Month: October 2014

Let them Eat Candy

So I just got finished with volleyball and I was talking to one of the moms and she expressed her concern about her kids trick or treating and eating too much candy.  Not that I have any experience to back up giving advice on parenting but since she asked me for it I told her:

“Let your kid have the best day of their lives, best weekend in fact, and then next week they can be back to restricted candy”

This kind of goes along with my opinion about kids and movies.  I wrote about it in my piece Content, Content, Content. Kids are impressionable but sometimes we overdue it, we worry too much.  (Again, I know easy for me to say with no kids.  I get it!).

All I know is that I went for blocks trick or treating and got a pillowcase full of candy and so did most of my friends.  We ate tons of candy for a couple of days and then before too long our stash would be thrown out or given away.

But the memory of kid excess, imagination and fun, lasted.  In fact, by forcing the religion of clean eating on our children we can do more damage than a couple days of candy.  We make food too big a deal instead of simply a fun, silly part of life.  Instead of acknowledging it’s pleasurable qualities we demonize food and make a child feel guilty for something they should not feel guilty about.  It’s not good!

I really like how the Washington Post’s piece of the same name says it:

“It might be better to assume that, when it comes to candy — and much else — children are people, too. Instead of treating kids as fragile, helpless, stupid creatures who will perish if we don’t swaddle them in layers of social and emotional padding, we could treat them the way adults like to be treated: as intelligent beings with a strong drive for autonomy and respect.

Kids need our wisdom and our knowledge. They need to learn from us what good food looks and tastes like, and how to take care of their bodies. They need to understand media and advertising’s power to persuade and distort. But we should give them the freedom to learn to be themselves.”

I was totally that kid who needed to be respected and allowed to make my own choices whenever possible, so I relate to what she was saying.

Also, did you know the idea that sugar makes kids hyper is a myth? Science News said:

“Sugar doesn’t change kids’ behavior, a double-blind research study found way back in 1994. A sugary diet didn’t affect behavior or cognitive skills, the researchers report. Sugar does change one important thing, though: parents’ expectations. After hearing that their children had just consumed a big sugar fix, parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive, even when the big sugar fix was a placebo, another study found.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons not to feed your kids a bunch of sugar, but fear of a little crazed sugar monster isn’t one of them”.

So let your kids be kids.  Don’t try to give out dried fruit or something lame like that.  They will be ok.  Kids aren’t stupid.  They need their little moments of abandon and glee just like the rest of us but with a little nudging and encouragement that is a moment to remember not an everyday occurrence.

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My View on Disney Princesses and Feminism

Just wanted to share with you guys my piece on Disney Princesses that I wrote for the Disney blog. It focuses a lot on teaching femininity and gender stereotypes to our children. A princess is not by its nature bad. Just like an alien, king, mutant, wizard can be bad or good depending on what the story does with it. Anyway, if it’s your thing enjoy!

Rachel's Reviews

This post is another little interruption from my reviews to answer a question I’ve gotten from friends and on social media.  I clearly have issues with female Disney characters who only exist to make bug eyes at boys and have them fall instantly in love with them- or instant love as I have coined it.  The end of the Jungle Book makes me nuts.  The girl fox, Vixey in Fox and the Hound I hated especially because Tod was acting like a real idiot and she hears a song and goes right back to the old batting the eyes…

vixey

These characters annoy me because they are only there as a love object and that is it. It’s like the Disney equivalent of porn.  Just look at me and you are hooked, hypnotized by my feminine wiles…

jungle book She sings about cooking and cleaning, bats her eyes and…

mowgli and Mowgli is hooked…

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Scary Movies for Wimps

I did this video for my youtube channel and I thought you guys would enjoy it. I am a horror movie wimp but there are still a few movies I can watch on Halloween. What are some of your favorites? Have you seen any of my selections?

Rachel's Reviews

I did this video for my youtube channel and I thought you guys would enjoy it.  I am a horror movie wimp but there are still a few movies I can watch on Halloween.  What are some of your favorites?  Have you seen any of my selections?

scary movies

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Nanowrimo Coming Up

nanowrimo1Hey guys!  So Nanowrimo is coming up on Saturday! I have come up with what I think will be a solid concept for my story about a woman who has never fallen in love.  I’m really excited to get writing!

I’m curious for your suggestions about how I can best use the blog while writing? Would you guys like to read little sections?  Would you like if I posted about writing and the process of Nanowrimo?  I only have so much time so I’m not promising anything but I am sure I can pump out a few posts?

I could do different exercises or character sketches to give you an idea of wha tI am writing about (and help me while I’m at it).  Would that be fun for you? Or should I just occasionally post about other things not related to Nanowrimo during November (like Thanksgiving and other events going on).  Maybe you guys don’t have any interest in Nanowrimo and my progress. Let me know!

I’d be curious to know how many of my readers are participating.  Please share.  I’d love to hear about your concepts and genres you will be working in.

Thanks in advance for the support and if anyone is interested in guest posting on either of my blogs I’d love it! Happy Nanowrimo!

Nanowrimo Snowflake Technique

snowflake

STEP 1 ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY

A woman who has never fallen in love finally looses it when watching her twin sister get divorced for the 2nd time and helping her last single best friend plan her wedding.

STEP 2 ONE PARAGRAPH PLOT 

Julie is 40. In fact, she had celebrated the big 40 with her best friend Claire just last Friday.  Today she is standing in front of Claire at ‘Gowns by Tracie’ and looking at her 40 year old face in the mirror beside the most hideous fuchsia number she’d ever seen.  You think being single and bridesmaid as many times as Clair had she would have some mercy on her friend but it seemed more revenge than mercy, and Julie was asked to pay the price.  Sigh…It seemed to be Julie’s role in life cheering on her friends while their lives got interesting and she had the same old, same old. Right now Julie’s sister Lisa was going through her second divorce and she called her at all hours of the day.  Why anyone would call her for advice she would never know.  The truth is she has a secret. Julie is 40 and has never fallen in love.  Never even been kissed.  She hasn’t been twitterpated or excited over a guy.  She hasn’t had her heart broken.  She hasn’t even held hands with a guy.  Why? She has no idea except it seems to be her calling to watch others from the sidelines.

STEP 3 DEVELOP CHARACTERS

Julie- 40 year old woman, never fallen in love, hard worker, perhaps even workaholic, likes control which means romance drives her nuts, practical but also a dreamer.  She has a twin sister who is very demanding, critical and a mess with her life.  Wants to support everyone but having a hard time.

Claire- Julie’s best friend and the last of their group to get married except Julie.  She’s lost in wedding plans as it is finally her dream come true.  She worries about Julie but everything has happened very fast. She’s scared of all the change but feels like she can’t talk to Julie about her worries.

Lisa- Julie’s sister and twin. A mess with relationships.  Can’t keep a job and her kids are a challenge.  Jealous of her sister always having things together. Feels Julie judges her.

Mom and Dad- Supportive parents but tend to forget Julie and give all the attention to their kids with grandkids.

Other siblings?

Boss? Coworkers?

Julie and Claire’s group of married girlfriends

Love interest? New friend like in My Best Friends Wedding she doesn’t end up with anyone.

STEP 4 PLOT SUMMARY

The story will kind of be as if Julie is a pot of water and as the pressure and heat increase Julie will get more stressed until it boils over.  Eventually she will have to reconcile her life and the expectations she had for it.  Meanwhile there will be Claire’s wedding and all that goes into putting that together.  Julie and Lisa have to deal with their envy of each other. Don’t want everything to end with a tidy bow.  Should be still challenges, unknowns but some peace and comfort for the future.

There are other steps but I will wait to do those another day.

So that’s a start.  Would love your thoughts and suggestions.  Cant’ say I will take all of them but I know it will be helpful as I put it all together.

Those are some initial thoughts at least!

Brainstorming Techniques?

BRAINSTORMING_METHODS-283x300I need some help you guys!  I am getting ready for Nanowrimo and I have the idea for a character but I’m not sure what I want to happen to her.  I want to write a book about a woman who never falls in love and how she deals with that.  I don’t want her to fall in love because I feel like that would be a cop out.  I want it to be a unique story.

But what would be a good story?  I’ve thought she could lose her job.  She could have a group of ‘lonely hearts club’ or other group of friends.  I saw a thing on food network about these widows that meant ever week and made perogies.  I thought I could tell that story but I don’t think I would do an old lady very well so it would be 30’s or 40’s.

Anyway, I’m just curious for your suggestions and what you do when you need to brainstorm for ideas? Fellow writers help!

This Nanowrimo is going to be different because I don’t have a concrete plan like I’ve had the last 2 years.  We will see how it goes.  I have a back up idea if this doesn’t work.

So help!  Need ideas.  What could happen to her that wouldn’t be a cliche but would be interesting to read about?

Also is anyone interested in guest blogging for me as I work on my book on either of my blogs?

Final Disney Rankings

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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

Meet the Mormons: A Member’s Review

Meet-the-MormonsSo I just got back from the theater viewing a movie about my faith, Meet the Mormons.  This film tells the story of 6 ordinary members from all around the world.  This is not a piece on the Osmonds or the Romneys.  Just 6 families.

Currently Rotten Tomatoes has the movie at 0% with nearly every critic calling it a ‘PR stunt’.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say they were partly right but all documentaries are in a way.  Almost all I have seen have a strong conviction one way or another, especially movies about current times.

For example, last year’s Blackfish has a 98% on rotten tomatoes and that movie makes almost no attempt to be fair.  It tells its perspective and it tells it very well.  I found it gripping.  The same could be said for Michael Moore documentaries and even the recent Ken Burns miniseries on the Roosevelt’s was very slow to criticize and quick to praise the former presidents

Not every movie has to be everything to everyone.  There is a place for movies that share a certain type of story, a certain type of message and if you don’t like said message then the movie isn’t for you. Take a look at my post called ‘Consider the Audience’ that talks about this issue.

As I was watching, I kept thinking ‘what if this was a series and we had Meet the Catholics, or Meet the Muslims, or Meet the Jehovah’s Witnesses’, would I enjoy it as much?  Maybe not as much as my own faith finally getting some love (been a rough couple of years) but I’d still enjoy it.  I’d love to hear about the lives of 6 honest, hard working Catholics, Muslims or Methodists.

I think most people are smart enough, even most children, to know when something is giving one side of an argument.  My favorite bit was about the Candy Bombers in WWII and all they did for post-war Germany.  I’d heard his story before but it is a great example of living close to the spirit so you can get those moments of clarity when you need them.

Plus, something tells me these critics would have no problem praising a movie with 6 ex-mormons sharing their heroic stories of leaving the cult of Mormonism…Groan.

People may also say it is ‘unrealistic’ that there aren’t really people this good and wholesome.  ‘Nobody’s perfect’.  Yes, nobody’s perfect but there are a lot of people actively striving to be good people.

If you went to any ward in the church you could find 6 men and women like the one’s shown in the movie.  My ward there is an amazing woman who is a full time ER doctor, has 7 kids and sings in the tabernacle choir.  Another woman is a domestic abuse survivor turned attorney.  There are so many examples everywhere in the church and I enjoyed seeing 6 new one’s in the movies.

That said, it does feel like a visitor centers piece because it was.  Still, a well done piece and I enjoyed learning about these 6 people.  It’s comforting to know there are people who are striving to do the right thing and lead good lives.

I’m so grateful for my Membership in the Mormon church and to be surrounded by good people.

Here is the trailer.  If this looks like something you’d hate than I can pretty much guarantee you will hate it but if it looks at all appealing check it out.  I’m glad I saw it.

Here is the trailer

This perhaps belongs better on BYUTV but if it reaches more people than go for it!

Content Grade A+ Overall Grade B

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/

The Most Memorable Year of My Life 2001

I was watching dancing with the stars and the theme for tonight was ‘the most memorable year of your life’.  It made me think about my life.  What is the most memorable year in my life?  It’s very tough to answer, but 2 years came to mind first: 2001 and 2007.

Now this isn’t the best years that would be different because both 2001 and 2007 were rough.  I’ve talked a lot about 2007 on this blog so let me tell you a little bit about 2001. It was quite the ride.

2001-

When 2001 started I was flying high.

new york

I had just finished a dream trip with my Grandma and my dear cousin Lisa to New York City.  We had enjoyed the Rockettes, museums and lots of Broadway shows.  We were scolded by my Grandma for ordering too much pizza and we told her we’d eat it later but it smelled so we put it outside and the maids took it.  Knowing she would ask about it we spent the night coming up with outlandish stories about what happened to the pizza and laughing.  I saw my first New York at Christmas and saw the Rockefeller tree and the lights.  It was magic.

I would never have been prepared for what would happen.

Here I am in 2001 with my roommate:

2001

I made sure I signed up for 30 course hours a year while going to school, usually more and I had taken a lighter load in the fall so winter term I was taking 18 credits! They were also junior level rigorous courses. It was challenging but I pushed on through until the end of March.

Then I got the call and found out my beloved Grandpa had passed away.  It still makes me cry to write it.  In many ways it was a good thing but I still miss him so much.  He’s my hero and I would visit him every Sunday and he would tell me how beautiful I looked.  It meant a lot to me. And then he was gone and there isn’t a day 13 years later that I don’t wish I could talk to him and wonder what he’s thinking about my life. I hope he’s happy with me.

Nevin 1992Then just 2 weeks later, my Dad gave me a call and he was crying.  “Rachel” he said haltingly into the phone “Lisa passed away”.  I was stunned.  The bright spirit I’d been joking with over pizza months before and wizzing around New York was gone.

lisaI can’t remember when it occurred during the week but I had a few days before the flight to California for the funeral. I was devastated and felt guilty spending any time on my 18 credits of classes but finals were coming up and I knew Lisa and Grandpa would want me to study. But my head was hanging low, just getting through the day.

At this same time there was a girl named Emily who was in my ward that I had met, and had met my sister in Nauvoo study abroad.  She was an acquaintance but I knew she had been missing from church for a month or so.

2001-5
Emily, my sister Megan and me 2001

As I walked up to campus the weight of my problems heavy on my shoulders Emily saw me and she stopped and said ‘are you ok?’. I’ll never forget that.

It will doubt be no surprise if you are a frequent blog reader to hear I immediately burst into tears and told her my sad story (I’m a bit of an open book…).  I would learn she was grieving from her own deep loss of her father which is why she had been gone for so many weeks. (what a great example of looking to help others when you are the one hurting the most).

We talked and she helped me pack for the funeral.  I quickly learned she was not living with kind people and so out of the blue I said

“I know.  Why don’t you come live with Megan and me?”

I called Megan and she was like “Ok.  Why not” probably a little caught off guard but she then added “Why don’t we ask Julia?”  Julia is our cousin and Lisa’s sister who had come home from her mission to the funeral.  Julia agreed and after the funeral I found an apartment for the 4 of us and it was all settled.

2001-3
Julia, me, Megan, Emily

When I got home from the funeral I prayed Heavenly Father would help me with finals.  That I would find a way to not suffer from the weeks of absences both emotional and physical. I tried my best and you know what I got my best grades of all of college.  All As and Bs despite all that happened and taking the most credits.  Miracles do happen.

2001-4That year Julia met her Matthew and I would start my senior year.I remember staying inside a lot and just spending time the 4 of us.  It was a time of healing and love.

In June 2001 I retook Poli Sci 201 because I had gotten a lazy C as a sophmore because the teacher bored me but for some reason I knew I needed to be a TA for that class.  I was lucky to have Dr.  Matthew Holland as my teacher in his first class of students as a BYU Professor.

20141016_230644

20090306__holland_0306p1_200At the end of the course I called him for about 2 weeks leaving messages, begging to be his TA.  Finally he answered and said “so I hear you want to be one of my TA’s”.  My best buddy Raelene was also a TA and we had such a wonderful experience . He had such faith in me and never changed a grade I gave.  That did so much for my confidence.

This is Raelene and I in 2009 but we basically look the same…

113_0608In September my family received another shock with the passing of my cousin Riley.  He had made mistakes and had challenges with addiction so we weren’t super close but it was still very tragic.

rileyAnd then the whole world had tragedy with 9-11.  I’ll never forget driving up to campus and seeing everyone on their phones (which at the time seemed strange).  The whole aura was nervous, sad and unsure.

9-11I’ll never forget later that day President Bateman gave a speech and said:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Brothers and sisters, that is our message this morning. Fortunately this is only the second act of a three-act play. Even when death comes to those we love, we know what lies ahead. We know they are fine. It is those of us who are left behind who are sad. We know we will see them again, and we know we will be with them. When death comes to someone who has the peace of the Holy Ghost inside, it can be sweet, not bitter.

Do you understand why you young people hold the power of peace for the world in your hands? The world depends on you.

Many of you have just returned from missions; many of you will go next year. The world’s peace is on your shoulders because you have the only message that gives hope for eternal peace

Here’s the whole talk if you want to listen to it:

I took his admonition seriously.  I was finishing up school and after the year I had it was all to clear ‘this is the second act in a three-act play’.  I knew I would be responsible for making the world better.  For bringing peace in my own little circle, and I’ve striven to do that.  Even with anxiety, depression, frustration and disappointment I have tried my best to never forget the Lord and His goodness, to share His peace.

Because it is on our shoulders in 2001 and 2014.  I’m certainly glad not all my years are 2001’s (my family couldn’t take it!) but it made me the person I am today.  It was a refining time and a time for decisions on the type of person I was going to be.

And it certainly was memorable…

2001-2
Here I am with my friend Joni as she sets off for her mission.