movie

“Cars 3” On Your Mark… Get Set… Review!

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I saw the first “Cars” movie when it came out in 2006. However, I barely remember that. I didn’t see “Cars 2”.

But when I saw “Cars 3” last year in 2017, I discovered that I liked it. I appreciated how it easily stood on its own and the viewer didn’t have to rely on the previous two films.

Lightning McQueen is preparing for a race. His goal is to beat Jackson Storm. He crashes and ends up in critical condition. He is asked to retire from racing. But he won’t. Lightning gets pared with a trainer named Cruz Ramirez and teaches her some racing skills. He doesn’t want training, though. He yells at Cruz and she gives up on him. Lightning apologizes and things improve from there.

This movie kept my interest all the way through. The cow vehicles were funny. The animation was also done well.

Although Lightning didn’t return to being a racer at the end, I admired how he gave up his role in the race to Cruz. I found that to be very considerate and mature.

Overall, I would rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed watching it. But the “Cars” franchise never excited me too much. Would I recommend this movie, though? Absolutely.

travel

It’s Interesting in Italy

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Note: The picture above is from Pixabay. I didn’t take it.

Five years ago, in 2013, my family took a trip to Italy. We went to Venice, Florence, Amalfi, and Rome.

Venice has no vehicles, except boats or walking. We took gondola tours, ate gelato (at some point, I got sick of just seeing it since it was everywhere), and got around by boat or foot.

We toured churches everywhere. There were signs communicating what actions and attire were prohibited. A funny one showed male and female figures in shorts and tank tops. Photography was also forbidden, otherwise, I would’ve loved to capture an image of that silly sign. 

After studying paintings and sculptures in art history classes in college, I appreciated the works more. I saw the huge “Last Judgment” image on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I also saw the David in Florence and you were not allowed to take pictures of it. But that guideline was no surprise.

The historical sight touring was fun. We toured the lost city of Pompeii and the Coliseum. The food also differed from in the US. Tomato sauce tasted fresher. I used to be able to eat it. Gnocchi was everywhere. I love gnocchi, but I kind of got tired of it there. Because of prices, my parents only let my brothers and I order pizza or pasta.

In Amalfi, we took a bus to a restaurant where we had a waiter that looked like Steve Jobs. We told him and he laughed. Not often do you see a doppelganger of someone famous on vacation.

I had a good time in Italy. I’ve been to many different states and countries. Europe is included. The other nations I’ve visited there were England and Greece.

TV show

Wish Granted! It’s My Top Favorite Episodes of “The Fairly Odd Parents”

From ages 7 – 12, I was a huge fan of “The Fairly Odd Parents”. I noticed tons of details, changes (including some inconsistencies), and much more. I would go out of my way to watch a FOP special. For example, when “Fairy Idol” premiered, I wanted to be home in time to watch it.

While I enjoyed the show very much, I have some favorite episodes. I will select the top 5.

 

5: “Emotion Commotion”

 

Timmy is afraid to go off the high-dive at a pool, despite his crush, Trixie and the other popular kids watching. He screams as he goes off, and his bathing suit comes off. He is laughed at because he’s naked. At home, he wishes to have no emotions. Kids continue to crack up after he was nude at the pool. Adults make Timmy face dangerous challenges because he has no emotions.

I was amazed at how imaginative the creators were with what it would be like to have no emotions. Timmy ended up dull all the time. When asked, “How do you feel?”, he’d answer with “I don’t.” What an interesting concept.

 

4: “Babyface”

 

Timmy is sent to hang with the big kids at Flappy Bob’s Learnatorium. When the kids chase Timmy, he ends up in the daycare center. In order to hide, he wishes to become a baby. Everything works, until Timmy discovers that he can’t talk anymore. He has to find another way to wish himself back to being 10.

I found this episode to be quite funny, especially when a baby took off his own diaper and threw it at Francis. I enjoyed Happy-Peppy Gary and Betty’s moments in the swamp scene, when Gary said to sing a song about not getting eaten by alligators and Betty actually started until Gary said, “I was being Ironic.” I also realize that Timmy would’ve lost his ability to spell and read after wishing he was a baby. Kids learn to talk before they read and spell. But that’s a whole different topic. But hey—plot convenience matters to the creators.

 

3: “Mr. Right”

 

Following “Babyface”, Timmy is sick of getting everything wrong. He wishes that everything he said was right. From the US having 49 states to losing Cosmo and Wanda, things get out of hand.

I loved when Mr. Crocker presented “The Scream” to Timmy. Timmy asked why he was screaming. Mr. Crocker answered, “Because he got an F… like you.” He even showed more of the painting and the figure with an F in front of him. Oh my gosh. I could laugh all day at that, even though that’s not why the figure is screaming. I liked when Timmy said stuff to Francis to block his hearing so that he could get his fairies back.

 

2: “Yoo Doo”

 

Timmy wants revenge on Francis. Cosmo mentions Yoo Doo dolls. But Wanda doesn’t approve. Nevertheless, Timmy wishes for them. He succeeds at humiliating Francis, but things get out of control. While with Trixie, Tootie controls Timmy with his Yoo Doo doll and makes him talk about how great Tootie and how she’s better than Trixie.

This episode made me laugh a lot. I enjoyed when people were being controlled by others using their Yoo Doo dolls. Yes, this wouldn’t be funny in real life. But it’s a cartoon.

 

And now… drumroll

 

1: “Just Desserts”

 

Timmy is mad when he doesn’t get sweets for dessert. He got carrots, a textbook to multiply fractions with AJ’s family, and a broccoli and brussel sprout sundae with Mark. He wishes that everything was dessert. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, and more. Everyone gets hyper, but then becomes obese. People have to roll to get around. Then the weight of everybody puts pressure on the Earth and it rolls toward the sun (which, by the way, would NOT happen in real life).

This episode was, perhaps, my favorite. I cracked up through a lot of the episode. I particularly found Trixie popping her belt off to be humorous. The idea of everything being desserts was amazing.

 

So there you have it. Although “The Fairly Odd Parents” isn’t the same as it was when I was a child, I’ll always value it as one of my favorite childhood TV shows.

 

fiction

Down with Design: A Flash Fiction Piece

Someone needs to design a better hotel. I just came back home from Greece. Yes, I am aware that European luxury hotel designs may differ from those in America. I also know that Europeans often pack less than Americans due to space in their homes.

However, the decorations made it seem more like a Victorian Era mansion. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Marble statues stood on the floor. Gold and red dominated the whole hotel.

Hello? Someone could accidentally knock something down. Or, someone like me, may prefer more modern décor. That’s when you eliminate unnecessary decorations. You have simple shapes and minimal color—at least based on what I’ve seen.

Now I’m not saying my trip to Greece stank. I had a good time, from seeing the Parthenon to boating around Crete. However, this was my first trip to Europe. I’ve never left the United States, except when we went to Canada for my cousin’s wedding two years ago. Even there, the hotel we stayed in had a more modern design.

I am now in my room in New York City, overlooking Times Square. There is a parade happening, but it is about Mexican Culture. Right—it’s Cinco de Mayo. The Mexican Hat dance is playing. People are wearing Sombreros. I, myself, am Mexican-American.

I look out my window, thinking about my culture as a observe the parade from the fifteenth floor. I just turned fifteen a few months ago. I had huge quinceanera at a hotel in midtown. The banquet room had chandeliers, gold and red color scheme, and a lot of old-fashioned décor.

And yet, I disliked our hotel in Greece. Who am I to blame? Old-fashioned interior design will exist forever. I have to get used to it. It might be 2018, but still. How could I forget that my own party had been held in a room like that? And not only did the room have old-fashioned décor, but so did the entire hotel.

Friends and family from all over have come to watch me turn fifteen and celebrate it. My parents still have the balloons that spelled out my name, Angela. You know what? I should know better. Design may matter, depending on the building and who it targets to, but I need to accept all types of décor, whether it’s old fashioned or modern.

TV show

PowerPuff Girls Theory: Was Their US History Different from Ours?

Anyone who grew up in the 90’s or 00’s might have remembered a show on Cartoon Network called “The PowerPuff Girls”. I was especially a huge fan of that show in 2nd grade. But that’s another story.

Anyway, those who watched the show all know the premise. Professor Utunium mixed three ingredients (sugar, spice, and everything nice) and accidentally dropped chemical X, thus creating the PowerPuff girls, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. The girls fight crime and save Townsville.

When there’s trouble, the mayor contacts the PowerPuff girls through their special telephone. The girls fight the crime and throw the villains in jail. And… without a trial.

There was never a courthouse, judge, lawyers, defense attorneys, witnesses, or any of that in “The PowerPuff Girls”. Not once have villains such as Mojo-Jojo, Princess, Him, or anyone else been tried and found innocent or guilty. They’re just immediately thrown in jail by the PowerPuff girls.

Yes, it’s a cartoon. But because people get tried before getting locked up in real life, I wonder if their history differed from ours today.

I will not go into detail as I do not discuss politics on my blog. However, I still consider this quite interesting.

cooking

Chocolate Cupcakes: Delicious (Yet Dry) Without Dairy

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This picture was taken from the public domain image site, Pixabay. However, it does look similar to the dairy-free chocolate cupcakes I once made (but hadn’t photographed).

I substituted almond or coconut milk for dairy. I also used oil in place of butter. All other ingredients were the same (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, etc.).

While the cupcakes came out a bit dry, they still tasted good, especially with a dairy-free chocolate frosting. That icing called for coconut oil, dairy-free chocolate, sugar, and vanilla extract. It also tasted delicious, although it ended up being produced in large quantities. I probably should’ve reduced the recipe in half.

Nevertheless, it’s a recipe that I would love to use again. I made it because of lactose and dairy issues earlier this year. I’m mildly lactose intolerant, but can still handle dairy now.

You can still enjoy it, no matter what. To make the cupcakes more moist, try using more liquid, such as oil. Bake it at a lower temperature and check often. One trick I was taught was to set the timer for a few minutes and check. This can prevent overcooking, thus dry desserts, which not many people like. You may differ, however. No one is right or wrong with their dessert textures or preferences.

movie

Why I Prefer the Willy Wonka Remake (2005) More than the Original (1971)

Ever since Tim Burton’s adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” released in 2005, every single person had said that he or she liked the original movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” from 1971 better. Everybody favored the old one—except me. I liked the reboot better.

Now I do respect everyone’s opinions and have to deal with being (so far) the only one who liked the remake better. I love a lot of unpopular movies. So here are the aspects of the reboot that make me enjoy it better than the original.

 

1: Willa Wonka and his sense of humor

Many people would disagree. I didn’t mind Gene Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka. But when I saw how Johnny Depp played him, I admired his sense of humor, even if some of it crept certain people out.

2: The Oompa-Loompas’ songs

Unlike the first adaptation, the Oompa-Loompas sang different songs each time. I liked how each one differed, based on the child’s action, and I thought they sounded more exciting than the original movie’s “Oompa-Loompa Doo-bity Doo”.

3: Veruca was less spoiled—at least she seemed to be

In the 1971 film, she would shout, whine, and want pretty much everything she saw. In the 2005 movie, she seemed to control her emotions better. She seemed calmer, more positive, and overall, less spoiled. Of course, she wasn’t spoil-free. She did have some moments where she demands what she wants (like when she didn’t get the Golden Ticket in the beginning or when she wanted one of Mr. Wonka’s squirrels). Nevertheless, I liked the reboot’s Veruca better than the original’s version.

 

A word of wisdom: No matter how unpopular something is, if you love it, but feel lonely, there’s bound to be someone who enjoys it, too. You may never get to meet him or her. However, know that you’re never alone, regardless of how popular or unfavorable something is. Love how you enjoy it. Don’t worry about what others think of it or you. Accept who you are and what you like.

 

 

 

 

movie

Alohomora! Review for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

The first installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” film series began in 2016. It’s a spinoff and continuation of the “Harry Potter” universe, but is set 70 years before the “Harry Potter” series is set (1991-1998). The second movie will come out this November 2018. There will be five films.

Anyway, let me get to the review. The story focuses on a wizard named Newt Scamander, who traveled to New York City with a briefcase of magical creatures. He is on his way to Arizona. He meets two witches, Tina and her sister, Queenie. He also meets a no-maj (American term for “muggle”) named Jacob, who has a briefcase of pastries since he wants to open up a bakery. Newt’s nifflers get out of hand and create disasters around the city. Newt gets arrested, befriends Jacob, Tina, and Queenie, and helps a boy named Credence who has issues as an obscurus, which is when a wizard child becomes a cloud-like figure from suppressing his or her sorcery. Things get crazy.

As an American myself, I enjoyed learning about the American wizarding world. We learned about the government, different terms they use compared to British wizards (like no-maj from muggle), their magic school, Ilvermorny, and their history. The characters were amazing and real. Jacob was very likable, particularly.

I will admit that there are some flaws in this film. For example, it’s kind of hard to see how the little girl doing the “My mommy, your mommy…” thing is important, unless it’ll play an essential role later on. And although this is crucial to their world, I found the wizards wiping the no-majs’ memories with the rain to be sad. I especially felt sorry for Jacob as he seemed interested in Queenie and had to forget her.

The action and level on stakes kept me engaged, though. The moment when Newt took Jacob into his briefcase to discover the fantastic creatures was very magical.

I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to what the next “Fantastic Beasts” films have to offer.

TV show

I’ll Analyze, Cause “Phineas and Ferb” Is Gonna Do it All

Airing from 2007 to 2015, Disney Channel’s “Phineas and Ferb” has had a lot of fantastic moments. I discovered it when my brother used to watch it as a young child (he’s 18 now). I also enjoyed the show.

The cartoon focuses on two little boys, who are stepbrothers, and how they express their creativity and fun. They have an older sister named Candace. Candace is pretty aware of all the activities Phineas and Ferb do. Sometimes, Phineas and Ferb get their friends, Isabella and Baljeet, involved. Their platypus, Perry, also is an agent against his arch-enemy Dr. Doofenshmirtz. I loved when Dr. Doofenshmirtz shouts, “Curse you, Perry the Platypus!”

I enjoyed when Candace and Perry switched places and Candace had literally become a talking-platypus. The rollercoaster episode was also cool. Phineas, Ferb, and their friends rode a rollercoaster in the sky. Candace pointed it out, but the mom wouldn’t believe her.

Later on, there was an episode where Candace caught them and the mom’s reaction was quite realistic. She called the police and the boys were taken to an institution that forbid creativity and where they were trained to stop creating. It turned out to be Candace’s dream. I adored Phineas’s reaction of that. He came up with an invention idea to make people’s dreams into movies.

Another funny moment was when Phineas and Ferb searched for a mummy, and Candace had bandages all over. The boys thought she was the mummy.

And the moment I found to be the most humorous was when a robot man claiming he is a platypus’s predator received a bullhead. He became a minotaur in a suit. Oh my god… that was so clever and hilarious. It’s not everyday you see minotaurs or other mythological creatures in modern-day attire.

“Phineas and Ferb” had such an amazing concept and even theme song. I liked how the opening theme ended when Candace went, “Mom, Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence!” Ha ha—the usual annoyed older sister never gets boring. Neither do the main little boys, Phineas and Ferb.

 

 

cooking

Pasta and Pepper Vodka Sauce… Pretty Delicious?

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Once again, there is no tomato in this sauce due to my tomato allergy. It’s with bell peppers. Other times, this sauce tasted good. However, today, not so much.

I don’t know what it was. Perhaps, it was because I couldn’t find the heavy cream until after I used a little bit of whole milk and coconut milk. Maybe that was a mistake. Luckily the cream didn’t expire. Still. The texture was too creamy like heavy cream, not like vodka or alfredo sauce.

The pasta is brown rice pasta. No gluten, wheat, or anything else but water and brown rice. It’s actually pretty good–at least if you love brown rice. The pasta was no issue for me.

The taste ended up okay. I had to add more salt, but I may have ended up with too much. Perhaps, next time, I will follow a built-in recipe. I have been cooking for half my life and some dishes I can prepare easily without a recipe. But lately, for some reason, everything I cooked, not counting simple dishes like scrambled eggs, went wrong.

I used two peppers for this. I decided not to make too much, otherwise it sits around and no one consumes it after a while. Everyone else is my family can eat tomatoes. I used to be able to have tomatoes until last year, when I suddenly developed the allergy.

My word of advice: be careful experimenting with other ingredients if you can’t find something. Had I not possessed any heavy cream or had it expired, I would have just gone to the grocery store. If you are able to leave your home and either drive, walk, or use public transportation, it’s best to go to the supermarket and turn your stove or oven off.