travel

A Dream Vacation I Have Lost Interest in

Image from Pixabay

Three years ago, or so, I longed for a trip to Maryland doing nature and adventurous activities. I never could find anyone to go with and my mom eventually told me that she wanted me to earn money and not focus on a dream trip.

Eventually, I lost interest in it. I don’t know how—maybe just from naturally drifting apart from it? The first resort I looked at had mixed reviews. So, I considered other places to stay near that same area. But then I discovered that the cell phone signal can be quite weak at times. Also, there is hardly any public transportation. Most people not from the area have to rent a car. And that wouldn’t have been a good option for me. Not just because there are more restrictions and fees for drivers between 21 and 24, but I also wouldn’t have felt safe driving in that unfamiliar area.

I looked at areas in Pennsylvania, as well. While there was a little more public transportation, a lot of places would take about an hour to go to, regardless of where I stayed.

Last year, my mom told me that I shouldn’t have focused on a trip when I didn’t make my own money. At some point, I understood.

While I’m not dreaming about this trip anymore, I still enjoy outdoor activities. However, I will think about them when the right time comes.

art

Using Humor in Art

Who doesn’t love to laugh? Certainly me. I’ve always loved humor and applying it in unusual places (as long as it’s appropriate). I even applied humor to a PowerPoint presentation I had to do in high school.

But I also enjoy making my artwork funny. Some of the pieces include a rooster riding a unicycle, a man playing an instrument with a lion in his boat, and a dingo eating a baby (which was not my original idea, but a tragedy turned into a comedy). You can find them on this blog through older posts. I’ve also done silly “Harry Potter” fan art when I was younger. I still have the drawings in my room. However, I won’t share them online. Not just for possible copyright reasons, but also because I don’t find them funny anymore. My family would consider them weird at the time. Now I agree with them.

While still on the fan art topic, I photo-shopped Rafiki holding up Kenny from “South Park” and made it my computer screensaver. Just like with the wacky “Harry Potter” drawings, I think it’s best not to post the laptop background. But a few people have admired it.

Comedy is often not easy to execute successfully. However, I’ve made people laugh with a video I animated about a snake swallowing an entire wedding cake, which you can find on YouTube if you search, “Sunayna Prasad here comes the snake”. I think I could make a great comedian, but I don’t think it’s worth it for me.

Nevertheless, I still enjoy cracking people up. Not only with my artwork, but many other ideas, as well.

Writing

Want to Revive Your Childhood Imagination? If so, Be Careful

Image from Pixabay

Many young children love to play make believe and use their imaginations. Some like to be more creative. A handful might like to make up concepts in their minds. I was definitely like that.

As a little kid, I would imagine fan fiction of my favorite movies and TV shows and dream of seeing them—unaware of copyright law then. I also imagined my own ideas of TV shows.

When I was around 7 years old, I read a book called “Morris Goes to School”, which was about an upright moose who went to school with children. It was cute for a small child.

That had inspired me to write my own version, but about an upright polar bear named Spike.

Later I evolved Spike into a child polar bear who also went to school with children. Not long after, I did a spinoff of one character and imagined a series about her living in a house in a jungle with talking animals as her friends.

At about 10, I abandoned the idea of that imaginary series. However, fast forward 6 years and the idea came back into my mind. I was so excited that I wrote it into a novel. Sadly, no one, except those I knew personally, found it appealing. So, once I was 18, I removed it from the market.

No matter how much you love and value something, it isn’t always going to please people, especially if you do little to no research on that idea. Few adults and older kids are interested in reviving their childhood imaginations. Fewer want to hear or know about it.

As you get older, you realize certain ideas make little to no sense or aren’t as good as you thought when you were younger. Hey, that’s growing up.

So, while other writers tell you to write down any idea you have for a story (which I totally agree with), unless you’re writing it just for yourself or maybe friends and family, be careful with trying to market that idea. You may have to do a lot of research. You’ll also have to study the writing craft if you haven’t started already. And the progress can take several years. I’m not exaggerating—it took me 7 years to develop my writing voice and be able to write great books. Not just good. Believe me, it’s not nearly as satisfying as it sounds. After a while, I took the less-than-great books off the market.

fiction

A Twist in a Pitch: A Flash Fiction Piece

I came up with a pitch to an animation studio. It was about a small town where you couldn’t shout, “Shut that rooster up!” or even just tell the farmers to quiet their roosters. Otherwise, you’d get fined.

            I walked into the room with executives and breathed. Then I explained my idea.

            “Thank you, everyone,” I said.

            But there was silence. A few people shook their heads.

            “Sorry, Miss Taylor, but we’re going to have to pass,” said, Mr. Craig, the boss.

            I inhaled and exhaled again. “All right.” I walked out of the room.

            I knew that rejection happened a lot. In fact, I was even aware that it was normal.

            I got into my car and drove home.

            Several minutes had passed. I arrived at my house—only to hear clucking next door. I leaned toward the sound. There were chickens in my neighbor’s backyard.

            Mr. Jones stepped out. “Hey, Lola, I heard about your cartoon idea. It sounds pretty good.”

            “Thanks,” I muttered. Then I paused. “Wait—how do you know about my idea?”

            “Mr. Craig told me,” he said.

            My eyebrows raised. Mr. Craig had been the boss at the studio and he’d rejected the idea—unless Mr. Jones referred to a different Mr. Craig.

            “He’s actually a good friend of mine,” said Mr. Jones.

            “Wait, what does he do?” I asked.

            “He’s the head of the local animation studio,” Mr. Jones answered.

            “He rejected the idea, though.”

            “For a TV show,” Mr. Jones said. “However, he will gladly make it into a web series.”

            I smiled. “Really?”

            “Yes,” replied Mr. Jones.

            “Tell him I said thanks.”

            “Sure thing.”

movie

An Adventure Awaits with My Review of “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” (2014)

I have been a huge fan of the “Night at the Museum” franchise since the first film was released in 2006. Also, as great of a film this is, as well as the first two, this was also Robin Williams’s last movie before he died.

Anyway, let’s get to the review. The movie starts with a flashback of Western and Arab men. There is also a little boy named CJ. CJ’s father forces him to go somewhere and wait, but CJ ends up falling into something. He discovers the tablet, which brings the museum figures to life.

Fast forward to the present, and Larry Daley is presenting the figures at a formal event. However, the figures get out of control and the people panic. Larry gives the figures a lecture about their behavior. Not long after, he and his son, Nick, are whisked away to London to get the tablet fixed. They meet new figures, including Lancelot, who seems caring to Nick about his values. But things get out of hand again.

This movie was very funny as usual. The characters are still humorous. I especially love the scene where the little cowboy and Roman gladiator figurines are watching a cat video on YouTube and they use a special ancient machine to write a comment. The scene where the caveman eats the packing peanuts was also hilarious.

Of course, like every creative work, this film does have some flaws, such as the “kid holding party while his or her parents are out and gets in trouble when they come home” cliché. Not to mention that it really isn’t believable, especially with characters who are minors. No parent would ever allow their underage child to go to an unsupervised party. So, Nick wouldn’t have had the unsupervised party if this were more credible.

Another moment in this film that isn’t believable is when Lancelot runs onto a stage in a theater where “Camelot” is being performed. The actors are like, “Can I help you?” and explaining to Lancelot that they are just actors. This isn’t the best example, as running on stage during a show performance in real life would get you arrested, even if you just stand there and say nothing. The actors would’ve yelled at Lancelot to get off the stage, security would’ve taken him away, and then the cops would’ve arrested him. But that couldn’t happen, because—plot convenience.

Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed the film and would rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

movie

Feed Me This Critique of “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)

Warning: contains spoilers***

One of the earliest movies to be rated PG-13, this story follows a young man, named Seymour, who is trying to please his boss with a plant business. One plant becomes incredibly popular and then gruesome.

I will stop there with the narration. Below are what I liked about this film and what I felt could’ve been better.

This post will only include information about the movie from 1986 and not the earlier movie from 1960 or the live musical.

So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on this film, starting with the strengths.

1: The Musical Numbers

The songs were great. In fact, they were done by the same people who did Disney-animated movies such as “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”. While the music doesn’t sound too similar, and obviously, the story is more mature, the structure of the film is similar to that of a Disney classic. Between the midpoint and the all-is-lost moment is a romantic number between Seymour and his love interest, Audrey.

2: The Twist Where the Plant Talks

Seymour called the plant an Audrey II to honor the lady he had strong feelings for. It started out as a normal plant. Then, when Seymour cut himself, he fed the blood to the plant. It would make smacking sounds when it was hungry. When it grew bigger, it surprisingly could talk. It would tell Seymour to keep feeding it. I loved when Seymour said to the plant at some point, “Don’t think you’re getting dessert.” Lol.

3: Seymour’s Character Development

While Seymour was nicer to Audrey than her abusive boyfriend, the dentist, was, he wasn’t without his flaws. Although the dentist had already died from the laughing gas, Seymour’s boss thought Seymour was killing the dentist. Seymour feared trouble with the cops, turned down journalists and people in the publicity business when they wanted to advertise his plant and offer him money, and even brought something to defeat the dentist before he perished from the laughing gas. Of course, Seymour is still a good guy who’s had a tough life. He was orphaned at a young age and his boss raised him, but not in a pleasing way.

Now onto the parts I felt could’ve been better.

1: Audrey’s Ideal Life Explained in the Number, “Somewhere that’s Green”

I first discovered this song in “Family Guy”, when Herbert imagines a life with Chris. The lyrics there and in “Little Shop of Horrors” are mostly the same. Audrey imagines a life with Seymour where he rakes and trims the grass and Audrey is a happy wife into cleaning and cooking. Some of her other dreams included TV dinners and a 9:15 bedtime. I know this story was written and is probably set in the late 50’s or early 60’s, when standards for women were different. But seeing this in 2019, I found those ideas too bizarre and unappealing. Most women probably wouldn’t dream of a life like Audrey does during that moment.

2: A Dentist that Scares and Hurts People Still Succeeds in his Job

I know this is a past decade, but why would anyone want to go to a scary dentist? He causes pain the wrong way and harms people physically at times. Why doesn’t anyone report him? Or at least not come back? He should’ve lost patients due to his bad practicing.

Last, but not least, onto an idea that I’m unsure about.

A Happy or Sad Ending

Originally, the film was going to end where Audrey dies, Seymour feeds her body to his plant, and then the plant eats Seymour after. That was in the director’s cut, which you can get on the DVD. However, the theatrical release showed a happy ending, where Seymour defeats the plant and he and Audrey get married, living happily ever after. While I’ve always preferred happier endings to stories, I find that the sad ending fits the tone and premise more. At the same time, I was more satisfied with the happily-ever-after ending. I guess both are equally fine.

I would rate this film 4 out of 5 stars.

travel

When I Visited the Calgary Zoo in 2015

Four years ago, I went to Calgary for my cousin’s engagement party. On what was Independence Day in the US, I went to the Calgary Zoo. It’s kind of like the Bronx Zoo, but more condensed. You can probably see pretty much anything in one day.

After you’re admitted, you’re near the penguin house. Outside it, has different signs, one saying not to touch the penguins. I was puzzled, thinking, why are they reminding people something they already know? Plus, don’t they make it impossible to touch the creatures? Following that sentence was, “We have a no-touching policy.” In my mind, I was saying, yeah, no duh, all zoos do. That’s common knowledge! That’s like reminding people that animals can’t talk. Also, if you put that in a book, that’ll turn readers off. That’s right, I was thinking about something irrelevant.

But when you enter the penguin house, the tanks are, like, five feet tall. So, while little kids wouldn’t be able to reach the top, adults could. Perhaps, that’s why they needed to remind people that basic knowledge that most three-year-olds already know.

Another unique aspect is that they have a restaurant with sit-down service and good quality food. That’s a big difference from the New York City zoos. And it’s indoors.

At the end of the day, it rained, and the small children screamed and cried, even in the tunnel to exit the zoo. Still, no two zoos are alike.

Writing

Why I Don’t Base My Characters Off of People I Know

You’ve probably heard this from many authors: base your characters off people you know. A lot of writers do that, including big ones like J.K. Rowling. However, unlike them, I never base characters off people I know.

That being said, I do often develop them like people I know. Many characters in my books were developed like family members and people I went to school with, including teachers.

However, the ideas of those characters were often for plot convenience or inspired by other fictional sources, such as movies, books, or even legends. In fact, the antagonist in my second book of the “Magical Missions” series was inspired by the Grim Reaper. Believe it or not, in early drafts, he was more like the death figure: pure evil and carrying a scythe. But now he is not like that. I developed him to make the readers sympathize with him more. I won’t spoil anything else from the story, though.

Why don’t I base characters off people I know, you might ask? Because I just feel uninterested and find basing my characters off of other fictional sources better. My life has been pretty straightforward and ordinary. While I’m more social than I used to be, real people inspiring me for characters just doesn’t happen.

travel

These Are Unique Outside the State of New York

Image from PIxabay

I lived most of my life in New York. I was born in Texas, but only lived there till I was 15 months. So, Identify myself as a New Yorker. Ironically, I don’t have a New York accent. Neither do my brothers. It’s probably because my mom grew up in Massachusetts, so my siblings and I have her accent.

Anyway, there is so much I’m used to in New York that doesn’t really exist outside the state. Check out these unique things that pretty much is only in New York, or maybe nearby states.

1: President’s Week in February

This exists in New England and New York. However, the rest of the country only does President’s Day off and not a long week of vacation.

2: Family-Owned Pizzerias

There may be other parts of the country where these exist, but they’re pretty typical for New York.

3: Delis with sandwiches and other types of food.

I discovered years ago that delis outside New York usually meant just cold cuts.

4: Diners

Some diners exist in states near New York, such as Silver Diner in Virginia. But according to my mom, diners are more of a New York thing.

5: Children’s milestones being celebrated as banquets

These might be a little popular in some other major cities, such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles (I’ve seen hall websites that list them). But in many parts of the country outside New York, big-deal bar and bat mitzvahs and sweet 16s are not a thing. People usually only use halls for weddings, maybe birthdays and anniversaries. But in places like Ohio, Oregon, and Seattle, the biggest way to celebrate kids’ milestones would be a low-key backyard party. Kids and adults in those areas who know that children’s milestones are celebrated like weddings in the New York City area probably consider that an oddity.

6: Light coffee meaning with cream and sugar

I discovered this while on a weekend trip to Chicago years ago. I asked for my coffee light, and the person behind the counter said that they only had medium roast. I explained that I meant to ask for cream and sugar. Then my mom told me that light coffee meaning cream and sugar was only a thing in New York. Even in New Jersey, light coffee means light roast.

So, if you ever visit or move into New York, keep these cultural aspects in mind.

TV show

The Mystery to Why Some Cartoon Characters’ Faces Aren’t Shown

Have you noticed characters’ hidden faces before? How did that make you feel?

I don’t know about you, but it has always annoyed me—especially when there is no reason explained. Why do so many animators hide certain characters’ faces? This practice has been going on since the early days of animation.

Sometimes, animators change their minds and decide to show those characters’ faces later in the cartoon. This has happened in TV shows such as “Codename: Kids Next Door” (Numbuh 1 – 4’s parents’ faces show later in the series), “The Fairly Odd Parents” (Timmy’s parents’ faces show after the shorts end and the main series begins, and Remy’s mom and dad’s faces show later, too), and “Tom & Jerry” (a woman’s face shows at some point).

At times, there are also reasons for why some characters’ faces do not show. In “The PowerPuff Girls”, Miss Bellum’s face is hidden because the creators didn’t want people to be distracted with beauty. In other programs, it’s because the creators want the audience to focus on certain characters and not others.

Then there are those where no reason is given, like in “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”, Mac’s mom’s face is never show and there is never a reason why. That has probably bothered a bunch of viewers and me. Is her face unattractive? Does she look like someone one animator hates and they hide her face to avoid getting in trouble?

I rarely watch live TV these days. But these moments remain memorable.