Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wishful Drinking Review

I liked Carrie Fisher, I’ve met her by accident and didn’t realize who she was (and her little dog too). Hearing the news of her passing this past December was hard and having a Disney Infinity figure of princess Leia and a Funko Pop figure of General Leia just made me feel sad knowing I’ll never accidentally meet her again seeing as she’s now in a beautiful Prozac pill in the sky.

However this didn’t mean I couldn’t celebrate her life beyond Star Wars and that weird hairdo, so I bought some of her books and just finished reading the hilariously wonderful, Wishful Drinking.

It’s kind of hard to spoil real life.

I loved this book, at first I was scared I was going to be depressed and shocked at the possibility of the darker parts of Carrie Fisher’s life since no one has the perfect life and we all have our own demons to face. And she did have her own demons to face, and she faced them, and as of the publishing of Wishful Drinking (I still need to read The Princess Diarist) she called up her inner demons and they had something to drink and what not every other week.

Hearing about her life as the daughter of two celebrities, knowing how “celebrity life” was like back during the time of her adolescence and teenage years during that time era was interesting. Reading some of Carrie’s experiences in life was interesting and funny. Normally I would go into detail of certain events in a book or movie, but I really don’t want to with Wishful Drinking because I feel they really do have to be read to believe.

The book felt more like sitting down and listening to an older friend (lets say one friend being a baby boomer and yourself being a millennial)  tell you a story. Carrie does talk about drug usage and takes a few loving jabs at Star Wars. I will never know Carrie Fisher beyond our very brief meeting that she probably wouldn’t recall anyways. But reading this book felt like I got to know her a little better and makes me hope that if I must become old, I can be similar to Carrie where I can laugh at the sad and scary parts of my life and joke about drug usage (I haven’t ever used drugs) and depression/anxiety (oh boy those two…).

Finally the main thing I have taken from Wishful Drinking is this; as long as you can laugh at/about your hardships later in life, you’re going to be just fine. There will be alot of bumps and scary parts (look at what happened in London within less than a month as of June 2017!) But anything short of sudden mass extinction via nuclear blasts and having communism take over your country is only temporary.

I will end this review with a beautiful quote that I found in this book at the end.

One of the things that baffles me (and there are a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of duty in Afganistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. 

 

Second Blog

So I’ve realized that my little blog that was originally supposed to be book reviews has evolved quite a bit. This was just a hobby and no I’ve gotten no monitary benefits or even offers to read books ahead of time like a friend of mine who got into blogging last year (YAY SAM!). But I have realized that I do like doing essays, reviewing movies and television as much as I enjoy reading books and reviewing them.

No they’re not stopping, but I’ve decided to create a second blog for my more science fiction and fantasy related interests. Which is a little ironic because I purposely picked the term Smizmar to be in the title as a reference to science fiction.

I will still review books of the science fiction and fantasy genre on this site, however on this other site I will go into more detail concerning franchises like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and my love for the two genres. This blog is called Smizzing, Fantasy, and Science. Here I’ll talk about some of my favorite characters from science fiction and fantasy, make theories, and actually review episodes if they have a particular impact on me.

I will also talk about experiences with cosplay and conventions and how I’m doing with making costumes and my goals for them.

My first post will be over the coverage of this past weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, particularly Star Wars Rebels and my theories for the last season of the series. I really hope that you will follow and enjoy this blog because I’m kind of excited to start it.

Princesses and Femenism

After watching Beauty and the Beast last week, rewatching the animated Beauty and the Beast from my childhood, and looking up actual signs of Stockholm syndrome (apparently it needs to be studied more), I decided to write a bit on feminism and princesses. Not real life princesses, but the animated ones kids and adults of today’s society grew up with. I talk from my own personal viewing experience and talk as much as I can about feminism as I’m allowed to with my Y chromosome (I think I’m allowed to go a little further because I’m gay).

Disney Princesses

I know there are alot of arguments concerning the Disney princesses and how they can and can’t be feminist role models because it took literally ten(ish) princesses for one to NOT get a boyfriend/handsome prince in the end.

I like to think of the Disney princess movies as slowly progressive feminism with Snow White being the worst damsel in distress and Elsa and Moana being able to save their own damn selves.

From Snow White we have Cinderella who takes alot of crap from her evil stepmother and stepsisters and just goes with it because she’s a good girl who feels she will be rewarded for her goodness and kindness one day. She didn’t want to go to the ball to meet Prince Charming and live happily ever after; she wanted to go to the ball to have a good time and to have a night off from her life as a servant to her family. Prince Charming falling for her was just an added bonus. In her live action adaption (which is pretty much a rated G version of Everafter), she’s made an intellect and the ultimate Christian good girl having the ability to forgive the people who wronged her and even let them off with their own happily ever after. Also she has one of the few decent Disney sequels with Cinderella 3.

Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is still a damsel and she longed for someone to marry, but she wanted to date the individual first and get to know him before marrying any old guy. Plus the movie is just the good fairies and Maleficent going back and fourth at each other.

Between the first three princesses and the Disney Renascence we had Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron. She was being held captive along with the protagonist and had some pretty crappy magical abilities at best. She didn’t want a relationship, she just didn’t want to be held captive by the Horned King. At most she kisses the protagonist, but since Disney views The Black Cauldron as a box office bomb Eilonwy, Taran, Gurgi, and Hen Wen and ignored by Disney with DVD releases of The Black Cauldron popping up once every twenty(ish) years. I have a copy.

In the eighties and nineties our princesses started being more proactive. Ariel of The Little Mermaid gets alot of flack because she sold her voice/soul for legs (and a vagina), for the sake of romancing a guy who’s life she had saved. In her defense she could be a “fangirl of humans” and after saving a human, she wanted to experience more human things. As an adult though, Ariel’s efforts to get the attention of a man to make him fall in love with her is an awful message for little girls (and some boys). Fortunately her animated tv show made up for this (I think, it’s been two decades since I’ve seen it).

From there we have Belle, who was the first Disney princess who didn’t want a man in her life. She was literate, and longed for more outside of the jackass illiterate folks in her town who sang shit behind her back. Contrary to what many believe (I was one of them) Belle is not a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. For more on that, look at this neat video essay by Lindsay Ellis.

From there we have Jasmine who didn’t want an arranged marriage, she wanted to actually get to know and love a guy and experience life as a normal person. Like Ariel, Aladdin The Animated Series helps her out alot. There’s also Pocahontas, there’s so many things wrong with that movie, but at the very least part of her goal was to prevent a war between Native Americans and English settlers.

Mulan technically isn’t a princess since she never actually married royalty. She got hugged by the Emperor of China though. I feel like Disney watered down her badassness from her original story; in her original story she asked her dad if she could join the army, he said no, she dueled him, won, joined the army, won a shit load of battles. I like her movie too, she isn’t interested in a man and technically doesn’t even get a boyfriend by the end of her movie.

After Mulan Disney took a break from princesses, then for the sake of tokenism we got The Princess and the Frog; it’s a good movie, there’s also alot of stereotyping. Tiana has a goal and that goal is to have her own restaurant. She is hellbent on it damnit! My only issue with this movie is that everyone and Tiana’s mom keeps on telling her “you gotta get a man in your life! COMPLETE YOURSELF TIANA!” At the same time we also have Charlotte who wants to become an authentic princess and is spoiled…spoiled sweet. Instead of getting mad at Tiana for unintentionally making a mess at her party, Charlotte helps her clean up and lends Tiana one of her many princess costumes without a second thought. When presented with the opportunity to break the spell on Prince Naveen via “princess kissing a frog to get a prince,” Charlotte jumps at it because she’d rather see Tiana’s dreams come true than have her own come true.  Seriously why isn’t Charlotte included in the princess line with Tiana? She’s the closest we’ll ever have to a Disney adaption to Emma!

After The Princess and the Frog failed to meet Disney’s box office standards, Disney thought they would do a few more princess movies then just stop altogether. Tangled was made with Rapunzel as the first CGI princess, she intentionally didn’t want a man, she just wanted to explore her life beyond her tower. Yeah she got Eugene. She has an animated series now that seems to be following in the footsteps of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.

Then we had Merida, she was a Pixar Princess. She burped, hated fancy dresses, occasionally enjoyed eye candy, and is a badass archer. She also refuses to sing in her episode of Sophia the First. While trailers and marketing wanted to present Merida as a badass who did cool stuff and took names, she technically didn’t do that. Brave focused more on the relationship between Merida and her mother queen Elinor and how both of them needed a better understanding of each other’s worlds with Merida learning to handle a violent situation with pacifism (she ended a civil war in her house with the skills Elinor had been trying to teach her), while Elinor (in bear form) has to resort to action to protect her family from Mor’du and aid in his defeat. Merida is included in some of the box sets for princesses, but she’s usually not in pretty frilly dresses. Her doll at the Disney Store doesn’t even have crowns and jewels, it has an arrow and an ax!

Then came Frozen. Yes I am talking about Frozen, yes I’m aware everyone is sick of hearing Frozen and parents everywhere are TIRED of hearing their children singing Let it Go, but I’m going to talk about it. Briefly. I love Frozen, I saw it the day after a very shitty day (like crying the whole night shitty) with my best friend. The events of the night of my brother trying to calm me down from what drove me to a point of despair and the bond between Anna and Elsa means alot to me and the fact that for the first time in forever an act of true love was sacrifice rather than a kiss. Also Elsa is not a princess, she’s a queen.

Now we have Moana, for some reason I haven’t seen this movie, but I’ve heard very good things. It’s on my to watch list, don’t worry.

Many (myself included), have complained that there is no Mexican princess. Recently though we got princess Elena of Avalor on Disney jr. Some might see it as a slap on the face that the first Hispanic princess is on tv instead of getting her own movie. My thoughts are this; you bitches have to settle for one movie while Elena has a WHOLE SERIES! Haha, SUCKERS!

Princesses who Aren’t From Disney

Not all princesses are from Disney, a few other people have tried to cash in on it though. In some cases even parody the idea of Disney Princesses.

The Swan Princess is a series of movies about a princess who gets turned into a Swan; I haven’t seen it in a while, but from what I recall the princess is a tomboy most of her life. She had acne as a tween/early teen, and hated the prince her parents wanted to set her up with. Then when she was older, beautiful she was forced into a room with said prince and they noticed they became hot. From there she gets turned into a swan, becomes human, and in the span of six sequels becomes a swan again. I presume Princess Odette is as proactive in this movies as her nineties Disney princess counterparts (possibly more).

Anastasia is constantly mistaken for Disney, she’s from a Don Bleuth/Twentieth Century Fox production though (you will never find her merchandise at the Disney Store. Ever. STOP ASKING!) She was sarcastic, didn’t want a man, was going to con her aunt, and is dead in real life from the execution of the whole Romanov family. In the cartoon though her aunt found a way to save her life because she was her favorite niece (that’s kind of a bitch of her). Anastasia’s story has action and explosions though, and our princess killing her foe in cold blood (Tiana had to “kill” her antagonist indirectly and did it with a smile on her face).

Now there’s Fiona from Shrek. I have mixed feelings about the Shrek franchise because I liked the first two movies, then I discovered they want to make more when ending it on the second movie would have been just fine. Fiona was neat though, she and her father and fairy godmother had “planned” her life to follow a very Disney Princess life. Then Shrek comes along and they both just bond over being different from what is expected. Fiona is action oriented choosing to fight after getting frustrated with being a damsel in care of Shrek. In the third movie she stages her own damn rescue mission with the help of the other princesses encouraging them to fight back against Rapunzel and Prince Charming. In the fourth movie’s weird timeline where Shrek never rescued Fiona she decides to save her own damn self and embrace the life as a warrior princess ogre.

Finally we have the princess who didn’t have a frilly dress and would have killed for a damn bra in space. Princess Leia, okay technically she is owned by Disney now and sadly her actress Carrie Fisher passed away last year. But prior to being purchased by Disney, Leia was sarcastic, she knew how to use a blaster, she killed giant slugs with chains. She even ditched the princess status and became a general and we will see more (and probably the last) of her this December.

Nintendo’s Princesses

Princess Peach and Princess Zelda are known to many video gamers as videogame royalty. They’re also saved by Mario and Link. Alot. It has been described that the stories and adventures in the Super Mario game series as “actors in a movie” to help explain why Bowser is friends with everyone in Mario Kart and that he isn’t really evil. He’s just an actor while Peach is an actress and sole monarch to the Mushroom Kingdom.

In 2005/2006 Peach got her own game called Super Princess Peach. In a strange turn of events it’s now up to HER to save Mario and Luigi from Bowser. To save the day Peach uses her emotions and a weapon called the Vibe Scepter/Rodd. Although I admit it’s interesting to see how Peach’s emotions can solve problems, I can’t help but feel that in a way it’s a step back in comparison to Peach the in the Super Smash Brothers series who is kicking ass in all her finery. Princess Daisy and Rosalina also join the royalty of the Super Mario World (no pun intended), Daisy has been described as a tomboy compared to Peach where while Peach would do something like bake a cake, Daisy would like to do an activity like boxing. Rosalina is older and a more tragic character in comparison. She left her family to take care of the Luma for countless years and realized one day her family had passed on.

In comparison to Princess Peach, Princess Zelda of The Legend of Zelda series has always been more proactive, even in her first game. In her first game, rather than let Ganon get his hands on the triforce of wisdom, Zelda shatters it into pieces to postpone Ganon’s growth in power. From then on Zelda has acted more as a chessplayer against Ganon trying to prevent Ganon and other evil forces from destroying Hyrule. A good chunk of the time things do go south, but Zelda and Link still beat Ganon or whatever malevolent force is before them.

There have even been times where Zelda got her hands dirty; Orcarina of Time had her aiding Link in the shadows disguised as Sheik. After being freed from Ganon, Zelda uses her magic to help free Link from the castle falling around them, then create three split timelines and confuse many, many fans and Nintendo employees when it comes to the timeline.

Twilight Princess had Zelda also be more proactive in the defense of her kingdom. Granted she probably should have been more careful when picking a competent militia for defending Hyrule. But she joins Link in the final battle against Ganon because she honestly wasn’t in the game that much. In Twilight Princess we also have Midna, the ACTUAL Twilight Princess who got her hands dirty with Link, had character development, and caused what is known as the most bittersweet ending in any of the Zelda games.

Prior to Twilight Princess The Wind Waker also had Zelda joining Link in the final battle against Ganon firing light arrows while Link fought Ganon with the master sword. Before the final battle Zelda was known as Tetra, a sassy pirate who didn’t know what the big deal was about her lineage. For some reason she becomes nicer after discovering she’s a princess and also somehow changes her skin color too.

Zelda’s damsel in distress status is actually mocked a little in Spirit Tracks where Zelda’s spirit and body are separated and Zelda loaths the fact that she has fallen victim to the same fate as all her ancestors before her. She does step up from there by being Link’s companion for the story and even possessing armor to fight with in the game.

In the most recent Zelda game Breath of Wild, Zelda has become a scholar and could care less about being a princess. She wants to be Belle and put herself to usage beyond “oh I’m a sacred princess with holy powers,” because she can’t access these holy powers. It’s not until that she’s pushed to her limit and her feelings towards Link and wanting to protect him (and probably believing in herself and embracing her scholar tendencies) that this incarnation of Zelda is able to harness the powers of the goddess Hylia that flows through her blood and spends one hundred years fending off Ganon alone and NOT being a damsel. So I’d say Zelda has definitely more proactive than Peach as both a capable monarch and ruler of her kingdom. Plus it seems she always gets better dresses.

Are Princesses Bad?

I suppose they’re not, but we don’t exist in a fantasy world where there’s an abundance of princesses. There isn’t much monarchy left to marry into as well, but there’s also nothing wrong with reality. People (I guess in this case the target audience of little girls) don’t necessarily need to be badass princesses like Zelda fighting off the ultimate evil by themselves, and they can’t constantly have the image of Prince Charming coming to sweep them off their feet (sweeping is a woman’s job 😉 ).

I don’t think princesses are dying any time soon, not with the fact Disney makes an easy 50$ per princess dress and God knows how much more with merchandising. I think things can evolve and with many parents being aware that there’s more to life besides being a princess they can encourage their children to be more independent from what is presented to them in the media. Unless your child wants to be Hermione, always encourage your child to be Hermione.

Toonami Twenty Years

Like some kids who grew up in the 1990’s I watched Toonami. It wasn’t my introduction to anime (that was Sailor Moon), but it had a major influence on my life. It exposed me to anime and the unique form of story telling that it brings.

As I’ve mentioned before I learned to draw and became an armature artist because of anime, so I have Toonami to thank for gaining these skills and abilities. Anime was unique to me; before anime the only cartoons I had were either comedy based which wasn’t artistically appealing at times to me (hey look at that, I was a kid who couldn’t draw for shit critiquing the artistic abilities of others!) or they were Disney. Alot of the times unless the animation was a movie, there was no closure to a story. In the 90’s you were lucky if you got a season 2 to your animated show. Anime and Toonami changed that for me, the first anime that I saw in completion within twenty six episodes was Outlaw Star.

It was intense to me because characters fought pretty violent fights and when someone died, they died for good. There was alot of attention to detail in the animation too. I stayed a loyal fan to Toonami because I slowly began to like anime more and more and all of the variety provided to me through Toonami exposed me to genres like Mecha, Magical Girl, Harem, etc. I also indirectly discovered my favorite anime and manga CardCaptor Sakura through Toonami.

When Toonami was cancelled I was a little shocked, but not terribly surprised since all they showed Naruto (I don’t care for Naruto). I was a little annoyed that I missed the final airing, but i accepted that it was time to move on with life since I was going to start college at the end of the month anyways.

THen on April 1st 2012, Toonami came back bitches. I remember the night that I just had the tv on in the background as I listened to what was happening. At the time and even now alot of my tv watching is me listening to what’s happening while reading an article or chatting with a friend unless I particularly like something. Then I heard Steve Blum’s voice. And that Voice saying “bitches”. It was kind of like hearing one of your parents swear for the first time. I stayed up the whole night watching anime and loving it.

You’re all probably thinking that this strange adult in his late twenties now spends his saturday nights watching Toonami. Sadly no because I now have a social life, okay not as much of a social life as I once had in the past few years, but I don’t watch Toonami anymore. But I’m happy it’s on.

These days I’m probably asleep Saturday night because old people just fall asleep the second they’re in a comfortable position in bed. And sleep is awesome, I try to get as much as I can (this might explain how I can function without coffee at my age). I’m happy Toonami is twenty years old and I hope it stays on for a few more years.

The Subject of Race and Ethnicity

Today I read a blogpost called You can’t do that! Stories have to be about white people and it reminded me of a subject I had been wanting to write about for a while that isn’t about the representation of gays in the media (btw yes I will review When We Rise when I see it in it’s entirety), Christianity, or essays on genres. Today we are talking about race and how the default protagonist is still white. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but it’s something that still happens. and as Darren Chetty mentioned in his blog post if you want to write about someone who is black or of another race, you have to make your story about the fact they are black/their race (as in your black character has to struggle with racism, they can’t just be black), because if your protagonist isn’t white, it doesn’t sell books as well.

What do you mean you have to make the story about a person’s race if they’re not white?

One of the things I loathed hearing about in middleschool, highschool and my first few years of college was people assuming I would write about my Mexican heritage. Like THAT was the only thing ticking in my mind. It’s not a bad thing, but every time we read stories about Mexicans in school it was always about struggle and how life was shitty for the main protagonist.

Granted I acknowledge that these authors were writing about their own life experiences and respect their stories and life struggles, but my life wasn’t their story and isn’t that story to tell. I had my own struggles, they were nothing like the struggles seen in Hispanic literature. In comparison my life would be seen as a piece of cake by those authors and my struggles would be labeled as a first world problem (which sadly they are).

As I mentioned above Chetty did mention that if I ever write a story with a Mexican protagonist, I gotta write about Mexican heritage or problems or my book (allegedly) isn’t selling squat! For publishers to even consider publishing my book, my protagonist has to either have Mexican problems or have his whole plot centered around coming out as gay (yes I snuck that in too).

What about the TV?

Television has been interesting about race; let’s start with Star Trek the original series. It had Nichelle Nichols playing Nyota Uhura and George Takei playing Hikaru Sulu. A “black woman on the tv who wasn’t a maid” (as described by Whoopi Goldberg) and a Japanese man (who would later come out as a proud homosexual) portraying characters on a science fiction show treated as equal to their colleagues despite their ethnicity.

It took a while for both movies and tv to move past have characters of different races be portrayed as characters beyond just being token minority (it’s debatable if Uhura or Sulu were token minorities). As a kid in the 90’s I saw tokenism at it’s extreme in afterschool specials, and educational television. I remember this one show shown to us at school called The Human Race Club where all the races and ethnicities were represented…and led by a blond haired blue eyed kid with glasses (it had a smart Asian girl, a black kid who liked basketball, a tom boy ginger, and a fat kid).

There was also Power Rangers; three fifth’s of the main five rangers were white (Jason, Kimberly, Billy) with Zack and Trini as the token black and asian without the producers ever realizing that they assigned Zack and Trini as the black and yellow ranger to match their races until it was too late. There was also Tommy who was later revealed to be of Native American decent, not sure if it counts though since it took four seasons to reveal that. This was fixed later when Austin St. John, Walter Emanuel Jones, and Thuy Trang left the show with Rocky (Steve Cardenas), Aisha (Karen Ashley), and Adam (Johnny Yong Bosch) as the new red, yellow, and black rangers respectively of Hispanic, black, and Asian/Jewish ethnicities included.

After the first season, Power Rangers has actually been pretty good about representation of all the races and even had a few ranger teams where the girl or a black person IS the leader (Alien Rangers, Turbo, Time Force, SPD, RPM, Dino Charge). Still no female red ranger though…

Captain Planet also had a minorateam, with the only white American usually being the whiner who had to learn a lesson in the episode. If any of the other members had a plot devoted to them, they were not the whiner. Trust me.

On the CW DC television something interesting happened; races of characters were changed from white to whatever the creators wanted. The whole West family? Black. Jimmy Olson is no longer a adorkable ginger, but is now a hunky black guy with dreamy eyes for Kara and the audience to oogle at (don’t worry, Kara has an adorkable tech friend for fans who are into that sort of thing to oogle at too). There is the issue too some that even though diversity has been added to the cast of these shows, the leads are still white people. With the addition of Legends of Tomorrow (with no MAIN character, but rather having a team lead) and Vixen (female African american (she actually is from Africa)) things are nice and diverse in the live action DC universe.

Because I can’t cover ALL media, here are some honorable mentions. Codename Kids Next Door (it’s like The Human Race Club, except bigger budget and isn’t corny), Star Wars The Clone Wars/Rebels (they have aliens, it counts), W.I.T.C.H. (multiraced badass magical girls), Steven Universe, and Drawn Together (look that show was hilarious regardless of what today’s politically correct millenials will post on Tumblr)

TV comedies (Ugly Betty, The Mindy Project, and Fresh Off the Boat)

It seems races and ethnicities get an easier time at representing different races. In some cases, rather than playing their race for the sake of drama and story telling, they play them for comedy. In the case of Ugly Betty, being of Mexican decent wasn’t a big deal too often. While the show did fall victim to relying on problems faced by immigrants today (for the first and second season Betty’s father was illegally in the US), Betty’s heritage is played for laughs except for one episode (Mark said Betty only got a job to fill a token Mexican spot).

The Mindy Project is awesome; Mindy’s Indian heritage is a joke most of the time and has only been the subject of drama once when Mindy was scared that her son would only know of his Indian half based on a Indian food menu on Mindy’s fridge. Bonus points for Mindy being the subject to large amounts of slapstick humor during the show despite being a woman.

Fresh Off the Boat is a touchy subject; despite being based on the memoirs of Eddy Huang, Huang hates the show feeling they turned his emotional outlet of rap and hiphop and life struggles into one dumb asian joke for the other races to laugh at. Eddy Huang if you ever read this I am sorry, but it is a hilarious show, I have read your book and I understand your anger concerning the show. If it makes you feel better, it has given more exposure to asian actors and actresses.

A Wrinkle in Time movie adaption (this time it won’t be awful)

As many have heard Madeleine L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is getting a film adaption with an open cast. Meg Murry being played by Storm Reid and the rest of the Murry family (minus Chris Pine’s character) now black. To add to this Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which will be portrayed by Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey respectively (gotta read that book again and imagine Mrs. Who shrilling like Kaling now).

What can one do to add diversity to books and entertainment?

I’m not sure actually, but you can start by reading The Lunar Chronicles since it does have a racially diverse cast. And tell your favorite authors “hey, I would like some diversity in the fiction you are producing.” Support authors who do write about characters of different backgrounds. Write your own stories about these things fight to get them to be published, I know I am with my books.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Our Without Me (and other concerns) Review

Last October I had the opportunity to meet Mindy Kaling and get a book signed by her; sadly this opportunity was destroyed by my friend Sam and I not realizing that other people are huge fans of Mindy Kaling, that and I had some anxiety issues kick in and some other annoying complicated shit that kept me from meeting Mindy at Texas Teen Book Festival 2016 (don’t worry, this is the last time you’ll probably hear of Texas Teen Book Festival 2016 on this blog).

We got to hear a live conversation with Mindy, sadly I did not get to ask my question about how old Mindy was when she lost her Anne Rice virginity (I was 19 when that happened btw). I decided to buy her book anyways despite these two setbacks. I had discovered Mindy Kaling through the television (now Hulu exclusive) show The Mindy Project. It is one of my favorite tv shows and when I heard I might meet Mindy I was happy. For now I have to settle for seeing her in the distance and that I have probably breathed in air she farted in.

Upon realizing how big my list of books to read is I figured I should read ten of these books before purchasing more books, so I grabbed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and started reading.

Hey there are no spoilers, it’s kind of hard to spoil a story of real life considering Mindy Kaling has a really funny tv show. I just really like typing out these warnings in bold font to be honest.

I was partially convinced that this would be another piece dealing with race, gender, and family struggles because sadly that is what is expected with minorities. I was wrong! Within a few pages I was literally laughing out loud at what Mindy had to say to the individual who purchased her book.

The book is semi autobiographical, but it felt more like a conversation with Mindy; Mindy does touch upon authentic friendships and how some friendships in life die even though we don’t want them too. There is mention of assholes that will be present in life, struggling with post college life and “making it” as a writer for tv and as an actress, and other things present in life.

I thought it was kind of cool that Mindy is a little nutty in her book and that being plus sized isn’t a big deal to her. As predicted Mindy is someone very relocatable to (to a scary degree with me on everything except that I don’t think Will Ferrell movies are funny). My only complaint is that she did spend a lot of time talking about The Office and I’ve never watched The Office, so it’s more of a problem I have rather than the book has.

I give Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) three and a half cupcakes out of five. btw who ate half my cupcake!

A Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix Review

On September 30th 1999 the first book in a tragic tale concerning the three Baudelaire orphans was published, five years later on a cool November morning a bored teenager unsure of what to read while waiting for the sixth Harry Potter book discovered them. In these books was a dark story filled with shout outs, a phrase which means to pay tribute to or to give reference to another piece of work, and dark, dark humor which although entertaining through the first reading of these books would lead to utter depression rereading said books knowing that yes, things got worse and worse. Oh and various descriptions of food and possibly some morals based from the Jewish faith and tradition.

The series that I speak of is A Series of Unfortunate Events by a man named Lemony Snicket and not at all associated with an individual named Daniel Handler. It is mere coincidence that along with my discovery of the series in the year 2004 there was a movie from the company known as Nickelodeon based on these books with what looked like a promising film series to rival the likes of J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers, and Harry Potter. There are various words that can be used to describe this film and somewhere on the internet there is a forum where a young fifteen year old fan used a variety of words and vulgarity, a word which here means inappropriate and unpleasant, to describe his distaste and lack of satisfaction with the film to put it lightly.

The boy in this blog post enjoyed the books released since the fateful day he discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events, reading through each book within a day learning many things from these books despite the target audience being significantly for absolutely no one ever. And during a year when this boy felt sad, reading the last book gave him hope. Since that day there had been silence from Lemony Snicket until 2012 where a prequel series known as All the Wrong Questions was announced and as of 2015 has concluded.

In the fall of 2015 though it was announced A Series of Unfortunate Events would be adapted to a television show on the internet streaming service known as Netflix. Fans were overjoyed that a more faithful, a word which here means sticks closer to the source material in terms of what happens in the books and the tone of said books as well. A former but successful child star known as Neil Patrick Harris would be replacing a washed up comedian, but talented painter as the villainous Count Olaf. And finally as of last January, Friday the thirteenth this series premiered on Netflix. This is the review of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the tv show.

Spoilers, a term which here means a highly detailed synopsis of what takes place during the story, will be present after this bold text. As homage to Mr.Snicket I would rather you slam your computer shut, place your phone in airplane mode, and toss your tablet outside of a moving vehicle hoping it doesn’t kill a pelican, and find something better to do like donate money to MyASPCA, Puppies Behind Bars, The Trevor Project, or read a book by Cody Wagner, or read a book review by a very nice woman with three cute puppies. 

I must admit watching the televised adaption of the beloved books of my youth was very enjoyable. One of the benefits of adapting books to television is the opportunity to have the book accurately transformed into a form of viewing for the audience. However, like most things in life even when a book is adapted to television isn’t always enjoyable. With the participation of Daniel Handler (whom I’m not too sure why he is so heavily associated with Lemony Snicket), events and plots that were not present or known to the reader of the first four books in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

As mentioned in the above text, Neil Patrick Harris would be portraying the villainous Count Olaf, and was dark, fearsome, and even at times, funny. The cast of the series was diverse, a word which means to have different people represented, averting having a prominently Caucasian cast of actors in a television show thus giving a wider world view to the poor children brave enough to watch each tragic episode and telling producers and talent agents that you can hire any race or ethnicity to play a role.

The expansion of each book per episode was enjoyable, it gave the opportunity to explore the depths of side characters in each story beyond their original intended purpose and foreshadowing future travesties that would affect the Baudelaire orphans. Characters like Justice Strauss, Dr.Montgomery Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle (who is not played by her dame Meryl Streep in this adaption) are now more fleshed out beyond a neighbor, a herpetologist, and a scary cat.

The tone of the television show followed the books closer than any film adaption ever could. However at times I couldn’t help but be reminded of a television show created by Bryan Fuller that premiered in the fall of 2007 and because of a writer’s strike was cancelled by the ABC network. The artistic direction of each set was wonderful and interesting to look at for both fans of the book series, fans of art, and people who need the internet and social media to dictate to them what to watch on Netflix rather than deciding for themselves what they should and shouldn’t watch. I’d rather they watch something with strong female characters overcoming challenges presented to them in their life, but then again this show also has that.

There are a few shocking twists and turns in the television adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events, even for those who have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Beautrice Letters, and All the Wrong Questions complete with a Red Herring, a phrase which here means something that appears to be of importance, but is a distraction from the main story, within this adaption.

I will give the Netflix Adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events one mansion on fire out of five, because I can’t fathom why people would want multiple mansions on fire.

Chonda Pierce is a Nice Woman

This isn’t a political blog, all who want to talk politics can go to twitter for that. I am here to talk about Chonda Pierce; she is known as The Queen of Clean among comedians. She never swears, she is open about her faith in God, she never drags anyone’s name in the mud for the sake of self promotion. She is essentially the anti thesis to Kathy Griffin.

It’s no surprise she’s a conservative and no I am not holding that against her, in fact I’d rather hear one of her stand up routines over Kathy Griffin’s. I don’t know Chonda personally, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to meet her or what she’d think of the fact a liberal gay catholic is a fan of hers (Chonda if you ever read this you’re welcomed to use that in your standup).

Chonda Pierce has recently been announced as a performer for the presidential inauguration and along with her abilities in stand up she is a skilled pianist and singer. She’s not Katy Perry (Chonda doesn’t need a whole production team to sound good), but she is a nice woman.

I’m aware her views are very different from mine, and there are probably many views we share. I don’t like the current political situation, but I do like Chonda, and I will support Chonda and Chonda alone because although not knowing her personally I have heard stories of her personal life. I’m not giving her sympathy points because of these stories of her life, but I am giving an applause for being someone who can speak about the harder parts of her life and still have the ability to smile and welcome a new day. So although it will be hard for me to support things in the near future, I will support Chonda Pierce, a very, very nice woman.

Also to other liberals in a few years you vote for new senators and to conservatives who dislike Trump you can always pray for an impeachment! Everyone else, go enjoy Chonda Pierce!

Howl’s Moving Castle Book Review

Hey check out my friend Sam’s review on a book I told her about known as Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones!

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones Howl’s Moving Castle #1 Published: April 22nd 2008 by Greenwillow Books (first published in 1986) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars Goodreads Summary: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But […]

via Howl’s Moving Castle Book Review — Sam’s Little Corner

16 Favs of 2016

In real life, 2016 was kind of hard, in books and movies 2016 was awesome! So here is my list of my 16 favorite things from 2016 in no particular order.

1.Harry Potter and the Cursed Child  I loved reading a new Harry Potter book after years of thinking the journey was over. Actually celebrating the midnight release with friends of mine was an added bonus experience that left me really happy.

2.Miraculous Ladybug; my friend Rachelle showed me this neat French-Korean cartoon known as Miraculous Ladybug and I like it. It does follow some cheesy predictable story lines and it obviously isn’t meant to be seen by an adult like me. But it’s a fun neat show and it looks amazing.

3.Suicide Squad; I know it’s not amazing, but it’s so much better than Batman vs Superman. I think my reason for liking it alot was because I went in with low expectations to the movie and was delighted to see how campy and weird everything turned out to be. Everything was good except for Jared Leto Joker.

4. Star Wars Ahsoka I’ve mentioned that Ahsoka Tano is awesome and reading her book was a great experience to bridge the events of Clone Wars/Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Rebels/Rogue One. Speaking of which

5. Rogue One A Star Wars Story, this movie awesome. It was a good balance between drama, comedy, and brought us to a point of view that hasn’t really been seen in the Star Wars universe.

6.The Cancellation of Disney Infinity; I realize how awful this sounds and I was really sad when I realized I’d never get my Hera or Belle/Emma Watson Disney Infinity figures, but financially this was great news to hear.

7. Ghostbusters, I liked it, just forgot to review it. It was fun, quirky, no there was no “woo feminism” message. It was a Ghostbusters movie and I liked it.

8. The Little Prince film, it was good and very thoughtful. Plenty of beautiful visuals to see, and it’s for viewing on Netflix.

9. Voltron, yes ANOTHER Voltron series, it is also on Netflix, just don’t accidentally marathon on it.

10. Stranger Things, lots of delicious 80’s references in it, very well written with lots of questions unanswered in the best way possible, also available on Netflix.

11.  Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3; ok technically this is tv and I know for a fact that unless I’m reviewing episodes weekly, reviewing tv shows lowers the property value. But I got into art and drawing because of Sailor Moon so seeing the third arc adapted into anime and to have such a beautiful job done with it too.

12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a wonderful movie experience, and this is coming from someone who wasn’t as fond of the Harry Potter movies in comparison to the books. I also happen to like that the good people of Hot Topic have made making a Newt Scamander cosplay costume very easy.

13. The books and authors I discovered because of my friend Sam and the event Texas Teen Book Festival. I haven’t been able to finish up my list, but with this new year I sincerely hope to. Also meeting Cody Wagner, he’s very neat (kind of dreamy) and yes this is another encouragement to buy and read The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren.

14. Zootopia, it was a neat movie that was fun.

15. When Marnie was There, this, like all other Studio Ghibli movies was a beautiful movie. Not just beautiful to look at, but the mystery of the story and the exploration of different types of love and how strong the emotion is makes it worth watching and enjoying. Yes I realize this film was released in 2015, but the dub wasn’t released until 2016.

16. Being told there’s a tomorrow; alot of shitty things have happened in 2016, but thanks to strong words and messages from various people, some of them being Youtubers, some of them being actors and actresses, some of them being singers and song writers, and many of them being authors telling us that there is a tomorrow and we if someone lets shitty things get to them then the shit wins. So fans are encouraged to follow in the examples of all the fiction that has been read and all the awesome people who have a stronger voice saying no to the not so happy parts of 2016.