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 for 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 visiting 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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

fiction

She Will Survive: A Flash Fiction Piece

Once, up on a mountain, Lucy had lost her sense of direction. She’d come across a lady—only to discover that she’d been a witch in disguise. She’d trapped Lucy inside her home and had made her forget the moments she’d struggled in the wilderness.

            But that had happened two years ago. It was December, and Lucy neared the end of her first semester at college. She sat in her dorm and studied for her finals.

            Her roommate, Claire, burst inside. Her face turned red and she sucked in her breathed.

            “Claire, are you all right?” asked Lucy.

            “My grandma got lost in the dessert.”

            Lucy lowered her jaw. “No way.”

            “I… I could lose her, just like I lost my father in a motorcycle accident,” said Claire. “Can you help me find her?”

            Lucy said nothing. Arizona had a lot of dessert. So Lucy and Claire could get lost.

            “Please, Lucy.”

            “Okay, yes.” Lucy stood up.

            The two walked out of the dorm and away from the campus.

            “Claire, do you know where your grandma is?” Lucy asked.

            “W-well… I suppose…” Claire paused. “Wait a minute, didn’t you get lost in the wilderness two years ago?”

            “Yes, but some witch wiped my memories and told me that she made me forget all that.”

            Claire bent her eyebrows and tilted her head. “We’re eighteen. You sound like you’re five saying that.”

            “Oh, shut up,” Lucy said. “I wouldn’t lie about that.”

            “Lucy, stop it! We don’t have a lot of time!”

            “But why do we have to find your grandma? Isn’t there a—”

            “I can help,” said a woman.

            Lucy and Claire stopped. The woman resembled the witch from two years ago. She had pale-blonde waves falling past her shoulders and wore dark lipstick.

            “You… you’re not that woman I met in the mountains, are you?” asked Lucy.

            “No,” the lady said.

            “You look a lot like her,” said Lucy.

            “Perhaps, I’m just a doppelgänger,” the woman said. “Anyway, my name is Miss. Christie.”

            Claire turned to Lucy and said, “Lucy, I don’t think we should trust her.”

            “I can help save your granny tonight,” Miss. Christie said.

            “Are you sure?” asked Claire.

            “Positive,” said Miss. Christie.

            Miss. Christie texted on her phone.

            “Lucy, we need to go.” Claire grabbed Lucy’s arm.

            Lucy turned to Miss. Christie. Miss. Christie held her palm up. Light glowed inside it. Lucy gasped. “Miss. Christie, you lied to us.”

            Miss. Christie glared at Lucy.

            “You’re not Miss. Christie. You’re Miss. Blackburn, the same person who wiped my memories.”

            “Lucy, how could you!” Miss. Blackburn held her hand up. “I wiped your memories once. I can do it again.”

            Lucy and Claire screamed.

            “Leave them alone!” an old woman grasped Miss. Blackburn’s shoulders and knocked her down.

            “Grandma?” Claire asked.

            “Take that, and that.” The elder lady hit Miss. Blackburn with her purse.

            A bunch of cops nearby grabbed Miss. Blackburn and arrested her.

            “Grandma.” Claire hugged the old lady. “I thought I’d never see you again. Are you okay?”

            “Of course, Claire. What made you think I was—”

            “I got a text saying that you were lost in the dessert.”

            “Oh no, I wasn’t.”

            The two let go of each other.

            “What are you doing here?” asked Claire.

            “I was going to visit you,” the grandma said.

            “Where’s mom?” Claire asked.

            “She’s coming,” the grandmother said.

            Lucy introduced herself to Claire’s grandma. The three went back to the campus.

movie

I Will Analyze… I Can Go the Distance with Disney’s “Hercules” (1997)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

Seeing “Hercules” in the movie theater is one of my very earliest (and very faint) memories. I was 3 years old at the time. Then I saw it in 4th grade, during an indoor recess. I watched it again more recently—in March of this year.

In Ancient Greece, the muses start with an opening song. Then it goes to Mount Olympus, where Zeus, Hera, and the other gods are adoring the infant, Hercules. Hades, the god of the underworld, has a plan to harm Hercules. His assistants, Pain and Panic, kidnap Baby Hercules from Mount Olympus and feed him a potion that makes him mortal. They stop when a couple finds Hercules. There is one remaining drop. And Hercules still has his strength. However, since he has become mortal, he cannot return to Mount Olympus. The human couple takes Hercules and raises him.

Years have gone by and Hercules is now a young man going with his adoptive parents to Athens. He accidentally destroys the architecture with his involuntary strength. Hercules feels that something about him is unusual. His adoptive parents reveal to him that he was found and they still have the metal he wore when they found him. The metal has the symbol of the gods. Hercules goes to the temple of Zeus. In order to return to Mount Olympus as a god, Hercules has to prove himself a true hero. He gets help from the faun, Phil, but also falls in love with a young woman named Megara (Meg). Hercules struggles but pushes himself.

I found Hercules’s struggles to make him very believable. The way he acted toward people was done well. The midpoint, where Hercules becomes super famous and popular was great, even if it didn’t satisfy the Zeus statue.

The humor was not slapstick, but used appropriately, such as when Pain and Panic had those sandals with Hercules on them. Hades got mad and Pain and Panic defended themselves with the excuse of the Hercules being a different entity than the one they knew. There were also a lot of 90’s references, such as Air Hercs (like Air-Jordans), Grecian Express, and more. I grew up in the 2000’s, but I still got the references.

The plot points were also done well, especially the deal Hercules made with Hades. It went back and forth. Hercules lost his strength, gained it back, and acknowledged the deal again.

With Meg, I felt her role was only there for romantic element convenience, because hey— shouldn’t Disney movies with protagonists in their teens or over have romance. Not necessarily! I don’t know about the 90’s, but if you’ve seen 2016’s “Moana” or 2012’s “Brave”, neither main characters fell in love. And they were females.

Anyway, back to this film. Although Meg was just okay, I did appreciate how Hercules gave up his return to Mount Olympus at the end to rejoin Meg. I thought that was so sweet. This is one of those movies where the main character does not achieve his or her goal. Yet, the ending is still satisfying. Which leaves me wondering… what if Hercules never met Meg? Hmmm…

Anyhow, the movie is still a 5-star film for me. It isn’t one of the top Disney classics for me. But I still really enjoyed it.

 

travel

Atlantis, Bahamas, Ooh I Want to Show You (2010 Trip)

During my President’s Week break in my junior year of high school, I went to Atlantis in the Bahamas. It was one of the few trips I suggested myself. My parents didn’t enjoy it too much. However, I loved it a lot.

Atlantis falls

The resort consists of several buildings of accommodations and it resembles the damage of the lost city of Atlantis legend. There is also a tunnel with a tank of fish as well as other marine animals in other parts of the resort, such as turtles and sharks.

Atlantis shark

There are also several swimming pools, restaurants, and shops. But one of the crown jewels is the waterpark. There are two slides that take through a tube where you’re surrounded by the sharks. But you’re inside glass, so the sharks can’t hurt you. The rapid river was fun, although I flipped and got a little cut. But I was okay.

There is a dolphin and sea lion encounter program where you get to touch the creatures, which my family and I didn’t participate in. We did swim with dolphins somewhere else, though. That was Blue Lagoon Island. I read and compared the reviews of the Atlantis one and the Blue Lagoon Island one. The latter had received better reviews. It cost less and had more to offer.

The resort is so big that you can’t really do everything in one day. It’s also costly. However, I had a good time. I would gladly recommend this resort to anyone, whether you’re a childless couple, family, group, etc.

 

travel

Ice… Ice… Iceland – My Trip There in 2017

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Image above from Pixabay

In the summer of 2017, my parents and I took a trip to Iceland. We stayed at nine different hotels during the ten days we visited.

Iceland has caves, waterfalls, hot springs, and lava fields. The bulk of their population is on the coast and especially in their capital, Reykjavik (rake-yah-vik). The inland is pretty much uninhabited.

The population is so small that there is only one prison in the entire country (which I did not see, by the way). The weather drastically varies, even within just 20 minutes on the mainland and not up a mountain. It can be mild in one area and chilly in another, just minutes away.

Iceland specializes in lamb and seafood. They have good lamb soup and stricter food guidelines than in the US. I had a jelly doughnut where the jam tasted really fresh. It was strange, but delicious. I had a chocolate cake where the icing was clearly made with real butter and even tasted buttery.

On the fields, there are sheep, cattle, and small Icelandic horses. In fact, those horses are the only types allowed in Iceland for temperature reasons.

If you go to Iceland in the summer, be aware that the sun is out for about 24 hours. So you should have a sleep mask with you.

Iceland was an interesting place to visit. In the winter, I hear it’s brutal, and the northern lights aren’t guaranteed. In the summer, it’s a nice place to hike and sight-see.