and legends are usually quite complicated and intricate.  I didn’t get any of that feel in reading the manga.

It’s funny these are so popular in Japan because almost all featured a blonde haired girl in the lead.  You’d think Japanese kids would want stories of kids they can relate to and look like them.  But regardless of looks I just couldn’t get immersed in the stories.  It felt too spastic and choppy.

There are some cute characters like the Chi books which are basically like board books for the very little child. It kind of reminded me of Hello KittychiI also liked the graphics in Astro Boy, which felt more like a US comic book:

astro boy2

I don’t know if it is just the lack of color but I prefer the artistry of comic books and the story actually.  Of the 7 series I read none of them enticed me to explore the franchises more.

Conclusion/Review

I guess not everything in life is going to be my taste but I’m still glad I gave it a shot and tried something new. .  Now when people mention manga I will have a little more understanding of what they are like and how the stories are structured.

And you never know when you will hit upon something new that you really love unless you give it a shot.

So, manga is not for me but I’m glad I went on the adventure.

What do you think of manga?  Any I didn’t try which you think I should?

Now on to graphic novels.  Any suggestions?