TV show

Countdown… 3… 2… 1… Happy Top “Drake and Josh” Moments!

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

When I was a child, I watched a lot of Nickelodeon. While I enjoyed cartoons like “The Fairly Odd Parents”, “Jimmy Neutron”, and many more, I also watched the live-action shows. However, it was not until I was about twelve or so that I started viewing the live-action programs.

My favorite one of those shows was “Drake and Josh”, which focused on two teenage stepbrothers who constantly bickered and received pranks from their little sister, Megan. The humor in the program made me laugh a lot. While I enjoyed pretty much every episode I have seen, I am going to rank my top favorite episodes. Number 1 will represent the best, in my opinion.

Note: The episodes listed are NOT the official titles. The show did not present the titles before the first scenes.

 

3: The episode where Drake and Josh babysat

 

Josh’s dad is supposed to have dinner with a couple until their babysitter cancels on them. Josh volunteers to watch the couple’s baby, but Drake wants to go somewhere to perform. After the couple drops off the baby, some ringing wakes him up and he cries. After Drake and Josh try to cheer the baby up, someone in his band suggests that his diaper might need to be changed. So they change him, but run out of diapers. So they use a curtain instead. After accidentally breaking a toy that sang, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, Drake and Josh sang it themselves to lull the baby. The baby somehow goes missing, but Josh finds him asleep in his carrier at the end.

This episode has some funny moments that still stick to me now. I love when Josh tries to play Marco-Polo to get the baby to answer when he can’t find him. Rather than acknowledging that babies can’t talk, Josh just finalizes with “Babies don’t swim,” instead. The curtain as the diaper substitute was also hilarious. I especially like the line from Josh, “Now we’ve got a naked baby and no diapers. What are we gonna do?” Then Drake looks up at the curtains.

 

2: The episode with Baaab the sheep

 

Drake and Josh discover a sheep that Megan has bought offline. Megan convinces them to watch the sheep, called “Baaab”, but they refuse. Then Megan promises no pranks for three months. So they accept the offer. Baaab does not seem right. Megan claims that he is breathing weird. So she and her brothers get a person-doctor down the street. He and the three kids discover that Baaab was pregnant and has given birth to a lamb. So the sheep turns out to be female. When the parents come home, Drake and Josh try to hide the two sheep by acting strangely. But the parents find the creatures and blame Drake and Josh. Megan acts like she was unaware, and Drake and Josh get grounded. After a month of their punishment, Megan has bought a zebra.

This episode had a lot of humor, too. Although this would be dangerous in real life, I liked when Drake tried to feed the lamb soda. The sheep also cracked me up at times, such as when Baaab stuck her head out of the kitchen opening.

 

1: The episode where Josh substituted Megan’s fifth-grade class

 

Josh is offered a position from a program where high school students can educate younger kids. He does not please anybody. He over-challenges the students beyond what they can learn. When Megan goes to her classmates’ birthday party, she discovers that she was uninvited because of Josh. Later Drake and Josh sulk over what Josh ruined for them. Josh continues to resist their demands and plans to keep challenging the students. Drake and Megan come up with a plan to get Josh fired. The next moment, Josh fails his science experiment to the class and is asked to leave. It ends where Drake has one of Megan’s other classmates perform with him. The children compliment Josh on being a good person, despite his unfavorable teaching methods.

Unlike many episodes, this was one of the few where Megan and Drake worked together. I found that very pleasing. The Josh piñata and Megan’s classmate’s birthday party cracked me up, as well as how Megan continued to show disrespect to Josh after he started teaching her class. I like when she still called him a boob, and Josh got offended, so she called him, “Mr. Boob.”

 

While I don’t believe “Drake and Josh” is on anymore, it is still a funny show. I would recommend checking it out on any platform of TV shows, whether it’s digital or a DVD set.

movie

“Paranorman” (2012): Must be the Time of the Critique

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

I first discovered this film when my family watched it in the living room of our house. I didn’t see the whole thing until the second time on my own. However, I saw enough that it caught my interest.

“Paranorman” portrays a young boy, named Norman Babcock, who can talk to the dead. He is the only one who can see ghosts. However, others don’t understand him and they think he is crazy… except for a heavy kid named Neil, who gets excited by Norman’s special powers.

But Norman is given a task to stop a witch’s curse from raising the dead. He fails and the zombies go to town. The community tries to hurt the zombies until Norman understands them and discovers that they are not trying to hurt anybody.

I enjoyed the movie enough that I watched it over and over again on my own. In fact, “Paranorman” is one of the few movies I can watch a lot in a short period of time.

And now, what I admired about the film:

 

1: The humor

 

Despite the dark tone, the humor added was done well. I loved the scene of the guy waiting for his snack at the vending machine while the zombies come closer to him. The dialogue also expresses humor effectively. It’s especially funny in the second half of the film.

 

2: The plot twist revealing the “witch”

 

I appreciated the twist on how the “witch” was just a miserable little girl that nobody had understood and had been executed for “witchcraft”. That plays well into what people should be expected to know today. Obviously, there were never wicked witches who flew on broomsticks and cackled in real life. However, the accusation of people being witches throughout history and getting punished for it actually happened in history.

Of course, people have changed then and try to support those that others constantly miscomprehend. I adored how Norman tried to talk to the girl, called Agatha, to get her to stop the jinx. After the fight scene, the next one calmed down and showed Agatha’s true innocence.

 

3: The historical facts about Puritans

 

Although this is frowned upon in storytelling if overdone, just the right amount that the plot needs will make it work. In “Paranorman”, the facts about the Pilgrims and their culture engaged my interest in the film even more. I was reminded facts that I had almost forgotten myself, like when people found guilty of witchcraft were no longer considered humans.

 

Now onto the parts I believe could have been portrayed better:

 

1: Believability

 

Despite the humor in the plot and characterization, I found certain elements to be unbelievable. While that didn’t bother me much, I was surprised when I discovered that “Paranorman” was based off a book. Book rules are another story, but characters do have to behave like real people. Unless the movie changed pretty much everything from the book, I feel that the story and characters could have been more believable.

For example, Norman walks to school for minutes by himself, at age 11. If the story took place in the 70’s or earlier, then that would have been believable. However, it takes place around the time it was released. If you let your eleven-year-old child walk to school in a city alone, you could get in trouble with CPS.

Another example was when Salma barely reacted to Norman thinking that the zombies were about to eat him. She just sighed and answered his question about finding out where the witch was buried. Even if you didn’t care about your classmate, wouldn’t you be scared if he or she called you and told you about a zombie currently attacking him or her? I certainly would.

 

2: The character stereotypes

 

Norman’s mother is more gentle and shows more effort in understanding him than his father, who is rougher and refuses to comprehend what he goes through. His older sister, Courtney, gets annoyed with his actions, talks on the phone a lot, and talks with the stereotypical teenage girl language. Doesn’t anyone find these clichéd at this point?

 

3: The mildly mature content

 

I used to think “Paranorman” was rated PG-13 due to the language, mildly sexual terms, and dark tone. It is actually PG, like almost every children’s movie is these days. The others may have crude humor or mild language (not cursing, but words like “idiot”), but they are not usually like “Paranorman”. I don’t know if a child under 12 should watch “Paranorman” unless they are considered very mature for his or her age.

 

Overall, though, I would rate “Paranorman” 5 out of 5 stars. I still enjoyed it very much and hope to watch it again soon.

 

 

 

movie

Put Your Thoughts in What You Most Believe in… Review of “Tarzan” (1999)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

This is one of the few 2nd Disney Renaissance films I have watched in the movie theater due to my age now (24). I was five at the time I saw “Tarzan”. I don’t remember my opinion then.

However, I will tell you what I thought when I saw “Tarzan” twice in recent years. Although I liked it more seeing it the second time, this review is going to reflect my opinions on the film the first time I saw it recently.

We all know the story. As a baby, Tarzan gets stranded in the jungle with his parents. His mom and dad build a tree house, but die right after. A female gorilla named Kala, who has just lost her own young, takes Tarzan and raises him. Tarzan grows up wondering why he is different. He tries to fit in. When he reaches adulthood, he discovers humans and can relate to them better. A young woman named Jane falls in love with Tarzan. Tarzan is interested in her, as well. However, his interest to people becomes the feeling of betrayal to his animal pals. Tarzan has to make a tough decision.

While I would give the other Disney movies from the second Renaissance 5 stars, I would only give “Tarzan” 3.5 stars. Something about it wasn’t as engaging as the other Disney films from that era. I don’t know if it was because there isn’t much in the way of singing from the characters, except partly by Kala in the number, “You’ll Be In My Heart”, or some other mysterious element. It just didn’t hold my attention as much as the films from “The Little Mermaid” to “Mulan”.

However, some scenes engaged my emotions. For instance, when Tarzan puts clothes on to join the people, I almost thought he was ditching his animal friends, but also making the right choice. I also found Kerchak to be too unlikable until he died. He was too dark as an adoptive gorilla father. I understand that that’s an important element to the story and his character. But I feel like a gentle mother and rough father is too cliched, even back in 1999.

One the bright note, I admired the ending where Professor Porter and Jane join Tarzan in the jungle. That twist surprised and amazed me. Another positive aspect was when Tantor thought Tarzan was a piranha, and his mother had to keep reminding him, “There are no piranhas in Africa.” I just found that humorous.

Would I recommend “Tarzan”? Despite finding it just okay, the answer is still yes. The songs sung by the music crew were still fantastic. The characters were still well-developed. And the story still held up enough emotion and conflict.

art

The Stuck Abstract Artist… No More

This is my first art post. Not only do I love to write, but I also enjoy creating artwork. I have my whole life.

I could go on and on about my art life and milestones. However, that is not what this post is about. It is about creating abstract and I method I discovered. That is picking a theme and distorting the shapes of that theme to not make it obvious. For example, one theme I’d chosen was “Cinderella.” If you look at the image below very carefully, you can see the shape of Cinderella in her ball gown.

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Cinderella is the one with the little, gray, navy, and magenta shapes and then the big navy dome below.

Another example is “Aladdin”. If you look at the pink and brown circle with the periwinkle streak on your right, that is a distorted shape of Jasmine (I used the Disney film as the theme).

IMG_1033

I’ve done more than Disney themes, as well. Others include Outer Space and African Jungle Safari (unrelated to “The Lion King”).

If you like to work on abstract art, and you ever get stuck, this is a great technique. If you are making money off of it or using it for school, be sure to avoid making the shapes too literal, unless your theme was not based off something copyrighted.

I used these paintings in my senior thesis at college. I did not reveal that I used subject themes to others that had helped me get through the process.

Nevertheless, I would highly recommend trying this method to anyone who has a passion for creating artwork.

travel

Adventureland For Adults… Sort Of

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Disclaimer: Image is NOT of Adventureland

There’s an amusement park not too far from my home called, “Adventureland”. As a child, I have gone there numerous times with camp and sometimes family. I rode the rides, played games, and ate the food.

When I went there as an adult just a couple years ago, it was not the same. The park had only a few adult-friendly rides. Everything seemed more for kids and people who do not like thrill rides.

I rode on the swing ride, roller coaster, and the music express, which is like a roller coaster that circles while songs play. I also bought lunch and a snack. Then I went home, after only an hour at the park.

There was a waterfall ride known as the log flume. It is adult-friendly, but I didn’t go on it since I did not have a bathing suit. You do get wet on it.

The whole point is that some amusement parks are more for children than for adults. I also went alone, which is okay. But I probably would have had more fun if I had gone with a friend. Or maybe I should consider a different trip in the future unless I take kids with me.

Know yourself and the place you want to go to before you take a trip there. Know the people you take with you, especially children. Don’t let your trip disappoint you or anybody else.

movie, TV show

OMG… These Conspiracy Theories Are, Like, So Insane

If you’ve surfed the web about your favorite movies or TV shows, you may have discovered fan theories about them. Some of them are clever. Others, however, are depressing and can ruin how you view the programs. Some of them have been confirmed by the creators. Others have been shut down.

Here are my reactions to the conspiracy theories that have stood out to me the most. These are in no particular order of the levels of my opinions.

 

The Fairly Odd Parents and Danny Phantom

 

1: Timmy lives through a life of abuse and all the episodes of FOP are his dreams while he’s in a coma.

 

I found this too dark and depressing. In fact, it had temporarily ruined the way I have viewed the show right after discovering this theory. I was a huge, long-time FOP fan in my childhood. I would try and make time for FOP specials, watch episodes I hadn’t gotten chances to see, and was even sad when hearing that the Jimmy-Timmy Power-Hour 3 (FOP crossover with “Jimmy Neutron”) was the series finale. Of course, it ended up not going off the air and FOP still airs and produces new episodes now. Anyway, this theory had scarred me. I could never see a children’s cartoon that way.

 

2: Danny Phantom is a sequel to FOP

 

I like this theory more. Not just because it’s more positive and clever, but also because it’s also more original than “the shows are just dreams or imagination”. The idea is that Timmy wished to never turn 13 since according to Da Rules, a child had to give up his/her fairy godparents when he/she is deemed too old. So Cosmo and Wanda made him 14 (Danny Phantom’s age). The theory also suggests Chester becoming Dash, Tootie becoming Sam, and AJ becoming Tucker.

Although I admire this theory more than the previous one, I cannot imagine it being true. It probably isn’t. In the FOP special “Channel Chasers”, it is revealed that a kid can have fairies until the age of 18. However, I think 13 would have been more logical in terms of maturity and independence. But that is a different story. There are also hints in “Danny Phantom” of Danny’s life before he was 14.

 

Rugrats

 

3: Every baby is Angelica’s imagination

 

This is another depressing theory that claims that this is a character’s imagination and is not real. Like the first FOP theory, I disliked this one. One detail that stood out to me was that Phil and Lil were Angelica’s envision of how the twins’ mother never had them. So Angelica pictured them as boy and girl fraternal twins.

 

Now onto the movies.

 

Harry Potter (book and film) series

 

4: All the events are in Harry’s head

 

Seriously? Then what was the point of everything? Although this one is also depressing since it suggests that Harry only imagined his time at Hogwarts just to escape the horrors of the Dursleys. Even J.K. Rowling supports this. I don’t think she has officially confirmed this theory, but I sure hope it is not true.

 

Aladdin (Disney)

 

5: It takes place in the future

 

Yes, you don’t see jets like what the Jetsons fly in or super advanced technology. But this theory has come up because when the genie comes out of the lamp, he says he was trapped there for 10,000 years. He also hints at the last time he saw life was the third century. There are also references to other movies with the genie.

I cannot decide if it is true or not. I am leaning more the unlikely side, though. The creators have given hints about historical context in “Aladdin”. I have even come up with my own theory. It is that civilization in the “Aladdin” universe began long before it did in real life. The genie got trapped in the lamp 10,000 years before, but during the third century, there was a hole in the lamp. So the genie got a glimpse of fashion during that time.

 

Conspiracy theories are creative, but sometimes, they go a little far. What conspiracy theories have stood out to you?

 

travel

Terrific Tips for a Successful Trip

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Vacation usually means fun, entertainment, relaxation, and exploration, depending on where you go and what you’ve planned to do. Our choices for trips, ranging from where we stay, where we eat, what we do, and how we travel, are what make our times off enjoyable or miserable.

I have traveled many times throughout my life. I have flown on planes since I was a baby. So I know a lot about what works on vacations and what doesn’t.

Here are some tips for making sure you enjoy your trip.

1: Don’t plan too little or too much–just right in the middle.

Many of my family trips have consisted of a ton of touring, especially when we went to Europe and very little down time. Because of that, my mom planned less for one trip to the Catskills a couple years ago. However, we sat in the room bored all the time, especially because the cell phone signal and Internet was very spotty and weak. So you want to tour enough and hang out enough. Balancing it is the best idea. That was how my family’s Bermuda trip, a few months before the Catskills trip, was done. And I am glad it was.

2: Know your family.

Whether your kids are little, older, or are adults, you should know what activities and places would work for them. Obviously, you wouldn’t send your young adult children to a play place for small children, but it might not be such a good idea to take toddlers to certain historical tour places as they may get cranky and hyper. Aside from the kids’ ages, their personalities and regular habits play a role in this too. I wouldn’t recommend a trip where you have to wake up for an activity before 6 A.M. if your child likes to sleep until noon. Your spouse or other peer should also be taken into consideration.

3: Make a budget and do your research.

You hear this so many times. But unless you’re super-wealthy, it’s important to watch how much you spend and read reviews before committing with your money. Some things may sound cool, but if a lot of the reviews online say that their experiences were painful, then you should steer clear of those activities.

Following these tips will make your next overnight trips more enjoyable and everybody will thank you.

movie

He… is… Lego Batman! Every Hero Needs a Super Review

I was going to see “A Dog’s Purpose” with a friend, but it was sold out. So we had to pick another movie promptly. My friend let me pick the film. So I chose “The Lego Batman Movie”.

The film starts out with a typical Batman vs. Joker scenario. Not long after, Batman longs for a family. He meets an enthusiastic orphan named Dick Grayson. He is excited to call Batman his dad, which Batman doesn’t want. So Grayson calls him, “Padre”. Their collaboration grows into a bond. Alfred the butler and Barbara Gordon also join.

I enjoyed the movie and thought it was sweet with the importance of family and working together. There was a moment, though, where there was no conflict for a few minutes or so. If I hadn’t been with a friend, I would have walked out of the theatre. But I’m glad I stayed because the conflict grew stronger as the movie progressed.

I was also surprised that the enthusiastic kid turned out to be Robin. I have heard that Robin is usually similar to Batman with his personality. He is also usually not Batman’s son—just a sidekick.

Another aspect I didn’t expect were the villains in the sky area that came from other movies, such as the terminators, wicked witch of the west, and Voldemort. Voldemort used the levitating spell rather than an unforgivable curse. Maybe J.K. Rowling or the Harry Potter movie producers wouldn’t let them.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie very much. Although I was never a fan of Batman, I would give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

Writing

Want to Publish a Book? Here’s What I Learned

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We all dream of being published authors with people enjoying our books and getting the same popularity and attention that big authors, such as J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, have received.

However, it is not easy to become just a decently well-known author, even for those like Alice Hoffman or Gail Carson Levine. What I wished I had done before publishing two books (which, unfortunately, are temporarily going off the market), was building a platform. No matter what route you take, whether it’s traditional, hybrid, or self-publishing, you need to establish a fan base before.

Even if you get accepted by a big publishing house (which is extremely difficult), they want to see how many people have heard of you and admire what you do. That excludes people you know personally. Think the publishing house will market your book for you? Think again. These days, regardless of what publishing route you select, you need to market your book on your own.

I self-published my novels without building a platform prior and knowing that children’s self-published books are among the hardest to sell. While I did a free promotion for five days, and got 1662 free downloads during that time, my sales were only around 25 a year, even after the free promotion ended.

I am working on a non-fiction book and am considering hybrid publishing it. Hybrid publishing is a mix of traditional and self-publishing. They accept and reject books, but let you keep some control. They are not all alike though. Some lean toward the commercial method, where if they do accept your story, they have all the control for its production, cover design, title, and even content, and some lean toward self-publishing, where they let the author keep the control, but might not care much about the content, title, or design.

If the non-fiction book is successful after release, then I will re-publish my novels. But having a platform (Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc.) is absolutely important. I have done a ton of promotion and marketing techniques for my novels. I could go on and on with a list, but everything I have done has gotten me little to nowhere. People don’t usually like to buy books from unknown authors, because they worry about wasting their money. That is why every aspiring writer or any kind of creator needs a platform.

**Update** I have self-published my non-fiction novel through Amazon KDP instead.

short fiction

Sierra the Former Snob: A Flash Fiction Piece

Sierra dragged her feet up to her room. Only a couple months remained until high school graduation. But she wished she had earned her Girl Scout gold award.

She entered her room and sat on her bed. She had done everything she could to try and receive the reward. But her attitude in Girl Scouts had made her mom pull her out of the troop.

Her family had a ton of money. Sierra had not bragged about her wealth in Girl Scouts, but had been let down by things that’d been below her standards or when the other girls had complained about her wishes involving more money than they could afford.

When the troop took a trip to Paris a year ago, they had not stayed in a hotel, but a hostel designated for Girl Scouts. Sierra had complained about no house keeping, décor matching the level of schools, and had stated that it would have made a great homeless shelter.

Other times, Sierra had suggested trips to Niagara Falls and amusement parks, which the troop leader had turned down for costing too much. When eating out, Sierra had had to deal with sandwiches and salads rather than bistros or taverns, which she’d preferred.

But Sierra had wished she hadn’t boasted about her richness. No one in the troop spoke to her anymore—not even those in her grade at school, unless they had to.

Sierra now wanted to go to a SUNY college rather than the Ivy League she had chosen. Maybe she didn’t deserve fancy things. Perhaps, she should not go to college this fall.

However, her parents had already paid. What would they say if she’d told them she wished to delay her freshman year for the following autumn?