Monday, January 27, 2014

Disney's Frozen: A Masterpiece in the World of Animation

The first thing I'll say is that Disney has always been a big part of my life. I was, still am and forever will be a child of Disney. I'm a big Disney fanatic and proud of it!

So now, I'm going to jump on the band wagon and go on a little rant about the most recent feature film animation from Walt Disney Animation Studios: Frozen.

I actually watched it in December, and I've seen it probably five more times since then. At this point I won't bother going through the effort of explaining what Frozen was about because I'm plenty sure that most people have already watched the movie and if they haven't they would have heard/know about it already.

Now, I must applaud Disney. It's simply a masterpiece and is currently my absolute favorite Disney animation. All aspects of the movie brings so much life and flavor; the animation, the actors, the theme and the music. The music in particular is especially wonderful. Not only does it tie the entire movie together, but it does a fantastic job of expressing the themes and emotions. And, holy cow, does this movie overflow with emotion; OMG all the feels!

I commend Bobby (Robert) and Kristen Lopez for doing such a fantastic job with the music. They are both amazingly talented people and they have my deepest respects. It was only actually yesterday that I learned that they were also the very same people who were responsible for Avenue Q (which I also enjoy so much) and the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, I also learned that Bobby is of Filipino descent and being a Filipina myself, I felt great pride. In any case, in addition to how well the music fit the story of Anna and Elsa, I felt that outside of the movie it was very inspirational in that an amazingly broad spectrum of people could relate to them. Personally, I think being relatable is what makes a piece of work, whether it be a musical composition, a painting or literary work, great! "Let It Go" in particular, as many will attest to I'm sure, is one such composition. It has the overall message of letting one's self go and of, not only appreciating, but also genuinely loving one's self and all of your abilities and flaws, even if it makes you different. I for one could definitely relate to it. That particular scene, when Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, did wonders to my poor heart. It was so moving beyond words.

Now for the cast. Honestly, they brought so much life to the characters. I do believe that, just like the music, the characters of Frozen were so easy to relate with. Traditionally, characters from previous Disney feature animations are relatable to an extent, however, I still felt that they were distant in a way, especially the classic Disney princesses. This is my own personal opinion, but previous Disney figures felt rather ethereal to me. I'm not entirely sure how to go about explaining this, but Anna and Elsa just felt really down to earth to me which made them all the more relatable to me. I really hope that makes sense because I really have no other way of explaining this. One factor might also be that the theme of Frozen is very contemporary and modern compared to those of the classics such as Snow White and Cinderella. Anyway, point is that the characters are so easy to love, especially Olaf. Josh Gad did an extraordinary job with almost literally bringing the snowman to life. Additionally, I already had so much respect and admiration for two members of the cast: Idina Menzel, who played Elphaba in Wicked (one of my all time favorite Broadway musicals), and Jonathan Groff, who I immediately admired and adored since his role in the first season of Glee. After watching the movie I also came to love Kirsten Bell, who I knew of because of Gossip Girl (even though I never really did watch that show), and Jonathan Gad.

My only complaint, I suppose, is Kristoff. Don't get me wrong I love him, because I mean how could you not? He's quite endearing in his own way. However, I was actually talking about this with one of my friends, his existence almost didn't have much of a point besides providing a love interest to Anna. Disney could have just as easily made Anna go through the entire journey of looking for Elsa without any help, which would only strengthen the message of empowerment for women. I do understand that they felt the need to stick to tradition, in a way, and involve some form of romantic love. Also, his existence only further emphasized the main message of the movie: platonic love, a love between sisters. The scene wherein Anna steps in to protect Elsa from Hans is a testament of this. It was a great way to contrast romantic love to that of platonic love. So in a way his existence had a point besides merely fulfilling the role of a romantic love interest. Yet I still agree with my friend that they could have done without him. Now, that wasn't actually my complaint. My complaint is that, since they decided to have Kristoff I was fully expecting at least a small romantic number between Kristoff and Anna. I mean how can you have Jonathan Groff as part of the cast and not have him sing anything. No the number "Reindeers are Better than People" does not count, no matter how entertaining it is. Again I understand that the emphasis of the movie was on sisterly love but really? Why hire a voice actor who has a fabulous singing voice, only to not have him sing? That really baffles me, but maybe that's just me.

Finally, there are different kinds of love and thus far most Disney Princess classics have a strong focus on romantic love. Frozen takes a leap out of tradition and into the modern by focusing on platonic or familial love, which seems to be occurring a little more with recent productions. Brave, for example, displays the love between mother and daughter where as Frozen is about the love between two sisters. Now the hopeless romantic in me appreciates the classics and their strong emphasis on romantic love but this change in focus is good. This is especially in part due to the fact the main target audience of these animations are children (in-spite being great family films). It sends a great message, particularly to young girls. Romantic love is not the only thing out there. Love between members of one's family is just as important if not more so.

Overall, Frozen truly is amazing. Applause and thanks to Disney and all those involved in its production for bringing a spectacular piece of work to the world. This is going to be one of those Disney animations that I will be sure to show my children someday!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014, A New Year, A New Chapter

What's up Blogger and to all others actually monitoring my blog, should there be any?!

I realize that a "new year's" blog post would have been a bit more appropriate during the beginning of this month, but hey as they say, "Better late than never!", right?

In any case, I cannot believe that the month of January is already coming to an end and that my birthday is in about a week. (LOL I actually almost forgot about my birthday. Hurrderp, I'm going to be another year older. *le gasp* Okay, that's for an entirely separate blog post, so let's leave it at that). So I seem to be a little bit more random than usual so I may go off on little tangents here and there. I'll try not to but mind you, in the speaking world that's a norm for me.

Okay, moving on to the actual point of my post... Wait I had a point? Just kidding of course I do!

So again as I already said, I cannot believe that this month has gone by so fast! I have to say, 2013 is definitely a year to remember; at least for me personally. Overall, 2013 brought a truck load of unforgettable experiences

So just to name a few, in 2013...: (´・ω・)ノ
(1) I went to [ Tokyo, Japan ]
(2) I went to [ San Francisco, California ]
(3) I went to [ Atlanta, Georgia ]
(4) I went to Atlanta to present a poster publication on my research project that was accepted into IEEE Vis Conference 2013
(5) I celebrated my second year anniversary with my boyfriend Kev ♪(๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)♪
So even though I only really listed some of the few good things that happened to me last year. I also had a handful of obstacles and hardships. Albeit they were negative experiences, I wouldn't have had it any other way. There were many things that I learned about myself and the world around me through these experiences, both good and bad. Everything that happened, everything that was thrown my way, both good and bad, are now a part of who I am today and all I can really say is:

Thank you 2013!

As for a NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION... Well, to be perfectly honest I had a long list of resolutions I could have picked from. Instead I chose something simple and yet I think it holds a lot of meaning in so variety of ways. So my new year's resolution ended up being:

"Be Yourself"

Yes, I do realize that it sounds terribly cheesy but hear me out. I actually came to this conclusion with the help of an article I found called Forget About Creating a New You: Just Be Yourself.

Personally, I found it rather inspiring, as corny and cliche as it sounds. Basically, this article talked about new year's resolutions and empowering oneself. As we are today, we are all inclined to answer to the call of improvement or betterment of self. A lot of the things we chose to do or not to do are all in part of wanting/needing to "improve" one's self. As a society we don't seem to ever be happy or content with who we are or at least we don't seem to genuinely appreciate who we are. As the article itself states, being yourself takes courage. It was these words in particular that really struck a chord with me. Since I was a child, I had never been the kind of individual with a lot of self confidence. If anything I sorely lacked confidence in myself, and had (still kinda have) low self-esteem. I never truly really appreciated myself for who I was/am.

Now, I'm a big advocate for change, but sometimes change is not what it's all about. Upon further reflection, I quickly realized that many, but not all, of my past negative experiences were all in part a result of my lack of self confidence, my lack of love for myself. So instead of opting for a resolution that I believe would have helped changed my into a better person, I resolved to be myself; to love myself for who I really am.

About a month into this year, it's already proving a challenge. It's especially hard to accept yourself when you're filled with doubts and countless obstacles are thrown your way, but I'm working on it. And I honestly think this will be an ongoing personal "project". Choosing to love yourself shouldn't be limited. The way I see it, it's a life long journey. So I'll just take it day by day.

So this is more for my own curiosity: My question for you is what was your most memorable experience in 2013? And what is your new year's resolution?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Still Alive!

So it's been a few weeks since my last post. I have definitely been really busy for the last month or so because of school. Trying to balance five courses, a part time job, various extracurricular activities, time for family/boyfriend/friends and time for yourself can get really tricky. Well that's quite the understatement, yet somehow I manage; sometimes poorly, sometimes not. So really, I've been keeping myself plenty busy with everything.

In any case, I just wanted to post something mainly for the purposes of letting my readers, whoever you are, know that I am still alive and kicking.

I do want to say that after working at the university full time over the summer then coming back to school and classes in September was a bit of a transition. This was probably because over the summer there was barely anyone at the university. So the hallways were clear of students rushing to and from classes, line ups in MacEwan Student Center (which has UofC's main food court area) were non-existent, as well as many other things. Now it's a challenge to get from one class to another because of all the traffic in the hallways and lunch hours can get pretty ridiculous with all the lines and bodies that populate MacEwan Center. So not only can this can a bit overwhelming the first week back (even though I'm not a first year anymore) but because one of my biggest pet peeve's involve the hallways. My regular walking pace tends to be a lot faster than most people's or so it seems but I'm not sure if it's just because I walk fast or other people just generally walk really slow, I'm not sure, but traffic in the hallways can get absurd. Not only is it very frustrating when people walk at a turtle's pace, but it's even worse when people walk in groups that span the width of the hall and the lot of them are walking at a turtle's pace. So not only are they being slow, but they're taking up a ridiculous amount of space and no can get around them. This can get very irritating, especially when you need to go from one end of campus to the other in less than ten minutes to get to your next class.

Another pet peeve of mine that seems to be a big source of frustration recently are people who don't know how to wait their turn. More specifically, I very much dislike it when people try to cram themselves in trains, elevators or classrooms while other people are trying to get out. Seriously, this will go a lot faster if you let people out first and wait for your turn. You would think this is common sense. Unfortunately, it seems that common sense is not very, well, common anymore. It's just sad...

Okay I'm done ranting... I think. I'll leave my other rants for a different day. So to wrap this up, I'd like ask: What's your pet peeve? For those of you who actually read my blog, I'm curious. Leave me a comment! Cheerios, and good night for now!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Back to School!

It's that time of the year again! Tomorrow marks the first day of school for the 2013-2014 school year for us University of Calgary folk.

To be completely honest I am both excited and nervous. This fall semester is going to be very busy to say the least. With a full course load, part-time job, and a couple of extracurricular activities I will be hard-pressed to find time for other things but I will definitely do what I can.

In any case, I am not particularly worried because I like school! As a matter of fact I was a little too excited when I went out on Friday and bought some school supplies. I also took a peak at my textbook requirements. However I was not too keen on spending money on those textbooks. They certainly don't come cheap. On the plus side, I have all the multi-colored highlighters and pens I am going to need. (◕‿◕✿) As long as I have those as well as my trusty MacBook (with its Paul Frank case), my day planner and my Kobo e-reader I am all set. Oh! I cannot forget my iPhone though. I have to admit I have definitely grown attached to as well as dependent on my phone. It has all my calendars, reminders, etc. I think I would be pretty lost without it sometimes.

I am on the way to finishing my degree! Excited! So wish me luck!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Global Fest: A Festival of Fireworks

GlobalFest is much more than just fireworks. It is a festival that brings together and showcases Calgary's cultural diversity through a night market, the "OneWorld Cafe and International Bar", a variety of cultural pavilions and food stalls, a multitude of cultural performances from performing groups across the city, and a friendly international fireworks competition. This year's fireworks displays are from teams China, France, Great Britain, and the USA!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to go to all five nights (one for each country plus the finale), but I was able to go to China (opening day) and "Canada" (the grande finale)! Sadly, according to some friends and my brother, I missed the best display from the USA, who actually won People's Choice. Meanwhile there was also France, who won via the judges panel. Next year, I'm definitely going to have to get the full pass so I can watch them all!

Aside from watching the fireworks I, along with Kev and some friends, were able to try some of the cultural foods that were available such as Brazilian BBQ, Fiji & the Pacific Islands, Filipino, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Quebecois delicacies and much more! My favorite by far was the Brazilian BBQ. Although. to be honest I'm not particularly sure if that was only because I had been having a massive craving for BBQ for the entirety of last week. Either way, I very much enjoyed the nicely cooked meat along with the powdery dip (which I unfortunately didn't get to ask what it was) and the olive oil & spices dip.

In addition we were also able to watch a few of the cultural performances. Unfortunately I didn't a chance to get any nice shots. I only have my trusty iPhone with me but from where we were sitting it was hard to get a decent quality shot much less a nice one. Definitely remembering to bring my SLR next time! (⌒▽⌒)☆

Well, until next year!

TTFN! Ta-Ta for Now! ヾ(^∇^)