TV show

3… 2… 1… Got to Blast! This is the Analysis of “Jimmy Neutron”

One of Nickelodeon’s earliest CG TV shows has been loved by many, including myself. It all started out as a movie in 2001, where Jimmy and his friends wanted independence from the adults. Aliens even kidnapped the grownups. However, that ended up a nightmare. The children traveled to Yolkus, the other planet, and saved their parents.

Enough said about the film—onto the TV show. The premise is a young boy, named Jimmy, who invents things to make things easier and well for him. Even the community knows Jimmy and his talent for science and inventing. Things usually end up not as planned.

The name of the town Jimmy lives in is Retroville. It’s a city, yet, only about twenty people live there. Don’t believe me? It’s been proven in the third Jimmy-Timmy Power Hour Special (when “Jimmy Neutron” and “The Fairly Oddparents had crossovers) that a very small popular resides in Retroville. After every person you see on the show is sucked away, Retroville becomes a quiet ghost town.

Which brings me to my next point—if so few people live there, why wasn’t it just a small town? In fact, I think most small towns are much more populated than Retroville. Oh well. The tiny population probably saved money and time for the animators.

Another thing about the show is that it seems to take place in Texas, yet the geographic layout and climate are nowhere near accurate. Neither are the people and their culture. Interesting, huh?

Now onto the moments. From my observation, Jimmy is sometimes inconsistent with others. For instance, he and Cindy usually don’t get along. He is sometimes in love with this minor character, Betty Quinland. However, in the second Jimmy-Timmy Power Hour, Jimmy likes Cindy and wants to take her to the school dance. If he really likes Cindy, then why do they act like they hate each other, and why did Jimmy scream, “Noooo!!!” when he discovered his future-self married her. I was assuming that maybe the two grew and changed and decided to like each other, but it the creators just failed to show or tell that on their end. However, I think they fight to hide their care for each other. That’s what I heard.

In one of the specials, Jimmy stated that people don’t change. Um… of course they do. Otherwise, we’d all be looking and functioning like newborns. In fact, there was one episode where Jimmy turned into a Hulk-like monster. I used to nickname him the Julk. That was change… at least in some form.

One thing I found quite funny because it was unrealistic was when Jimmy wanted something badly, but couldn’t wait till his birthday, which wasn’t for three months. He “changed” his birthday to the next day. It was his birthday for over a week until his parents tried to send him off to college.

Another great moment was when Sheen discovered that he had a terrible singing voice. It was a huge disadvantage until the twankie-combined monster became so violent that Sheen needed to sing to make it fall asleep.

Who remembers that special? The twankies were cute and harmless until they heard music. Then they transformed into violent creatures and eventually merged into a huge monster. Only Sheen’s horrible singing voice kept the twankies from becoming dangerous.

Despite the show’s popularity, it only lasted for about three seasons. My family enjoyed this show and they used to be disappointed when there were no more new episodes. Oh well.

There was actually a spinoff where Sheen had his own show. But that didn’t do well. I didn’t even find it appealing just based on the advertisements.

That’s it for this analysis. Now it’s time to blast off.

 

 

 

art

Mini Art Show: Round Gingerbread Ornament

 

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a mini art show. But hey, we’re just in time for the holidays. I’m going to discuss this piece above. I did this painting in my senior year of college two years ago, part of my senior thesis.

I love gingerbread cookies, especially when they’re soft and/or decorated. I also like to show some holiday spirit at this time of year. There’s green and red dots, representing Christmas. There are also blue and white marks, acknowledging Hanukkah.

The white against the light and dark browns were meant to look like icing. Yum, lol. The green and red dots could be big sprinkles, chocolate candies, gumballs, or anything sweet, honestly.

Of course, they’re not meant to be eaten everyday. But at holiday season, or any occasion, they are delicious. Decorated cookies rule as do plain ones.

Anyway, my thesis was complex or unusual abstract art. And because this was done in December, I wanted to add a holiday-themed tone to it. Themes actually helped in my abstract drawings and paintings. Otherwise, I would’ve been stuck with no ideas or making random shapes that would’ve taken me nowhere. However, I’d distort the shapes to not make them obvious because, hey, that’s what abstract art is all about.

I’ve done a bunch of holiday artworks and crafts before, although I don’t remember all of them. I do, however, recall wanting to draw snowmen a certain way when I was little. But that’s another story.

Why is it round, you may ask? Because one student wanted me to create works in non-traditional shapes, besides squares and rectangles. And I agreed.

So happy holidays to all!

 

short fiction

Santa Bots: A Short Story

Remember when you used to believe in Santa Claus until you were told at a certain age that he didn’t exist? That it was really your parents who got you your Christmas gifts?

I’d been told only seven years ago, at age eight, that there was no Santa. I’d opened my mouth in horror. I’d also let my energy down, as I had dragged my feet to my room over the shocking revelation.

Of course, now at fifteen, I knew how unrealistic it’d be for a man to deliver presents to every good girl and boy from the North Pole in one night.

But my ten-year-old brother, Tristan, wouldn’t let go of accepting that Santa Claus didn’t exist.

I walked into my living room, where the decorated Christmas tree stood. Tristan watched TV.

A mad scientist made robots and dressed them up as Santa Claus.

            “I’ll make all those children happy, after their parents told them there is no Santa Claus,” the scientist said. “Perhaps, Santa is just not what they imagined.”

            The scientist finished assembling the last robot. He pressed a button on his remote that said, “Activate.”

            The robots’ eyes lit up. They walked toward the man.

            “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas,” said the first one. “I am Santa Claus.”

            “Father Christmas,” another robot said in an English accent.

            “Babo Natale,” a third robot said in an Italian accent.

            “Perfect,” said the scientist. “Now I will make everyone believe in Santa, and they will also be loyal to him.”

            “Yay,” Tristan said.

“Tristan, that’s just a TV show,” I said.

“Oh, Cassie.” Tristan turned off the television. “What’s Christmas without a jolly old—”

“He’s not real. Aren’t you going to be in middle school next year?”

“What does that have to do with this?”

“Everyone’s going to think you’re crazy, still believing in Santa and falling for a TV show.”

“Maybe Santa was a robot this whole time.”

“You’re joking, aren’t you?”

“Whatever.” Tristan stood up. “Don’t be surprised if you get coal tonight.”

I crossed my arms and glared at Tristan. No way would mom and dad give me coal. I hadn’t misbehaved all year. Even then, it’d only happened occasionally. I’d still received gifts every Christmas, including when I’d believed in Santa.

 

A few hours had passed. My family and I had eaten dinner. I now lay in my bed, only to hear a bang on the roof. Gasping, I bolted up and hopped out of my bed. I opened my window and looked up. There was a sleigh, and hoofs scraping against the roof.

I closed my eyes and shook my head. I gazed again. The same things remained there. And a heavy figure climbed into the chimney.

This can’t be happening, I thought. Santa’s not real.

Despite being taught not to do this when I was little, especially on Christmas Eve, I left my room and walked down to the living room. My heartbeat raced and my palms sweated. I rushed my breathing.

The boots showed themselves. I inhaled and backed away. More of the figure’s red clothes revealed themselves, followed by a white beard. The figure showed his face—only to have it look more metal-like than flesh-textured.

This couldn’t be, though—unless some unknown scientist or genius had super-advanced tech to created a Santa bot like on TV. Still. That couldn’t happen in 2018.

The eyes glowed yellow. The robot turned to me. “Ho, ho, ho,” it said in a robotic tone. “You have to go back to bed, or else you’re getting coal.”

I ran back upstairs and into my room. I leaned against the door and breathed. Who could’ve done this? Should that person be reported to the police?

Perhaps, so. I hurried to my parents’ door and knocked. “Mom, Dad, wake up!”

My mother opened the door. “Cassie, what’s going on?”

“There was a Santa robot downstairs!”

“Now’s not that time for nonsense, Cassie.” My mom closed the door.

“I’m being serious!”

There was no answer. I stomped down the hallway and knocked on Tristan’s door. Tristan opened the door.

“Tristan, there was a Santa bot downstairs, like the one in that show you were watching.”

“No, that was just a TV show.” Tristan closed the door.

“It was like that, seriously!”

He reopened the door. “Have you lost your mind, Cassie?”

“No!”

The roof shook.

“Earthquake!” cried Tristan.

“It’s not an earthquake,” I said.

The vibration came to a halt. I looked around. My bedroom door had remained opened. I turned to the window. The Santa bot and reindeer rode away on the sleigh.

“Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas,” the robot said from outside. “And to all a goodnight.”

“That doesn’t seem right.” Tristan rushed into my room. “Those reindeer look fake.”

I approached him.

“Santa’s voice sounds strange,” Tristan added.

“That’s because he’s not Santa,” I said. “That’s a Santa robot.”

Tristan gasped.

My parents’ door opened. Both my mom and dad entered my room.

“What’s that outside?” my mother asked.

“A robot Santa along with robot reindeer,” said Tristan.

The sleigh landed on the house across the street from mine. The Santa bot hopped out.

“Yes,” the scientist’s voice echoed from outside. “Soon, you will also start being loyal.”

“What was that?” asked Tristan. “He… he sounded like the same mad scientist on TV.”

“Let me be considered the nicest man in the world,” the same voice said.

More sleighs soared outside. The sky also glowed yellow.

“Hey, Cassie, why don’t we go back to sleep?” asked Tristan.

Gasping, I turned to him. His pupils glowed yellow. So did mom and dad’s.

“No, no!” I rushed downstairs. I put on my boots and coat and dashed outside. The same mad scientist as on television walked down the street. All the neighbors stared at him, with yellow eyes.

“I’ve been considered naughty forever by my parents,” the scientist said. “I’ve always wished that Santa existed. But now he is going to take all your prized possessions and give them to me.”

I inhaled and ran back inside. A Santa bot had my electronics, beauty products, Tristan’s action figures, and mom and dad’s photo album.

“Stop!” I cried.

The robot turned to me. “You are not loyal.”

I rushed into the kitchen and grabbed a rolling pin. I wacked the robot. But it grabbed me.

“Hitting is naughty,” it said. “That means you are getting coal… forever and ever.”

I kicked the bot and returned to the kitchen. I filled a glass of water. But the robot grasped my wrist. The water spilled away from it.

“You are on my naughty list permanently.”

“No, no!”

But the liquid spread to the robot’s shoes. The bot let go of me. Streaks of light electrocuted it. Its voice deepened and died out. The robot collapsed onto the ground.

Breathing, I stared. Yup, it made zero moves. I went outside. All the Santa bots lay on the street motionless. The people seemed to have gone off the spells. They gazed at the machines.

“Cassie?” my mom called.

“Yeah?” I turned to her.

“Cassie, darling, are you all right?” my mother asked.

“I’m fine, Mom.” I hugged her.

“You saved Christmas,” said Tristan. “I saw that are stuff is still here.”

“Well, more importantly, we’re all still here,” my dad said. “After all, Christmas is about spending time with loved more than it is about the gifts.”

“That is true,” said Tristan. “Family is more important than Santa.”

I grinned.

movie

Let it Go… Can’t Hold These Thoughts Anymore… For an Analysis of Disney’s “Frozen” (2013)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I did not see “Frozen” in the movie theater. However, I did see it on my computer. I also saw the Broadway show, which I actually liked more. But this post is only about the movie.

I am not going to include thoughts on the shorts, such as “Frozen Fever” or “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”, as I did not see those. So here is the analysis.

Many of us know the story. As young children, Anna and Elsa play together until Elsa accidentally knocks Anna out unconscious with her ice powers. Anna’s memories of Elsa’s ice powers are altered and wiped. Elsa has to have a bunch of restrictions on her until she can control her powers. Anna and Elsa grow up mostly separate. Their parents die, and then three years later, Elsa is crowned queen. She accidentally does ice magic at the coronation and flees while creating an eternal winter. Anna goes out to look for her. I could go on, but I’m not going to.

So here are my thoughts. First off, I really appreciate how Elsa is developed. She is misunderstood by others, scared, and struggles to control her ice powers. That made her seem very real and likable.

Speaking of likable… did you know that Elsa was originally supposed to be the villain, in “Frozen”? She was going to be much older and use her ice powers for evil, like in the original story “Frozen” was based off: “The Snow Queen”. However, I am glad the creators changed it and had Prince Hans be the villain instead.

In fact, I think it was a smart move as standards have changed since Disney’s early days. Just because someone seems charming, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should love and trust him or her. It was also a nice, unexpected twist for the story, straying away from the traditional approach, where the prince the princess falls in love with is a good guy. Kristoff ended up being Anna’s love interest, even though he wasn’t as easygoing as Hans seemed.

It was also pretty unsanitary that Kristoff and Sven shared carrots. At least it’s not realism, otherwise, Kristoff would’ve gotten sick, as well as Sven.

While still discussing character development, I did find Anna too immature at times for her age. For instance, Elsa had to remind her that she couldn’t marry a guy she’d just met. But Anna had unrealistic expectations for romance. I knew better at Anna’s age (18) and even younger.

Now the most memorable character for me was Olaf the snowman. He was silly, enthusiastic, and comedic. I especially love his song about summer. It was cute to see how a snowman envisioned summer, especially when he didn’t know that heat melted snow.

The songs were all great. Many of them didn’t sound like traditional Disney songs. For example, I thought “Let it Go” and “For the First Time in Forever” sounded like “Wicked” songs.

The layout of the setting was executed well. Another fun fact is that the cast and crew had to go to Norway to study the land and architecture for the film. And it worked out well.

I would rate “Frozen” 4 out of 5 stars. While the story content was done with lots of effort, something about it didn’t engage me enough to give it 5 stars. In fact, when I first saw this movie, I found the beginning to be kind of boring. I only watched the whole thing because it was a big, popular film.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it very much.

 

 

 

short fiction

The Curious Case of Sadie: A Flash Fiction Piece

Back when I was five and starting kindergarten, I had wished upon a star for a guinea pig. My parents had been against the idea of having pets. I recalled them saying, “We are not getting a dog or any kind of pet,” right before that moment. They’d ruined my mood and I had almost wanted to give up my flower girl role at my aunt, Katie’s, wedding back then.

             Fast forward nine years later, and I neared the start of my first year of high school. I looked outside my window, and saw a cat. I didn’t know if it belonged to anyone. It could’ve been a stray. We did live in a rural part of Pennsylvania.

             I turned away and sat on my bed. Ninth grade would start tomorrow.

            “Michelle?” my mom called me.

            “What is it?” I answered.

            “Can you help me get this rat out of the kitchen?”

             I paused. Then I opened the door. “Why do you need me?”

             “Because I’ve got cookie dough on my hands!”

             I sighed, but went downstairs anyway. I entered the kitchen. A white rat stood on the corner. It ran into the hole in the wall.

            “Mom, why don’t we call the exterminator?” I asked.

            “Because it’s Sunday,” my mother said.

            “The rat already escaped.” I looked into the hole, seeing no sign of the critter.

            “Go outside,” my mom said.

            So I went out to the backyard. There was no rat. But I did see the same cat as before. It was black and white.

            The cat stopped at stared at me. I smiled. But it came up to me. I turned around and went back inside.

            “Michelle, did you see the rat?” my mother asked.

            I shook my head.

            “I guess it escaped.” My mom shrugged.

            “Yeah, probably,” I said.

            But there was a squeak inside the kitchen hole. I looked inside. A rodent nose stuck out. But it showed itself. It turned out not to be the rat, but… a guinea pig?

            No. That couldn’t be right. I closed my eyes and shook my head. I gazed at the creature again. Yup. It was a black and white guinea pig. It came running toward me. I gasped and bolted up.

            The guinea pig came out of the hole. My mom saw it and screamed.

            “Mom, it’s just a guinea pig,” I said.

            But the guinea pig spun. It sped up and transformed into a black and white cat. My mom yelped. “What’s going on?”

            The doorbell rang. My mother answered to Mrs. Katz, our next door-neighbor.

            “Have you seen Sadie?” Mrs. Katz asked. “My kitty?”

            “You mean the one that turned into a guinea pig?” my mother asked.

            “What?” asked Mrs. Katz. “I mean… I’ve seen it turn into a rat, but not a guinea pig.”

            The cat meowed and ran up to Mrs. Katz.

            “Sadie, what have you been up to?” Mrs. Katz picked her up. “I’m taking you to the vet to cure this problem.” She closed the door behind her and left.

            I stood by my mom and watched Mrs. Katz carry Sadie back to her house.

            “What kind of vet could cure a cat like that?” I asked my mother.

            She shook her head. “Perhaps, it’s best if we don’t know.”

           

TV show

“We’re Here to Fight Crime!” It’s “The Powerpuff Girls: Twas the Fight Before Christmas” – Review (2003)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I first saw this special last year, when one of my friends wanted to play it at my birthday party. It kept me curious and engaged. I usually don’t review individual TV show specials. But for the holiday season, I will. And this is the first.

Townsville is getting ready Christmas, which is in two days. The children at the Powerpuff girls’ school, including the girls themselves, are getting into the Christmas spirit. Princess Morbucks is her usual spoiled self. The Powerpuff girls put her down for all the terrible things she’s done. Princess Morbucks gets angry and asks her servants if they think she’s naughty. But they won’t answer. Desperate for her wish to become a powerpuff girl, Princess Morbucks sneaks into the north pole and discovers that she is on the naughty list. And she’s the only one. So she alters the list titles, making herself “nice” and everyone else “naughty”.

Bubbles wakes up to discover coal in her stocking as well as Blossom and Buttercup’s and the other people on their street. Blossom and Buttercup give Bubbles a hard time about looking through the neighbors’ stockings. Then Princess Morbucks shows up as a powerpuff girl. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup chase her to the north pole. Santa feels upset that everyone, except Princess Morbucks, has been naughty, according to his list. The Powerpuff girls try to tell Santa that this whole mess was an error. Princess Morbucks brags about being nice. However, she gets so out of hand that Santa realizes that she has been so spoiled and bratty. He puts her on the permanent naughty board. Princess Morbucks flies away, but Santa presses his nose, and Princess Morbucks’s powers are removed.

Santa wants to give all the kids who’ve been good for Christmas their gifts. But there is chaos outside with the elves and reindeer. So, instead, the Powerpuff girls deliver the gifts. They return home by dawn, tired. But the professor wakes them up and then they have fun with their gifts.

After not seeing “The Powerpuff Girls” in several years, I found this to be refreshing and cute as well as a great way to catch up with the show’s premise and characters. This is one of those kids’ shows that was an easy watch.

The way the show brings on the Christmas spirit was done well. That being said, it seems that everyone in the PPG universe celebrates Christmas. No signs of anyone celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other holidays. I thought that was a bit inconsiderate to those who don’t celebrate Christmas in real life. I know a lot of people who don’t.

Also, it seems that the whole planet in the PPG universe is on the same time zone. That sounds confusing as the world in real life lives on different time zones, because… we should all know why. And the PPG girls is set in the US (I don’t know what state, though).

However, when the Powerpuff girls are chasing Princess Morbucks while she’s on her way to the north pole, they seemed to have left the southern hemisphere. That’s an inconsistency, unless there’s a secret made-up state south of the equator in the PPG universe.

Another inconsistency is that another villain, Mojo Jojo, was apparently on the nice list when preparing for Christmas. Um, hello? He’s evil too. Shouldn’t he and all the other villains have been on the naughty list too? Princess Morbucks shouldn’t have been the only one just for plot convenience. In fact, it seems unbelievable that she was the only naughty being in the entire world.

But now onto the strengths. The ending of how the Powerpuff girls delivered the presents was very well-thought out. The moment where the professor and the girls are trying to get the tree lights to work was clever. I also supported how Blossom and Buttercup put Bubbles down for using her X-ray vision to see through other peoples’ stockings. I considered that very wrong for Bubbles before her sisters scolded her for that.

Despite some of the confusing flaws and inconsistencies typical for cartoons like this one, I would rate this TV show special 5 out of 5 stars.

movie

Merry Christmas, Mickey! And a Happy New Analysis of “Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse” (2001)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

It’s the first holiday post of the year, focusing on a straight-to-video holiday Disney special: “Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse”. I saw a couple clips of it in junior high at school. But then I watched the full film at a friend’s house last year and again recently.

Disney characters from different movies are at the House of Mouse, where Mickey and his pals have hosted a show. Mickey lets everyone go home until Goofy reveals that they are snowed in. Everybody tries to remain positive, except Donald. He remains grumpy. To keep the crowd occupied, Mickey plays some holiday videos of him and his friends.

The clips were great, although some concepts seemed outdated and wouldn’t pass for today. For example, in the “Nutcracker” clip, where Mini plays Maria (I don’t know why they didn’t call her Clara. Maybe for copyright reasons?), she acts as dependent on males to dance with. When the mouse king (played by Donald) captures her, the nutcracker (played by Mickey) fights and rescues her. It isn’t until the end that Maria puts in effort. She was pretty much a damsel-in-distress. When Mickey asks what everyone is thankful for, Cinderella says something that also reminds me of a damsel-in-distress. I can’t remember right now. But in 2001, wouldn’t that have been a bit insensitive?

Another element that I found odd was that the villains were there and out-of-character. Not a hundred percent, though. When Mickey shows clips of what he asked others for Christmas, Jafar asks for the lamp and Ursula asks for his voice.

However, during the moment Mickey gets everyone into the Christmas spirit, Jafar’s all-powerful snake staff turns into a candy cane and he gladly accepts it. Really, guys? If you were a sorcerer, and your powerful, magic-producing item turned into a powerless treat, would you really tolerate that? Probably not. In fact, if Jafar were true to his character, he would’ve used his snake staff to get back and Mickey and his friends, get furious and overly dangerous. Perhaps, he would’ve turned into a snake creature again and everybody would’ve erupted into panicking. But he had to behave because… you know… plot convenience. So why did Jafar and any other villains need to be there? During the song at the end, the villains took part as taking the good character’s sides. Pretty strange, huh?

But enough of the flaws. There are a ton of strengths and well-done moments. The song at the end that all the characters participated in was beautiful. The [good] characters’ attitudes were great and very much like them. I especially admired Kuzco’s appearance as a crying llama when Mickey asks what everybody wanted for Christmas. So funny. The Mad-Hatter was also hilarious when he was thankful for different hats. At the end, with the musical number, the mice bring back Cinderella’s old dress that the stepsisters have originally destroyed. Very satisfying.

Now onto the videos Mickey shows. The first one is where Huey, Dewey, and Louie are building a snowman while Donald is trying to skate. Donald struggles and ends up damaging his nephews’ snowman. The ice cracks and breaks different things, including very sturdy things, like a tree. I found that to be too silly. Yes, I know. It’s a cartoon. But what a silly concept for an ice crack to be that powerful.

There is also the clip where Mickey is getting a tree and decorating it for Christmas. Chip and Dale are in the tree. Pluto finds them and tries to hurt them. He ends up damaging the entire tree. Then Minnie, Donald, and Goofy come and sing “Deck the Halls”. Chip and Dale participate and Pluto howls. Mickey scolds Pluto for that. However, that’s normal for dogs to do when hearing high voices. But the clip’s ending had to be satisfying. Also, why didn’t Mickey recognize Chip and Dale? Why was he also accepting of them in his tree? Hmmm…

The decorating processes in that clip and the next one were too perfect. No errors whatsoever. Oh well. As long as we don’t try it in real life and expect the same outcomes.

After Jiminy Cricket cheers Mickey up, Mickey finally gets Donald to have a more positive attitude. Then he plays the “Christmas Carol” clip (based off Charles Dickenson’s play). Many people probably know the story. For those who don’t, here’s plot. Scrooge is grumpy, unthankful for Christmas, and is obsessed with making money. Four ghosts then visit him. The latter three show him his past, present, and future. Scrooge changes into a better person with a positive attitude for Christmas.

Not ironically, Scrooge McDuck plays the main character (although I don’t know if Scrooge McDuck is usually that grumpy). The characters were well-cast. Goofy did an amazing portrayal of the first ghost. The chains made me feel sorry for him. I found it sad when Isabelle (play by Daisy) cried because Scrooge called off his marriage. And she’d waited ten years. I guess that’s believable, but not sure how common it is.

At the end of that clip, when Scrooge has grown and changed drastically, he reverted back to his old self when visit ing Bob Crachett (played by Mickey) to fool around. Then he returned to a good character. The song at the end of the “Christmas Carol” clip sounded kind of like “God Bless us Everyone” from the live musical version of the story. Of course, it wasn’t.

My final thought is wondering how all the different characters from different movies came together and knew about it as well as celebrated Christmas (including Timon and Pumbaa—there are no humans in “The Lion King”). I guess that’s supposed to be a mystery.

I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great holiday classic for everyone and I would gladly recommend it.

 

 

art

Mini Art Show: Birthday Card Design

 

sale birthday card 1

It’s my birthday this Thursday, November 22nd (whoo!). I’ll be turning 25.

So in honor of that, I decided to post a birthday card design that I made myself. That’s right. I illustrated the cupcake and decided on the text font, color, sizes, and alignment, based on my graphic design studies and greeting card research. I did this in Photoshop, but the cupcake image was hand drawn. I then retraced and colored it on the computer.

I chose pink since it is a light color and expresses (usually) positive feelings. And birthdays are often associated with positivity, such as a time to celebrate. Of course, as much as we’d all wish, birthdays are not always happy. I, myself, have had some miserable birthdays throughout my life.

But that’s a different topic. Anyway, I decided to make the cupcake look cartoony and give it eyes and a smile. It adds a very energetic feeling that makes many think partying rather than a more realistic or soft style, which would make a lot of people think sophisticated, relaxed, and quietness.

The text was done in a serif font (which is when the letters have tails at the ends of their lines compared to sans serif fonts, like Helvetica) because I wanted to add a little bit of sophistication and have it resemble the way letters are often styled on cakes. Bakeries may exclude the fancy style of writing on the cakes, but it varies. I never really paid much attention to the style of writing on cakes.

However, I do notice that fancier calligraphy is common on occasion cakes, especially for formal events, such as sweet sixteens, mitzvahs, and other catering events. I live in New York on Long Island, and while many other parts of the country usually only use catering halls for weddings, where I live, people do them for other milestones.

Anyhow, the “You” is large because I felt that it would make the word feel more personal to the birthday person. I’ve even had the cards printed and provided them to my friends for their birthdays. One person has complimented on the design looking professional.

Note, that this was not a college assignment. I chose to do this on my own. I thought it would be fun as well as a way to hone my graphic design and illustration skills. I even have this image on my online portfolio along with other independent art.

short fiction

Animal Psychic: A Short Story

Isabella woke up. Energy filled her mind as she hopped out of bed and got dressed. She brushed her long, dark brown waves and put on her glasses.

Today was her eleventh birthday. She hurried downstairs where her aunt, Molly, prepared breakfast.

“Happy birthday, Isabella,” said Aunt Molly.

“Thanks.” Isabella sat down. She looked outside and frowned. If only her parents and uncle could see her today.

Three years ago, Isabella’s mom had suffered from depression after the dad had died from a heart attack. Isabella’s mother had lost so much control that social services had sent Isabella to live with Aunt Molly. Uncle Tanner had divorced Aunt Molly a year after and had moved to Vancouver.

“Isabella, after breakfast, I have a surprise birthday present for you.” Aunt Molly tied her ash-blonde hair into a bun.

“Oh, yippee.” Isabella ate her pancakes. She cleaned up, and then Aunt Molly led her downstairs to the basement. Aunt Molly turned on the lights. “Ta da.”

An albino guinea pig ran around in its cage. Isabella opened her mouth.

“You get to name her,” Aunt Molly said.

“All right,” Isabella said. “Her name will be… Peppermint.”

“Nice name,” said Aunt Molly.

“Why peppermint, though?” asked a strange female voice.

Isabella gasped. “Aunt Molly, did you hear something?”

“What? The guinea pig making noises?”

“No, someone asked why I named the guinea pig, Peppermint.”

Aunt Molly tilted her head at Isabella.

“I’m serious.”

“Whatever. Play pretend like you’re five.” Aunt Molly returned upstairs.

“Aunt Molly, stop it!”

But Aunt Molly closed the door.

“You can read animal’s minds,” the same unknown voice said.

Isabella breathed and looked around. “W-who’s there?”

“Its me, the guinea pig you named Peppermint,” said the voice.

Gasping, Isabella turned to the creature. She rushed her breathing.

“Last night, someone gave you the power to read animal’s minds,” the voice said.

“But how am I going to convince my aunt?” asked Isabella.

“There is a note in your closet upstairs stating the name of the person. It appeared last night when you were sleeping.”

Isabella hurried upstairs and to her bedroom. She opened her closet and saw a piece of paper under her shoes. She picked it up and read it.

 

Dear Isabella,

 

            I wanted to let you know something about myself. I was born with the power to read everyone’s minds, including animals. I’ve kept it secret from you for many years. I was worried that I was going to scare you. So I sent some magic into the letter that would make you understand what I’ve gone through. I miss you. I wish I could be here for your birthday.

 

            Love,

            Mom

 

Isabella flushed. Tears stung her eyes. How could her own mother want her to read animals’ minds? The mom couldn’t have gone that insane. It made no sense.

Isabella hurried downstairs. “Aunt Molly?”

“What now, Isabella?” Aunt Molly asked.

“I got this note from my mom.” She held up the paper.

Aunt Molly put her hands on her hips.

“It is, I swear. I even recognize the handwriting.”

“Let me see.”

Isabella handed the note to Aunt Molly. Aunt Molly read it. Her eyes watered. She burst into tears. “I c-can’t believe it.”

Isabella remained mute.

“I don’t want you to be like this, Isabella.”

Isabella shook her head. “Neither do I.”

“There’s got to be a way to undo this.”

Isabella paused. Then she returned to the basement.

“You’re back,” Peppermint’s internal voice said.

“I need to get rid of this curse,” Isabella said.

“The only way to get rid of it is to suppress it yourself.”

            “How?”

“You have to replace thoughts of me with thoughts of other people.”

“B-but I can’t forget you.”

“It’ll only take a few minutes. Then you can spend as much time with me as you’d like.”

            Isabella looked down. “Okay.” She returned upstairs and sat in the living room. She closed her eyes. Thoughts of her friends, teachers, and even her mom, came into her head. She thought about the guinea pig, but replaced it with a memory of her dad going to the hospital.

Peppermint’s internal voice faded away from Isabella’s mind. Isabella pushed herself to remember the voice. But she had forgotten.

She went back to the basement. Peppermint made her usual guinea pig sounds. Isabella gazed at her. The animal climbed her cage bars. There were no unusual voices.

Isabella grinned.

 

short fiction

Meet Kevin: A Short Story

Tamara looked under her bed. She noticed her old book on Ancient Egypt and a coloring book with sea creatures. Gee—so many years. Tamara was fifteen years old. And yet, she had not noticed some of those items. That coloring book must’ve rested under her bed for five years, since she’d lost interest in it at age ten.

But she also found a note. She picked it up. It’d come from her dad. He’d died when Tamara was six years old.

Tamara’s eyes watered as she read the note.

 

Dear Madelyn and Tamara,

 

            I might not make it within a week. The doctors are unsure if I’ll survive. But I love you both with all my heart. I hope you’ll always love me back.

 

            Sincerely,

            Daddy

 

Tamara pushed tears back, forcing herself not to cry. Madelyn, Tamara’s older sister, had gone off to college this year. She studied on the other side of the country in California. And anything could happen, especially in Los Angeles.

There was a knock on the door. It was Tamara’s mom. “Hey, Honey.”

“Hey, Mom,” said Tamara.

“Are you all right?” the mom walked into Tamara’s room.

“I’m fine,” she said. “I found a note from dad before he died.” She handed it to her mom.

“I gave this to you right after. Where was it?”

“Under my bed.”

The mother frowned.

“I was only six years old then.”

“Your father suffered from Pancreatic Cancer so much. I’m surprised you didn’t do something with it earlier.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well, I’m going out with a new guy tonight.”

“Wait, when were you going to tell me this?”

“Tamara, this man and I were trying to work out our date for the past couple days.”

“What’s he like?”

“I don’t know. Now may I have the note, please”

Tamara lowered her jaw.

“I don’t want it under your bed anymore.”

“Mom, I can keep it somewhere safe. I’m fifteen years old. I’m not a little kid anymore.”

“Tamara, do as I say.”

Sighing, Tamara gave her mom the note from her dead father. The mother left.

Whoever mom’s dating better be nice, Tamara thought.

She looked out her window. Her mom went into the car and drove away.

 

A few hours had passed. Tamara heard a strange male voice talking to her mother. It had to be the man the mom dated.

There was a knock on Tamara’s door again. The mother and the guy showed themselves.

“Tamara, I would like you to meet my boyfriend, Kevin.”

“Hello, Tamara.” Kevin yawned.

Tamara gazed at him. He had sleeked back gray hair and was a bit overweight.

“Your mom and I going to talk for a bit,” Kevin said.

“Okay.” Tamara closed the door.

Her mom spoke to Kevin. Tamara heard the words date and note. But the mother couldn’t mention the note from Tamara’s dad.

“Oh, sorry to hear about your husband,” said Kevin. “I divorced my old wife years ago.”

Tamara cracked her door open.

“She used to drive me crazy, with all her cats. I’m really allergic to cats.”

“So am I,” the mom said.

“You know what?” Kevin asked. “How about we get a lizard? I like reptiles.”

“No thanks,” the mother said. “I’m happy having no pets.”

“Aw, come on,” Kevin said. “Pets rock.”

“It’s too much work,” the mother said.

“Fine, then I’ll just get a lizard for myself.” Kevin left the mom’s bedroom and went downstairs.

 

****

 

The next day, Tamara went downstairs for breakfast. But she discovered a tank with a lizard in it.

The mom joined.

“Mom, did Kevin actually get us a lizard?” Tamara asked.

“He’s taking it home with him.”

“Then why did he leave it here?”

The doorbell rang. The mom answered the Kevin.

“I wanted you to meet my lizard before I go,” said Kevin.

“Why?” the mom asked.

“Well, I was thinking… maybe we could share the lizard.”

Tamara opened her mouth.

“Kevin,” the mother said. “I… I can’t… I mean…”

“I thought we were preparing to get married,” Kevin said.

There was a pause.

“Kevin, are you kidding me?” asked the mom. “We’ve have one freaking date.”

Kevin remained mute.

“You know what? Take the lizard and get out of my house,” the mother said.

“You’re joking, aren’t you?” Kevin crossed his arms.

“No, I’m serious,” the mother said.

“Fine, have it your way.” Kevin took the lizard tank and supplies. He ran out of the house in tears.

Tamara and her mom stared at Kevin.

“Tamara, I think you should have the note back,” her mom said.

“Really?”

“Yes.”

The two went upstairs. Tamara’s mom returned the note. “You should keep it somewhere safe.”

“Yes, mom.” Tamara kissed her mother. She returned the note to her room and hung it up. She stared at it. I’ll never forget you, Dad.