Friday, July 10, 2020

Flashback Friday Post

In which I randomly select a yeara month and a post 
to look back upon

June 30, 2014

Cooking Fast and Fresh With West!

Misha Collins (Supernatural) and his son, West, have this adorable YouTube cooking show that is basically a dad having a good time with his son.

 It's absolutely hysterical and West is sooo adorable!
Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3 - Thanksgiving Feast

Dear God, Please let my future husband be like this!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Goodreads Reviews: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Voldemort is back. And Harry Potter is getting angry. Angry that he saw Voldemort, he fought him and witness him kill a good man. Yet, the Wizarding World refuses to acknowledges any of Harry's story. And this alone sets Harry onto a path of pure justified rage. Rage against his friends who have had no contact with him the whole summer, the Ministry of Magic who refuse to accept that Voldemort has returned, toward the Dursleys who are worse than ever and even toward his godfather who he desperately needs.

Then something happens that always happens to Harry to get him going again. He gets into trouble. His trouble leads him to a secret association known as The Order of the Phoenix. The Order was set in place when Voldemort came to power in the 70s and a select few witches and wizards (including Harry's parents) came together to challenge his power when others ran and hid. Now the Order has come back together, believing Harry and working out how to get ahead of Voldemort and his plans.

Through all this Harry finally returns to his beloved Hogwarts, but like with each term, there are more changes. A psychotic Defense Against the Dark Arts professor sent by the ministry to keep order, Harry's own friends turning against him and Dumbledore completely neglecting him. Soon, Hogwarts becomes more of a prison than a school.

With Ron and Hermione's encouragement, Harry, no longer able to take what the ministry is doing to his home, starts his own secret organization. He begins to train other students in basic wizarding defense skills, knowing full well that they could be attacked at any moment. Titled Dumbledore's Army, Harry and his faithful few challenge the authority of the Ministry, defend Hogwarts, protect their beloved headmaster and find themselves face to face with the evil that they have been training so long to fight against.

The Order of the Phoenix is where Harry is at his absolute lowest and darkest point. His confrontation with Voldemort in Goblet of Fire has him frightened beyond all reason and he's desperate for someone to understand him. One thing Harry can do very well is lead. When he's put in a leadership position, he thrives. By creating Dumbledore's Army and teaching others not to be afraid, Harry's own fears turn into absolute courage. Courage strong enough to go against Voldemort and carry the sorrows that should never have been his.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Pixar Blogathon: Our Friendship Will Never Die

     Great friendships have the potential to be legendary. Whether it's Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, Bert and Ernie, the Harry Potter trio, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Merlin and King Arthur, Anne Shirley and Diana Barry, Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee...the list is endless. However, no friendship defined a generation more than the two very different, but equally loyal toys, Sheriff Woody and Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear. 

     When uptight and by the book Sheriff Woody meets Buzz Lightyear, a flashy and gaudy electronic who truly believes what is he is marketed to be, no one ever thought that two more different personalities would ever see eye to eye on anything. However, it's their differences that make them such a great team. As everyone knows, Woody was less than thrilled when he watched as his owner Andy preferences the new toy Buzz, who glows in the dark and flies (sort of) over the old fashioned family toy. 

     Woody is many things both good and bad. While his loyalty is his strongest attribute, it also becomes his blind spot. When Buzz is welcomed with open arms by the rest of the toys, Woody immediately resents him. Although he cited his loyalty to Andy to be his reason, it boiled down to the fact that Woody was jealous and his fear of being second best caused some devastating situations for him and Buzz. 

     When Woody and Buzz finds themselves on their own, trying to get back to Andy's Room, they both realize that they need one another. Woody leadership abilities, paired up with Buzz's faith in him allow them both to get home. The realization that comes when they are both trapped in Sid's room is that they are both toys, but as toys they mean something special to their owner. If Woody had truly had Andy's best intentions at heart, then he would have welcomed Buzz and dropped his hostility. Yet, for all that, Buzz realizes that Woody's love for Andy is so deep, that Woody risked everything to save him. And in time Buzz would do the same thing, again and again.

     Unfortunately, in the constant effort to do right, Buzz usually gets the short end of the stick in each film. Yet, his constant daring and devotion to his friends sets him back where he needs to be. Buzz Lightyear was voted the greatest animated character in history and it's easy to see why. When Buzz came to the scene, he was a disillusioned toy who believed himself to be any actual space ranger. Yet he was also fun, generous and had a knack for making friends with everyone. Buzz is also a leader, but he has not problem letting others take charge as well.

    Throughout the series you see the different personalities of the two toys coincide. Woody is old-fashioned, Buzz is modern. Woody is eccentric, Buzz is calm. Woody plans everything out, Buzz grabs any opportunity. Woody is strict, Buzz is easygoing. It's those differences that evens out their personalities and make them such great friends. 

     In the first two films, Buzz and Woody's relationship centered around Andy. He was their centerpoint. Everything they did was for him. In the last two films, their relationship was about the two of them. There was no Andy. Buzz accepted this, but Woody couldn't. Even Woody eventually admits that his whole purpose has been the happiness of the kid who owns him. It's takes a long time for Woody to see that his true purpose was as a leader to Andy's toys and as a friend they could depend on.

     What makes Buzz and Woody such an iconic friendship? Their constant loyalty to each other, no matter the situation. They might fight, disagree, walk away, etc. but in the end, they're always standing side by side. While Woody and Buzz might be toys, who they are as characters that people can relate to is so much deeper. We've all gotten jealous of the new kid, made sudden judgments, risked a great deal to get someone out of trouble.

    Even when they are finally separated from each other in the finale film, it's seen that their friendship isn't over at all. There will be other toys for Woody to find and take care of, while Buzz will always remain the ever faithful second in command. Just like Woody taught him. It's what they learned from one another that keeps their friendship alive. While Buzz and Woody are toys, they are toys that have taught people a great deal about true friendship and loyalty. Anyone would hope to have a friendship as strong and as legendary as theirs. 

Press Gang (1989-1993)

Back in the 80s, before Sherlock and Doctor Who, Steven Moffet was a school teacher who a good gift for writing. His big television break was an idea from his father about a newspaper run by teenagers. Adults giving kids a chance to be treated as adults. This idea became the ITV program Press Gang, which went on to become one of the most successful shows in British television and broke ground for future programming.

Unfortunately the show can't be bought in the U.S. and it wasn’t on Netflix, so my next (and only) chance was YouTube. Thankfully, I came across an account that had started to upload the entire show. Needless to say, I was thrilled! The episode count takes a rapid decline after season 2, which was a little disappointing, but the content in the later seasons was excellent.

Season 1 - 13 episodes

Season 2 - 13 episodes

Season 3 - 6 episodes

Season 4 - 6 Episodes

Season 5 - 6 Episodes

You can find the playlist here

Set in the fictional town of Norbridge, England, The Junior Gazette is a fledgling project at Norbridge High School, with volunteers from the school and neighboring schools. The Gazette is also used as a last chance attempt for school troublemakers who are on the road to becoming future delinquents. Run by Lynda Day, a brash, no nonsense, workaholic whose only goal is the success of the school paper, written by the youth and for the youth.

The Senior Staff of The Junior Gazette
L-R: Colin, Fraz, Lynda (sitting), Sarah, Kenny, Spike

Lynda Day: Viewed by many as a soulless, power hungry, bitch that will sink to any depth to get what she wants. A pretty honest description of Lynda. However, to succeed in the adult world, Lynda can’t be a shrinking violet. She’s at The Junior Gazette to work, not to make friends.

James "Spike" Thomson: A popular American teen who has never seemed to fit in anywhere until he came to The Gazette. Faced with expulsion from school for his reckless behavior, Spike’s last chance is to work at the paper. Although rebellious and arrogant at first, Spike proves to be a good up and coming writer.

Kenny Phillips: Lynda’s closest friend who understands her better than anyone. As assistant editor of The Junior Gazette, Kenny takes on all the grunt work that Lynda won’t deal with. Known as ‘the nice guy,’ Kenny is reliable and always willing to take on any task for his friends.

Sarah Jackson: The Junior Gazette’s talented head writer and sometimes the only voice of reason. Although she loves her place at The Junior Gazette, Sarah dreams of writing professionally, which might cause her to leave the staff, much to Lynda’s dismay.

Colin Matthews: The devious, money grabbing bookkeeper whose sole purpose is to make sure that The Junior Gazette stays on top of finances. Colin will do anything for money, but his side hustles frequently land him in trouble and oftentimes he is seen more as a liability than an asset to The Gazette.

Frazer “Frazz” Davis: Spike’s best friend and partner in crime who is always up for some crazy idea. Essentially the fun older brother to the Junior Gazette Staff, Frazz’s daredevil nature has gotten his friends out of trouble and has even saved their lives.

From the moment Spike and Lynda meet, sparks fly and insults are hurled, so beginning a five year, on again/off again relationship, with a little Pride and Prejudice thrown in from time to time. While Lynda disregards Spike as annoying and irresponsible at first, Spike is immediately smitten with her and starts a never ending crusade to get Lynda to see that they’re meant to be with each other.

However, for Lynda, the paper and her future career as a successful editor take precedence and are forever pushing Spike away from her. Yet, the more time Lynda spends with Spike, the more she sees that his arrogant behavior comes from loneliness and a need for love and affection. Spike wants Lynda to be all she dreams to be, but not at the cost of utilizing people for her needs and then throwing them aside.

As the both of them mature, their love for each other becomes more passionate and consuming. Everything about them and their relationship is unpredictable and neither seems to know how the other really truly feels until it’s too late.

What made Press Gang such a success was that it showed kids actually wanting to succeed and thrive in the adult world. Press Gang dealt with heady issues such as child abuse, drugs, suicide and gun violence. Comedy and drama and written well together. Most of the episodes are humorous and fun, but then you’re immediately hit with an unexpected dramatic storyline that you just weren’t expecting.

All of the characters were great, but I had a hard time with Colin Matthews. They seemed to want a character that was devious, but lovable at the same time. However, they overshot it and most of the time Colin came off as very aggravating and downright annoying.

That fact that show was made 30 years ago and was therefore dated didn't bother me in the slightest. I love any show that dates back to the 80s and the 90s. Using old-fashioned typewriters, the newspaper was the only social media platform, pay phones were on every corner, Spike’s Walkman and Lynda’s massive mobile phone and everyone is so excited when they get a real computer! It was relieving to watch a show without someone mentioning Twitter, Instagram or Facebook or #thathappened.

My primary reason for watching the show was for Dexter Fletcher, who was absolutely adorable in his fake New York accent and the only character that actually had any fashion sense as well. His chemistry with Julia Sawalha was perfect and as the actors themselves were dating in real life, the show did a good job at subtly hinting that their lead characters were sleeping together.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how an American was portrayed in a British series. If Spike Thomson is how the British views Americans, well he’s as accurate as a description can get. At first look, arrogant, brash and full of himself, but also tough, resilient, never taking no for an answer and always ready with an idea. Spike is faithful to his friends and has a generous nature that doesn’t go unnoticed either. Steven Moffet completely nailed the all American character type.

Press Gang has been considered one the best shows in television history. It’s not overly done in anyway. You can relate to the characters and the problems addressed are not written to politicize the show in any way. It’s the basic everyday simplicity of Press Gang that has made it so successful and memorable.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Toxic Fan Syndrome

**Originally posted from my Tumblr**

There’s a certain mentality that I’ve noticed among fans in regards to their attitude towards actors/actresses.

Actor’s don’t have a voice. No one cares about their opinions. They just need to shut up and go away.

Until an incident like the George Floyd murder happens. Then that mentality changes to-

Actors need to speak out! They shouldn’t be silent!! They need to show their support and use their public image!!!

This is true among both conservatives and liberal platforms. Conservatives are even worse. They despise any celebrity that disagrees with them, but praise anyone who aligns with them.

On Tumblr Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello (and others) are being raked over the coals because of their silence regarding the George Floyd murder. Fans are taking the attitude that they need to hold actors/actresses accountable in their personal lives.

So what does this all narrow down to?

Have fans become toxic toward celebrities because of their unrealistic standards of who they want actors/actresses to be?

Yes. Fans have become toxic in their behavior to actors/actresses. They have created unrealistic ideas about celebrities

Sebastian Stan put it perfectly, 

"…they [actors] didn’t set out to be gods; we [fans] made them gods.”

And that is the problem right their. Fans have taken this idea that they can create in their minds unrealistic ideas of their favorite actor/actress. Fans have made them gods. Worshiped them and hold them be above everyone else.

Until the god has proven to be human, falls from grace and actually bleeds. Then the fantasy is shattered. They’re not perfect. They’re human. What I created wasn’t real.

Whose fault is it when a fan is brokenhearted and disappointed ? Not the actor/actress. It’s the fans fault when they made saw gods among men and not ordinary humans.

Actors and actresses are not gods to be worshiped and set apart. They should not be expected to be your personal superhero. The world needs to see actors and actresses as ordinary humans that fall and get hurt and make mistakes and take away the prestige, the glamour and the worship.

Do fans have the right to dictate to actors/actresses what they can and cannot say?

No, they don’t. Actors and actresses do not have to speak the same narrative as their fans. Going back to treating them as humans. They are not gods made in your own image or puppets to be used.

An actor/actress is not obligated to agree with or appease their fans. An actor/actress is free to speak or stay silent. They are free to have their own minds and opinions. The fans must learn to respect those opinions, thoughts and ideas and once again disregard the idea that actors/actresses are gods made in an unrealistic fantasy image of the fans.

You cannot disregard an actors/actresses voice one minute and then demand they speak out the next. An actor and actresses have the same rights to the First Amendment as anyone else.

Do actors have the right to dictate what their fans or other people outside the acting community should say or do? No. Actors and actresses have made some idiotic, elitist and stupid statements. As public figures they need to be careful with what they say and how they say it.

However, there is a push and pull with the media and public. Actors are told by one side to speak out and when they do, they are told to shut up on the other side. They’re oftentimes caught between a rock and a hard place and can find no common ground, because their fan bases are diverse and different.

You may not like what an actor/actress has to say, but it is their right to say it. They are not your toys to be used for your entertainment and then tossed aside for another time.

Fans do not have the right to cancel an actor/actress just because they don’t share the same opinion and ideas. Fans demand that actors/actresses respect them and their ideas. However that respect goes both ways.

What is a actors/actresses initial duties toward their fans?

To entertain. That is it. An actor/actresses duty to their fans is to entertain and tell a story. Their duty to their fans ends when the fan walks out of the movie theater. An actor/actresses duty is not to be a hero or a mouthpiece. They do not owe fans anything outside the support of their career by watching them in their craft.

Toxic Fan Syndrome is real. Rabid fans have destroyed relationships, ended career opportunities, shut down social media accounts and incited fear and loneliness.

An actors/actresses job is simply to entertain. Afterwards their lives are their own to do as they please.
  • Fans should never hound an actors/actresses social media account and demand that they speak their narrative or share their opinions.
  • They should never believe that they must educate or criticize an actor/actress who disagrees with them or hold an entitled attitude that they are responsible for holding actors and actresses accountable for what they do or say.
  • Fans should never assume that an actor/actress is privileged solely based on their skin color.
  1. There are actors/actresses regardless of their skin color or ethnicity that have come from abject poverty and struggled to get to where they are or have faced abuse within their career.
  2. Usually to keep up with the public appearance, they choose not to talk about the negative or private issues in their lives.
  3. Assuming privilege just because they are white or because they don’t associate or follow POC makes you an A class racist.
If actors like Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello choose to stay silent on social media regarding the George Floyd murder and BLM then it is their right to do so.

A fan’s duty to an actor/actress is to support their careers. Not to make them gods. Not to have them as their political advocates. Fans need to stop creating actors and actresses into their own heroes. If you want a hero why don’t you try being your own hero and stop expecting other people to do the job.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Goodreads Reviews - Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What started out as an exciting summer at the Quidditch World Cup turns into dangerous and deadly when dark wizards start to terrorize muggles out in the open. Thankfully, Harry and his friends can leave the dark stuff to the adults and begin their fourth term at Hogwarts. However, this school year is going to be unlike anything the students have ever experienced.

Hogwarts has become the host school for a traditional wizarding competition, The Triwizard Tournament. Two other schools, Beauxbatons Academy from France and Durmstrang School from Bulgaria arrive at Hogwarts. Between the three schools, one student from each school represented will be chosen as a champion to compete in three intense challenges that consist of battling dragons, fighting merpeople and navigating through an impossible maze.

Unfortunately, Harry becomes an unexpected fourth champion when his name appears from the famed goblet of fire. Once again, Harry is thrown into the unwanted spotlight, but this time on a more public spectrum. Lauded as both a champion by Gryffindor House, but as a cheater to the rest of Hogwarts, including least temporarily.

As the year progresses, Harry faces more challenges that go beyond the Triwizard Tournament. Young love, unwanted media attention, teachers with secret agendas and a desperate longing to feel at home at Hogwarts again. Yet, his greatest challenge comes with the return of his deadliest enemy, at the cost of a brave young student.

The Goblet of Fire is the midway point of Harry's life. His childhood ends and his journey into adulthood begins. The Harry Potter series ceases to be a fun children's story and becomes an actual story of life and death. The creation of the Triwizard Tournament and the introduction of other wizarding schools really made this book unique and also touched on the beginnings of teenage love and loyalties. And even with the emerging dark undertones that will be presented in later books, Goblet of Fire still maintained the same humor and charm of Hogwarts and the Wizarding World.