Friday, February 17, 2017

10 Favourite Musicals Link-Up!


Christine Eyre over at Overflowing Mind and Pen is doing a Favorite Musicals Link Up on her blog, and invited me to join. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. It's a musical Link Up! I can't say no to that.

Anyone can participate in this. It runs until February 28th. The Rules can be found on Christine's blog, HERE.

She had a cool little Button, but for some reason it won't show up on my blog. 8-(

Here are my top ten favorite Musicals:

1.) The Phantom of the Opera
2.) A Tale of Two Cities
3.) Ghost
4.) The Secret Garden
5.) Finding Neverland
6.) Jekyll and Hyde
7.) Newsies
8.) Jane Eyre
9.) Les Miserables
10.) Mary Poppins

 You can post about as many or as few as you'd like to per day.  Which is awesome! By this point I'm sure all of you know exactly why I love TPOTO and ATOTC so much. I've posted about both of them enough times to relay how I feel about these beautiful musicals.  So today I'm going to post about TPOTO and Ghost. If you want you can skip my thoughts on Phantom and jump down to Ghost. It made make it more fun for you.

Reasons I like The Phantom of the Opera.

This is easy. I grew up on The Phantom of the Opera. I don't remember when it wasn't a part of my life. I think by  the time I was four years old I was already familiar with the music, and by the time I was eight I was singing along with most of the main songs. It was a big part of my life. The musical that played when a big sister did my hair in the morning. The songs that blared out in the car when we drove down to Barnes and Nobles. The songs we sang together when we did dishes or chores. Yeah. It was everywhere, and I got attached to it fast. The older I got the more I loved the music, the composition, and the characters. It was obviously worth the fame it had.

He welcomes you to his Opera House, and requests that you continue to keep Box 5 empty for his use.

The Phantom of The Opera is still my favorite musical. In the past few years I've become even more in love with it. One of my favourite elements of Phantom is the love story between Christine and Raoul. There are plenty of arguments made against this beautiful pairing, some being that Christine should be with the Phantom, (ew) others being that Raoul didn't deserve her, or vise versa (what?) and some being that they barely knew each other so they couldn't be in love.

That last point is silly. Yes, when the musical first opens Christine hasn't seen Raoul in years. They were best friends in childhood but it's been a long time since either of them have spent time together. There's obviously still a spark between them right off the bat, but it would be a bad call to say they still knew each other after so much time had passed.



HOWEVER. Between the time that Raoul proposes to Christine at the end of Act One, and the Phantom taking control of the opera house and presenting an opera in Act Two, six months pass. The two characters have plenty of time to date, to catch up, to learn each other all over again. And it's pretty obvious at the beginning of Act Two that they are happily engaged and very in love. So, the argument that they don't know each other is invalid. I'm just saying. Throughout Act Two they are together as often as possible and fiercely protective of one another. Especially Raoul. He's like, You hurt Christine, I'll smash your face. It's precious how much they care for each other.




Anywhere you go let me go to.


Of course the other brilliant element of this story is the Phantom himself. His character is beautifully written, layered, and tragic. He's creepy and insane, he doesn't seem to grasp right from wrong, and he is obsessive with what he wants. Yet there is a sadness in him that is hard not to empathize with. He had a rotten life. He was driven to insanity because of his deformity, because the world hated him, because he was a genius with absolutely no outlet. That's sad. He's sad. your heart bleeds for the poor fellow. It doesn't excuse how disturbing and cruel he can be, but it does add some depth and tragedy to his character. That's one of the reason I don't like it when an actor plays the Phantom too angry or harsh. There needs to be that underlying element of tragedy or the ending isn't as powerful. You need to see his vulnerability early on. I really love how Michael Crawford breathed that trait into his performance. Dave Willets also did an excellent drop balancing the insanity and cruelty with vulnerability, and from the bits I've seen of him John Cudia did a good job with it too. I like the Phantom to be creepy, crazy, and obviously the villain, but also have that gentle unexpected side that can love. That side is his redemption and it needs to be seen throughout the story.

The Phantom of the Opera is such a unique story, full of love, sacrifice, and redemption. It's timeless, it's interesting, it's full of gorgeous music that brings you right back to the Opera House in 1881. The vocals are incredible, the characters are well written, and the whole story is worth listening to.

Ghost.

Ghost is a new musical that I've only recently discovered. The music is a lot more modern than I usually like in a musical, but Ghost pulls it off. I listened to the OBC in September and fell in love with the story on the spot.

*Spoiler* I'd never seen the movie Ghost and I didn't know anything about it either, so I had no idea what to expect. I was upset and horrified when Sam was killed. I cried right along with Molly when she lost him. I was just as shocked as Sam when I found out who betrayed him. I was so freaking into this story! It was the first musical I'd found in a while that actually made me cry. *End spoiler*

If there's anything more I can do, I'll do it and find my way back to you.


I don't know how closely the musical followed the movie, but the story was rock solid, emotional, and stirring. The characters were great, well-written, and strong. As usual I liked the Original Cast best. The newer casts are a bit much for my taste. The original's balanced power with a soft undertone and that is really important in a musical like this. Caissie Levy did an excellent job in the role of Molly Jensen. She embraced the loud and vibrant music without becoming too brassy or obnoxious. She would belt in moments of intense anger or regret where it was obviously meant to be so, but she always brought her voice back to a gentler, softer tone. She never went over-board with her belting or her vocal power, and she balanced the anger with deep sadness and pain so that it never overwhelmed the character. I loved her portrayal of Molly. Richard Fleeshman did just as well in the role of Sam, bringing power and the modern sound to his role, but keeping a more vulnerable tone whenever possible. He got loud and sharp but he never stayed that way for long. That's why I like the Original Cast best. I don't usually like musical with modern music because it's too loud, brassy, and annoying. The vocalists sound like they're trying to out-belt each other, the tones are overwhelming and heavy... it's just too much noise and not enough technique or beauty. The Original Cast of Ghost were very aware of their power and made sure not to overdo it. They made the volume and capacity work. The newer casts aren't always so careful. Most Mollys' sound like they were Elphaba in their first life. I think a lot of them were. 8-P It's like Girl. Stop yelling.

But yeah, this musical is really emotional, beautiful, and powerful. I would definitely recommend it. I believe there is a scene near the beginning between Sam and Molly, but besides that it's pretty clean too. It's an excellent story with incredible lyrics and solid music. It's wonderful.


Oh, my love, my darling, I've hungered for your touch.


Here ends my first official day of the Musical Link-Up. 8-) This was fun! Hope to see you all again soon!




*Swings around cape and leaps off stage*





Bella


Thursday, February 2, 2017

I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so bad.



fmab

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you're just kind of sad? Like, you're not depressed or anything, and maybe you don't even know why you're sad, but you are and you feel all melancholy and blue, and you want to curl up and look at the wall forever?

Yeah, I've had those weeks too.

A sad week is no fun. A sad day is no fun. It's never fun to have any sort of sad time. And I know sometimes it's easier to be blue and gloomy than to be happy. It's okay to have alone days where you hide, watch Netflix (or read) and eat chocolate. It's completely acceptable to have hermit days. It's healthy even. However, I thought I'd give a list of the top ten things that make me feel better when I've had a bad day, a bad week, or a rotten few months. For anyone going through a rough patch, or just having a tough time of it. 8-D

1.) Color

Adults Coloring books are an excellent form of therapy and relaxation. Even if you can't get the actually coloring books, getting a piece of paper and drawing huge flowers/and or shapes and coloring them in is very soothing. I color a lot. Usually I'll listen to a special playlist while I do, with a bunch of my favorite songs in it, and some relaxing, pretty instrumentals to help me calm down.

2.) Listen to Music

Music works for me every time. No matter what is happening, it always cheers me up. Whether you're cleaning, studying, or taking a break and resting at home, music is a great way to lighten to mood and ease stress. For sad days I usually listen to pretty music, like Mumford and Sons, Josh Groban, Il Volo, my favorite musicals, or I just look up, "Pretty, calming music" and play instrument for a while. I'll also listen to more up beat songs, like How you get the girl by Taylor Swift, or Have Mercy on Me, by Shawn Mendes. Or It's Always a Good Time by Owl City. Whatever it is, listen to something you love. It helps your mind to relax when it listens to something it doesn't really have to focus on.

3.) Watch your favourite movie or an episode of your favourite TV Show. Preferable a movie or episode you know really well. 

My go-to shows for sad days are Doctor who (preferably and episode from the first five seasons) Psych, Hunter X Hunter, My Little Pony and sometimes Leverage.  Watch a show that provides you with comfort and will ultimately make you feel better; even if it makes you cry. Sometimes crying over fictional stuff can help you deal with real problems.

4.) Take a walk.

The world is a beautiful place. Take a walk in the forest, wade through streams, smell dirt and grass. If you live in a City with tons of buildings and hardly any trees or rivers, I would recommend going to a public park and just hanging on in the grass and walking around, listening to the wind. It helps to be outdoors. When you see the trees and how much they've survived, or feel grass in your toes, or see the light making patterns in the leaves, or see the giant sky above you and how infinite it is, it helps you clear your mind. A wonderful God made all these things and somehow they are doing okay. Maybe your problems really aren't so overwhelming after-all.

5.) Step outside at night. Stare at the moon, the stars.

This goes hand in hand with taking a walk. Stepping outside to witness the beauty of our world can really help stabilize your mood. There's few things as lovely as looking up and seeing thousands of tiny lights shining down on you. You go inside feeling better and more at peace.

6.) Wrap up in a warm blanket, have tea or coffee, or your favorite drink. Maybe read a book. Relax.

Warm blankets and a good drink make everything a little easier. If it happens to be the middle of summer and it's too warm for a blanket, find a patch of sunlight to curl up in, or a stuffed animal to cuddle. Trust me. It helps.

7.) Pray hard.

God is awesome. He knows your struggling and He will always be there for you, no matter the time, the place, or the circumstances. Go to Him. He won't let you down.

8.) Spend time with your best friend or family member.

Time spent in good company usually means good memories, and a good day. A best friend, or close family member can also help you relax and feel better about life. They are also there for you if you need to talk. Don't be afraid to visit.

9.) Write a list of everything you're grateful for. Only positive thoughts. 8-)

This is something that can be hard to do, especially if you are emotionally drained, but make a list of things you are happy or grateful for, and things you enjoy. That way you can go back and read the list whenever you are feeling down, and add to it as needed.

10.) Go out and do something nice for yourself.

Buy an ice-cream cone and walk by the lake. Go to the library for hours. Find a bakery and buy yourself breakfast. Sit at the booth and drink coffee and take in the moment. Lay out in your back yard, close your eyes, and rest. Suck a lollipop on your deck. Buy a new outfit. Climb a tree and feel the wind rock you. Do something nice for yourself. There is no crime or sin in seeking the simple pleasures of life. In Christ experienced simple pleasures. He was, after all, human. And God built our world so we could enjoy it. It would be rude of us not to take advantage of this.

I hope this was helpful to all y'all! I'm sorry it took me so long to get it up. I got really sick last week. A terrible fever, which resulted in a flu. 8-( It sucked.

 
*swings around cape and leaps off stage*




 
Bella

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Giver: The Importance of Life


I first watched The Giver back in August.  I was all alone in bed at 12:30, and I was an emotional mess because that movie rang with so much truth.

I watched it again on my Birthday, January 12th, and the whole message about the importance of life and the raw beauty of it touched me just as deeply the second time. With the March for Life taking place this month, I decided to do a post on the Giver and how it shows us that all life, not matter how big or how small, how flawless or how damaged, is important and valuable. All life is precious.

For those of you that don't know, The Giver is a dystopian story about a society that has rebuilt itself after some global catastrophe. They've built a world of happiness and contentment where everyone is equal. There is no war or suffering, no hate, no anger. In fact this world seems downright perfect.

However, as the story goes on the perfection of this painless world is called into question. In this society, each man and woman is placed into a specific line of work after graduation which they will pursue until they retire to Elsewhere. The main Character, Jonas, is placed into a critical position: He is the receiver of memory. Even in a world where emotions are held in check and the history of our world is no longer passed down, the 'Elders' (AKA Governors) sometimes need to consult past mistakes to better plan for future laws, decisions, and problems. This means that there has to be someone who does remember the past, who does know what the world was like before everything changed. This person is The Giver. From the time our New World began there has been a Giver, one person in the hundreds who knows the truth of our past and heeds it. The Elders need this Giver, but is a delicate job as the memories and knowledge cannot be shared with anyone else for fear of causing a rebellion. People would get curious about the past, about their feelings, and eventually they'd want that back. The Giver holds the memories for the Elders, and passes them to the Receiver when his time is over - in this instance, Jonas.

But Jonas is not your average Receiver and as he learns about the past, about the emotions humans you to have, and the beautiful diversity of our lives, he realizes that a perfect society is not worth what we had to sacrifice for it.


What I loved most about this movie was the amazing Pro-Life message. Not just with children either, though I will get to that in this post. The whole movie was a message about why life is worth living, even if there is pain and strife and horror. Everyone deserves to experience the wonder of life. Whether they be young or old, weak or strong, deformed or beautiful, crippled or fit, slow or excelling, handicapped or ingenious - everyone deserves to live, and life isn't something you should take from anyone.  It had a beautiful message about how sadness and cruelty is worth the experience of joy and goodness. Knowing love is worth Enduring the hate that is bound to follow.  Happiness is worth the suffering. Where there is good there will always be bad, but that doesn't make the good any less wonderful or brilliant.

This is a very applicable message and story for us today. In our society, life is treated badly. The elderly aren't cared for properly. Children are carefully scheduled into a couple's happy marriage so that they don't have too many and aren't inconvenienced - that is, if they have any at all. Often babies are killed before they see life outside the womb. The Giver brought each of these problems to light, and many more.



In The Giver's world, individuality is gone. No one is allowed to be different from anyone else. There is no "she's smarter than me," or, "He's better at that than I am." No one is higher or lower than anyone else. Everyone is the same. Everyone has the same comforts, the same rules, the same teachings. Nothing is ever surprising, or hurtful. There are no fights. No passions. No private dreams or goals that might conflict with another's. Everyone has their path chosen and assigned to them from the government. There is no freedom of choice. You do what you're told, you obey the rules, and everyone is happy.

Our Society isn't as bad as The Giver's - at least not yet. But I can't help seeing some frightening parallels. For starters, "Precision of language." How many of us are really allowed to say what we want without some bad repercussions? You must be very careful to never hurt anyone's feelings by saying something too deep or too honest. In a way we do have to monitor our words.  Just think of how hard it is to say "God" or "Jesus Christ," in public. Or how about, "I believe in marriage between a man and a woman," or "I don't agree with this person(s) opinion, because my belief is such-and-such," or, "I think men are better at such-and-such a thing than women are."  And we do have to apologize for saying or doing anything even remotely hurtful or irritating to someone else. Heaven forbid you make somebody feel bad or *gasp* maybe think a little; about who they are, about what they do.

How about emotions? How often can we really express our interest/beliefs/feelings? Everything is very surface. We carefully walk on eggshells around our fellow humans to keep from upsetting anyone, or causing a problem. Society is teaching children some very strange things about feelings. Don't get angry if someone disagrees with you - that's there opinion. If someone is bothering you, maybe try to confront them with words and if that doesn't work, just walk away. If you're feelings are hurt, talk about it. You have a right to feel hurt. Experience it, express it. Have a hug. Go off alone and sit until you feel better.  It's all about you feeling like you are comfortable enough to go on. Face your feelings and figure out a way to get back to a calm balance. Does anyone else see a disturbing connection here? Let your feelings out and then forget about them. Don't dwell on feelings because then you can't be in a comfortable place.

Uhm. Life doesn't work that way. You are going to get hurt. You are going to grieve. You are going to be heartbroken. And that pain will last, sometimes a really long time. That is part of life and that is part of your development as a person. If you never have to struggle or fight, or face some hurt, you will never learn how strong, brave or resilient you are. And that's sad! Children don't need to be coddled, to identify their feelings, talk them over, and quickly drop them because really, It's Okay. Children need to understand that feelings grow out of emotions, and emotions are a good thing. Should you be in control of them? Absolutely; they're dangerous. But they are also necessary if you want to be a person of any character and depth at all.

Feelings are fleeting. They’re on the surface. But emotions, are deeper. They linger. - The Giver


Feelings are petty and altogether too much importance is placed on them. A feeling doesn't last long. You need to know that having your feelings hurt happens and to tough it up. How are you going anyone in life if you are so fragile that someone saying, No, you're wrong, or the like, is going to shatter your tiny comfort globe? That is a silly way to live. In the long run, feelings are fleeting and don't last long, they are just a natural instinct which stem from something much stronger. Emotions. However, emotions are almost disregarded, and beliefs and passions are looked upon with a most tolerant, almost mocking view.



This is what I loved about the Giver. How it looked at the facts of our world and brought them to light in all their honest fact. The pressure for children to behave just so. The pressure for adults to raise their children just so. The old being relatively useless. The young carefully modeled into perfect citizens. The rebels found and quickly silenced. Beliefs being okay so long as they aren't voiced too loudly or for too long; keep your opinions to yourself, thank you, and don't violate anyone else. It's an idea world where no one is allowed to quarrel or disagree. But that also means no one is allowed to form deep, emotional ideas, or have deep, emotional relationships because that's way too dangerous. Don't share unique ideas! That leads to conflict which leads to pain! Don't hold hands! Holding hands leads to caring, caring leads to hurt, hurt leads to anger, anger leads to violence... on and on.



The Community in The Giver acts as though it cares about each individual but really it only cares about the whole. The Community acts as though it cares about your ideas, thoughts or concerns, but really it doesn't. Your own feelings don't matter, you must believe and follow the ideals of the Community. They act as though they want everyone to be happy and live in comfort, but they force that false happiness and comfort upon you, so you have no choice but to live in blissful carelessness. The Community acts as though life has value, but they don't practice that. They kill off anyone too weak or inconvenient - Oh, excuse me. They send them to Elsewhere. *squints* Nothing must be violent or appalling, so even death is given a new name and painted as some type of reward, a peaceful retirement. No one mentions the ending of a life. That is too brutal. We simply no longer need this individual so we will quietly dispose of them. Sound familiar?



The Community can choose to get rid of whomever they want, whenever they want to. The old, the young, the innocent, the infants. There is absolutely no regard for the individuals life. Once there usefulness is over it is time to be rid of them. I liked how this movie showed that losing emotions and morality meant losing our respect for life. It rang with so much truth - especially when you think about the Pro-Choice activists in society today. Actually, one of my favorite things about this movie was the situation with the babies. How those infants the Community deemed "worthy" or "strong enough" got a chance at life, but those too weak or problematic got scratched off the list. It was painted as a Choice, a necessary action with no need for regret, but it wasn't necessary and it was horrible. Any baby they weren't sure they should keep was placed in "Uncertains," and if they decided that baby just didn't have the capacity to be in this world, injection, the baby was gone. Just like that. No tears, no mess. Just a dead baby, a box, and a trash can.

"That's death.[ ]He doesn't know what he's doing...? He killed him!" -Jonas.

It was all so familiar. It's what happens today, all over the world. Unwanted babies are treated like trash to be thrown out. Infants are murdered fresh from the womb. They're not even given a chance. There is a lot of talk about how life in the womb isn't life, but then why does "it" have a heartbeat? Why does "it" grow? Why does "It" suck his thumb? Roll over? Have brainwaves? At what point does this "it" decide to become a baby? Is a seed, planted and taking root, not alive because the flower hasn't grown up from it yet? Of course not! The seed will grow into a tree. The Infant will grow into an adult - if he is only given the time to do so. It is evil to destroy him before he even has the chance to break soil.

Jonas recognized the evil. He knew that the world no longer understood death, but he had the memories, he had the passions, the faith, the emotions. He did understand. And he was angry and hurt and confused. The baby was alive and then he was dead. For no reason! Didn't he matter? Didn't they care? I found myself relating to Jonas on a spiritual level. LIFE MATTERS. No matter what life it is, no matter how old, how young, how useful, how necessary, each life matters. Every life has the potential to be everything and anything in this messy world of ours. I loved that Jonas realized that and took control. He realized the last Receiver had been killed for not being able to complete her duties, that retirees were killed because they were no longer useful, that anyone deemed unworthy was sent to Elsewhere: AKA, murdered. But he only learned these truths when he saw the helpless, innocent baby killed without hesitation. That was when he realized what the Community really did. That was when he decided it was time for things to change. No amount of balanced comfort was worth the cold indifference mankind had acquired toward the value of life.

Once Jonas understood this, he understood two other things as well. He needed to bring back the memories, the right and the wrong, and he needed to save the baby, Gabriel, who was next in line for the injection. A baby his father had brought home from the hospital only a few days before in an attempt to make him strong enough to be able to 'live.' A baby who was now back at the hospital, awaiting death.



"He's my family."

I'm going to say right now, Jonas running in and saving an innocent infant from slaughter was without a doubt the best part of the movie. He broke all the rules, got himself marked as a criminal and hunted like an animal, all to save a baby. And when he took that life in his arms he ran. He ran to save life once and for all. He ran to save the value of life, to save the meaning of life. He ran to bring back the beauty of life, the wonder, the pain, the joy. He ran to save all life that the child in his arms represented. The lives of his friends, his family. The lives of the old and the young, the unique, the damaged, the different. The baby in his arms represented every life that had been lost because of empty cares and false comfort. That baby was the future. He was warm. He was beautiful. And he was alive. Not too weak. Not too problematic. Alive, breathing, and capable of so much more.

And in this way, a baby saved the world from an empty, cruel existence. It was the baby that gave Jonas the strength and courage to change the horror. To fix the emptiness. To bring back love. A baby brought back beauty and joy. A condemned baby, who should have been dead. A baby Society marked as inconvinient and uneeded. A baby that touched the Receivers heart and gave him the strength to go on when he was scared, cold and alone. It was the baby

Gabriel saved the world! He was a baby! And yet he saved the world!

It really makes you think, doesn't it?


"Gabe, there could be love."
- Jonas, The Giver



I will just leave this here; life matters. Even if you suffer, even if there is pain, every life is worth and every person deserves a chance at that life.



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*


Bella

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Blow Out the Candles: Make a Wish!



Yesterday was my birthday! Hey ho. Another Year older, another year newer.

God is so good. I said a prayer that I wouldn't have to work on my birthday, and you know what? I didn't have to work! The counts at the Daycare were down and they didn't need me. WOOT WOOT! You know what that means? It means I spent my morning listening to music, writing and generally enjoying myself. I also watched the Concert Edition of A Tale of Two Cities, because why the heck not? It's my freaking Birthday!

I don't know what anime this is from, but it was funny.

I had a lovely chicken meal for dinner, and my whole family came up over afterward with presents and a cake. I got lots of lovely tea, a sweater, a necklace, and a handy-dandy box to keep my things in so they aren't always scattered everywhere. I even got The Magnificent Seven! I almost watched that as my birthday movie but since there were people over that wouldn't have liked it so much, I watched The Giver instead. My three little sisters stayed the night, and I was up late just having fun.

All in all it was a good birthday, the best one I've had in a while.

Here is hoping that Nineteen will be a  new, fabulous year, better than the last have been. Here's hoping for lots of good memories, good days, good friends, and exciting new challenges and dreams. Here's hoping I'm a better blogger too! Here's Hoping!!!

TO MY NEW YEAR!



*Swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella

Saturday, January 7, 2017

So. 2017. *crazed laughter*


As all of you know, I am not a good blogger. I have good intentions but I really don't blog half so much as I ought to. Back in the Summer, I gave my blog a face lift and talked a little bit about being a dreamer and how I was going to make this blog a "safe place" for people like that. Then I promptly crashed, losing any sort of inspiration. Now that the New Year is hear, I am going to try and remember this mission. Part of the problem was that I really didn't know how to approach my new blog idea. However, I think I have an idea now, of what I'd like to do here.

I want to start posting once a week for starters. *More Crazed Laughter* I want to try and post something positive, optimistic, or fanciful about my week. I'd like to start talking a little more seriously about stories, writing, poetry, and the overall stunning glory of God's world, which is so easy to miss out on now-days. I want to post about beautiful things. With this mission in mind, my blog should be much more themed this year. Here's hoping!!!!!!!

As a Kick-Off for the New Year I am going to do the New Year's Tag.

1.) What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Erm. I went to Frontsight, I got a job. I started writing a musical. Oh! And I visited the ocean with my friend Jack and my younger sisters! 8-D

2.) Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make one this year?

I don't properly remember my New Year's resolutions. I don't think I had any for 2016. But I do have tentative resolutions for 2017. Mainly to focus on my writing and take some freaking music theory. (MAYBE ACT???)

3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?

Oh yes! My sister did! His name is Dominic. He's adorable.

4.) Did anyone close to you die?

No, Thank God.

5.) What countries/states did you visit?

I only went to Nevada. That was it and it's not that big of an achievement, seeing as I live fairly close to that state. Probably the biggest thing I did travelling-wise was going to the Ocean. That crap was beautiful, and it was tons of fun. Behold God's untempered magnificence!

6.) What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Moooooooooney! Lol. I guess I'd like an actual house to live in, not a flat. A cute little two-room cabin would be nice.

7.) What day in 2016 will remain forever etched in your memory?

November 7th. The last and best day I had at Frontsight. I hope I will never forget it.

8.) Did you move anywhere?

Well, I was briefly in Nevada but then I came back home and am now living with two of my sisters. Otherwise, no.

9.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I'd love to say 'I got my license!' but alas, that isn't true. So.... I placed into the third round in the contest at Frontsight. And I can actually shoot now, even though I need to practice on speed.

10.) What was your biggest failure?

Failing my driving test. Twice. Curse you parallel parking! I knew I could do it but my nerves were less sure. *blows smoke from ears.*

I was not this kid.


11.) Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nah. I'm all good.

12.) What was the best thing you bought?

I bought my very own copy of the Fullmetal Alchemist; Brotherhood series. Complete with OVA episodes.

13.) Whose behaviour Merited celebration?

My Mom is the ultimate superwoman. Honourable mentions would be Gavin from the library, my sister Mahri, and my brother.


14.) Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

A person whom I will not say the name of. Such a person made me very appalled and depressed. And angry too. *scowls at said person.*

15.) Where did most of your money go?

Toward books, Anime and Manga, and Reeses.. And I bought gifts for everyone at Christmas, which was very fun, by the way.

16.) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

FRONTSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! And of course, my visit to the ocean. I am so grateful that Jack let me come with her to that. Oh! And my brother's wedding, way back at the start of the year!

17.) What was the best concert you've been to this year?

I saw no concert. I did however, see a bootleg of Les Miserables and it was magnificent.



18.) What song/album will always remind you of 2016?

My 2016 song is probably Battle Scars by Paradise Fears. The album would be.... hmmm. Bring Me Giants, by James Barbour.

19.) Compared to this time last year are you:

Determined. Determined to live my life as best and as hopefully as I can, and to make the most of what is given to me. God's got this. I'm determined to be a good, if anxious soldier under His banner.

20.) What do you wish you'd done more of? 

I didn't do any acting at all last year. I'm homesick for the Theatre. I wish I'd done more writing too.

21.) What do you wish you'd done less of? 

I wish I had done less of nothing. I was stuck without a car or anywhere to go within walking distance for most of this year, which meant I did almost none of the things I wanted to do. Like act and Dance

22.) What's your greatest Musical discovery?

Bring Me Giants (James Barbour) Ghost the musical, and as much as I hate the plot and premise, I liked a lot of the songs and music from Bridges of Madison County*. Kelli O'hara has an amazing voice, and that whole album inspires me to write music of my own. It showed me how much music can inflict mood on a scene; from contemplating and hopeful, to excited and bedazzled.

*I don't recommend this musical for a number of reasons, number one being that its about an affair. I only listen to a few select songs from it.

23.) How did you spend your Christmas?

Rather like the others, I spent Christmas at Homebase with my family, good food, and some very great friends. My brother and sister-in-law also came up with their kids, which was wonderful.

24.) How did you/are you spending New Years?

This was a nice New Year. Usually I slog through until midnight, say a small "Happy New Year," and vanish to my room. This year, my family (+friends) completed a Three-Day Lord of the Rings Marathon on New Year's Eve. We were invited to Sammi B's house for the last movie and finished the RoTK just a few minutes before midnight. After an epic count down to midnight, we toasted in the New Year with poppers and horns, and the sound of bagpipes flooding from outside, as they always do.  We kicked 2016 into the past with much ghusto, called out HAPPY NEW YEAR! And went home. We're such party animals it's ridiculous. Our New Year's are pretty freaking lay-back.

I honestly thing there are few better ways to start the New Year than with an LOTR marathon. It stirs up your soul in a big way. Let this be the hour when we draw swords together! Fell deeds awake; Now for wrath! Now for ruin! And the red dawn! ..... RIDE NOW!

25.) Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerm. My sister Tiny and... Jack?

26.) What was the best book you read?

My favourite book of this year was probably The Penderwicks in Spring by Jean Birdsall. Yes, it was a painful book and yes, I cried a lot in it, but it helped me with some of my own struggles. I found a kindred spirit in Batty. She is dear. It also got me back into my clarinet and made me feel like maybe I could write music, so there is that.

Honourable mentions include; Castle in the Air: Diana Wynne Jones, Screaming Staircase; Bartimeus:  Jonathan Stroud. Heist Society: Ally Carter. Pandora Hearts (10): Jun Mochizuki.* Noragami (11-14): Adachitoka**

*Yes, it's a manga.

** Yes, another manga. Don't judge me.

27.) Did you fall in love in 2016?

What? No way! *thrashing anime noises*

No love life for this girl, yet. This is probably good. I don't think I'm ready for that.

28.) What was your favourite TV show?

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.



Honourable mentions include: Hunter x Hunter, Hawaii 5-0, Pandora Hearts, and Lethal Weapon.

29.) Do you have anyone you hate now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Not really. There are some people are strongly dislike. Some that have annoyed me or caused me distress.

For example, I strongly dislike a certain party of people more than normal. #NewAgePharisees



30.) What did you want and get?

I wanted Musical Notation notebooks and by golly, I got them!

31.) What did you want and not get?

Ghost; the musical.

32.) What were your favourite films of this year?

Doctor Strange and The Magnificent Seven.


Mister... - It's Doctor. - Mister Doctor? - It's Strange.

33.) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

Here is the thing. My birthday is in January, so sweet 18-year-old me has been around all year. That's a long time folks. What I'll do is briefly recall my last birthday and tell you the plan for my next one.

Well, I was sick with Broncitas for my 18th birthday. *

I work this birthday, but I plan to have a few of my siblings and Jack over for dinner. I think I'll watch either The Giver or .... Something epic. I am on a Lord of the Rings high, so I'll need to watch something emotional and grand. Maybe one of the Marvel movies, or Gladiator.  Or The Eagle.




34.) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

I was basically Vanellope from Wreck it, Ralph!


I'm adorable!


35.) What kept you sane? 

Prayer. Anime. The library. My sister Tiny.

36.) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I actually didn't have a celebrity figure that I especially fancied this year. I like Chris Pratt and Il Volo, but that's old news. So, no public figure has made much of an impression on me since 2015.

37.) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Passing my driving test would have made my year much better. *headdesk*

38.) What political issue stirred you the most?

The freaking Elections man. Oh my gosh. I was in Pahrump learning about guns all day; then I went home that night and worried (and prayed) about our next presidential candidate.

39.) Who did you miss?

Sammi Bender </3. Also, my adorable little nieces.

40.) Who was the best new person you met?

I don't really meet people. I guess Gavin has only been around a year, so I'll count him. He's dear.

41.) Tell  us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.



-Noragami

Life is full of suffering and pain, but it is also full of joy and happiness. Everyone has their own crosses, their own burdens and trials that they must undergo, whether for the betterment of themselves, or the betterment of many, or both. I've known this for a while but it really hit me this year. Life is a walk in shadow, but that doesn't mean there isn't any light. And despite all the hardships life is actually worth living. To see a sunset, to feel wild wind, to witness the glory of a waterfall, to have good company and good meals, to enjoy stories and laughter, to experience love and friendship; all of these are good reasons to endure the bad days. The bad weeks. Even the bad years. And no matter how bad things get, one day all the suffering will end. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. Then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise. 

42.) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning, that's when I could finally breathe... And by morning gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean. - (Clean, Taylor Swift.)

Also, this incredibly relateable verse: On and on, like we're living on a broken record, hope is strong, but misery's a little quicker. Sit, and we wait, and we drown there, thinking, 'Why bother playing when it's unfair?' They say life's a waste, I say they lack belief. They tell me luck will travel, I tell 'em that's why I've got feet. Left, right, left, right,  moving along to the pulse of a heartbeat [....] Don't stop. March on. (Battle Scars, Paradise Fears.)


43.) Fiver personally significant events of 2016.

1.) My brother's wedding. We welcomed our new sister into the family with much merry making  and friendly company. Especially my sister Gina, her husband, and her kids. It was a good week.

2.) Visiting the Ocean in July with my best friend and some of my siblings.

3.) FRONTSIIIIIIIIIGHT. NOVEMBER 4-8th!!!

4.) February 16th, when my amazing brother treated the whole family to Disneyland.

5.) November 31st because, reasons.

44.) Five things I want to do in 2017.

1.) Take a music classes.

2.) Audition for a play or musical.

3.) Write at least the rough draft of a musical, and finish at least the first draft of my Cyril book.

4.) Spend more time with my sisters

5.) Pray hard, fight well, and live the life God gave me with fewer fears and more happiness.

45.) Five people I'd like to know better in 2017.



How was your 2016? Are you optimistic about 2017? Can you believe it's 2017??




*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella

Monday, December 19, 2016

Anime Character Challenge [ Day Eleven & Twelve]

I'm going to flip the days because I want to end the post on a positive note, not a negative one.

Day Eleven: Least Favorite pairing. 

Let's face it. In anime there are some pairings that are just not that great. But since I only tend to watch anime with good relationships, this is tricky. Obviously I hate it when fans pair friends together - 'cause no. Especially since friendships in anime usually consists of two girls or two boys. *Sighs* However, if I'm stick to actual canon pairings, than I think my least favorite would be Zuko and Mai.

"I don't hate you." - "I don't hate you too."

I don't have anything against Zuko and Mai. I think they're a good ship. She makes him smile. She makes him happy. That's all that really matters, right? I like Zuko and Mai! I will say though, that they're relationship didn't have enough screen-time to build or flesh itself out. I know Mai liked Zuko even when they were little,  but the whole arc with their story seemed a bit underdeveloped for me. For a while I really hated Zuko with Mai because I felt that she was holding him back, or that she was a bad influence on him. I also thought that Mai only liked Zuko because he was a prince. I mean, where the heck had she been when he got banished? It wasn't like she was there for him! *SPOILERS* And where does she get off, coming back into his life only after he was accepted back home?? *END SPOILERS* Ehem. As I saw more of their scenes together I realized that Mai really did love Zuko, and he actually helped her be a better person too - but I still would have liked Zuko to end up with someone a little less surly. Someone who would make him laugh a lot, someone who was a little more of a balance when it came to his serious attitude. Someone like that cute girl that took Zuko to see the lights.

So yeah. Zuko and Mai are my least favorite pairing, but I still like them. They were cute, in their own weird way. They just wish they'd had a little more growth and depth.

Day Twelve: Favorite pairing:

Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye.

"I can't afford to lose you."
I love ships that start out simple. "Oh, so they're co-workers. Oh wow, they make a really great team. Holy crap, they have a long history together. Oh my gosh, they've helped each other through so many rough spots. Oh my gosh, they're so close. Oh my gosh, they can't loose each other. Oh myyyYYY GOSH, THEY LOVE EACH OTHER.

What I really appreciated about Roy and Riza is that their love story is the sort that sneaks up on you. And it's this strong, loyal type of love that you don't see too often. It's the type of love that has it's bases on a long, fierce friendship which built itself into love. Quietly, without either party realizing it. Roy and Riza served in the army together, they went to war together, and they schemed to keep their country safe together. They are each other's support and moral compass. They keep each other standing when life gets hard. They help each other be the best that they can be. They keep one another on the right path.

"There's someone I have to protect."

Roy and Riza are a beautiful pairing. Even if you don't see them as a couple, their friendship alone is amazing to watch. They are so protective of each other. It's adorable 8-). And Riza is one of the few people who can get a laugh out of Roy every now and then. They're perfect. They're canon. And I love them.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Anime Character Challenge [ Day Eight & Ten]


Day Eight: The Character that Drives you crazy.

In other words, a character that makes you wonder 'Why are you a thing???'

Probably the character that annoys me the most in the anime I watch, who isn't a bad-guy would be Leorio from HunterXHunter. Not only is he pointless, but he is Obnoxious and pointless. He is also a bit of a perve so. 8-P I don't think I'll even grace him with a picture. He doesn't deserve one.

I'm skipping Day Nine because it doesn't apply to the shows I've watched: 

Day Ten; The Character who has the best arc. 

I want to cop out and use Prince Zuko again. He had a beautifully written arc, one of the best in animation history. He didn't change easily. He had to make a ton of mistakes. He fought for what he wanted, however flawed it was, and he had that hard, shocking realization when he saw the how wrong he was about so many of his beliefs and ideas. His arc was incredible!!!! I love it. Every time I watch Avatar:TLA I love his character and development more. However, since I've already done a post on him, I won't rant on and on about Zuko or how fabulous he is. Instead I will talk about Roy Mustang. Because he is proof that a character doesn't have to be an antagonist to have an arc. You can be a good guy and still have depth and development! IT CAN BE DONE!


Flame Alchemist.


Roy Mustang is freaking awesome. He is a Flame Alchemist, as well as a Colonel in the Amestris Army. He served in a bloody, horrific Civil War, but instead of letting that crush his desire to be a soldier, he simply vowed to be the best soldier he could be, a soldier who does more saving than killing. A protector.

I loved how much Mustang grew through the duration of the story. When Fullmetal first began, Mustang just seemed like another angsty, detached soldier. He was hard, cold, and he could be a jerk. At first I didn't know if I'd like him too well. But gradually more of his whole self was revealed;  A man who cares an awful, awful lot. A man who would put his life before the life of his followers. A man who loves fiercely, is steadfast, and is loyal. He was rough at first, but the more you get to know him, the more you see that the roughness is just the first, thin layer of who he is as a person. And he grows so much. He starts out distant and hard to understand, but he doesn't stay that way. He lets himself be wrong. He wants to learn, and he is always striving to have a better understanding of the world around him. If something is broken he wants to fix it. He's a small pawn when the story begins, but by the end of it he has made himself one of the strongest pieces on the board. Not only that. His rough edges are smoothed. He starts to be more gentle, more understanding, more of a guardian, a mentor, and a defender. Mustang has a big heart. He has a lot to give. And he has more fight in him than any one man should have.

"You have been the most troublesome of all the State Alchemists." - Pride to Roy Mustang


Roy never surrenders. The enemy scatters his army and 'isolate' him? He comes back stronger with more men than before. He is clever and intuitive. He constantly messes with the enemy, foiling their plans and creating problem after problem for them to deal with. He is a thorn in their side, one that causes concern, annoyance and even, for some, fear. He is freaking cool. It hard to explain how fabulous he is without spoiling his arc and development. To really understand you'd just have to watch FMAB. Watch it dubbed. It's better that way.

Which 'good guy'  in animation has the best arc in your opinion? Can you think of some heroes that have incredible arcs? It doesn't even have to be a "Wrong to Right," or an "Antagonist to Protagonist," arc. It can just be a "Really good Protagonist to Fabulous,amazing Hero," Arc.



*swings around cape and leaps off stage*



Bella

Pile of good things

Pile of good things