Brother Bear

Iiiiiit’s  Disney copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having watched Ice Age so unnecessarily much lately, we felt it was time to talk about one of the movies in which Disney just hits the nail on the head when it comes to deconstructing masculinity because as we discussedIce Age is pretty much exclusively about men and manages to be really weird about it.

So Brother Bear.

“The story of a boy who became a man… by becoming a bear.”

Yikes, that’s kind of clunky. And it’s the last line in the movie, so, double yikes.

We may as well get a bunch of stuff out of the way before we praise this movie, because it isn’t The Lion King. Which is to say, it has flaws. Continue reading “Brother Bear”

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The Jungle Book

erm saw The Jungle Book this week and has some thoughts! This is a good thing. Watching a movie and not having thoughts is… inadvisable. I maintain that media is not like poisonous food – if you eat poisonous food it will make you sick, or it will make you die. But consuming potentially poisonous media can’t hurt you as long as you’re actively engaging with it instead of just letting it sink into your brain unchallenged.

That ridiculousness that just happened up there makes it seem like I had major problems with this movie – and I certainly don’t. I’m just needlessly self-righteous about my approach to watching movies. And now that it’s said, let’s talk. Continue reading “The Jungle Book”

Rumours and Riddles: Two Types of Antisocial Cat Personalities

We have been a cat foster home since August, 2015, and in that time we have seen many good felines come and go – the most charming of which were Rumour and Riddle.

We don’t say that lightly. We have had a lot of funny, gorgeous, quirky cats in our home, but R&R win for Most Charming Kittens Ever. We think the two of them would make AMAZING protagonists for a new animated movie about a pair of orphaned kitten brothers with extra toes. (Are you listening, Disney?)

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Riddle and Rumour, in the later days

R&R were our first experience with a pair of littermates, and since then, we’ve unofficially created 2 definite Cat Types, which has helped us socialize fractious cats with differing needs.

The Rumour/Riddle Pair Dynamic

Though we don’t necessarily agree with the usual assumption that every feline relationship has a “dominant” and a “submissive”, we do recognize that cat relationships are complex and impossible for humans to understand at a glance. That was why it took us weeks to realize that in this pair, Rumour was the one in charge.

The thing that threw us off is that good old inclination to assume that extroversion = confidence. Susan Cain would be so disappointed. But when we walked into the room, Rumour would burrow into the furniture and stare up at us with big, sad, scared eyes. Riddle would dance around our feet, looking for a fight and a toy and basically excited about whatever we had to offer, even if it was a blood test or liquid antibiotics.

So how do we know Rumour was in charge? First of all, he ate more. Riddle would scarf down his food while we were in the room, while Rumour slowly crept his way out of his hiding place, hesitant to come within petting reach of us. But we know from our spy cam that when we left the room, Rumour took over the eating, and guarded the bowls from his brother. You could see it in their sizes, too – the larger kitten is usually the bully.

We’ve noticed this pattern many times since. An unsocialized cat who is reserved, stays hidden, and shuts down on contact seems to be a bit of a bully to other cats, when humans are taken out of the equation. We’ve chalked this up to confidence – an insecure cat who isn’t sure he’ll be allowed to eat is more likely to get over his fear and approach the humans, the providers, in order to get an edge on his companion.

While this certainly isn’t all there is to a cat pair, and every cat pair is different, this distinction has been helpful to us in figuring out how to handle the two distinct types of fractious behaviour that these two displayed.

Rumours

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Lucas hiding behind the computer monitors

There are a few characteristics that lead us to believe one of our fosters is a Rumour:

  • Can be touched when cornered in a small space, such as a cage or a teeny tiny hiding spot they’ve found.
  • Excessive hissing
  • “Shutting down” on human contact – allowing you to handle them
  • Refusing to eat in the presence of humans
  • Willing to close their eyes, as long as humans aren’t in petting reach – but won’t sleep
  • Hesitant to move at all – stays in one safe spot regardless of what happens, unless flushed out by force
  • Silence
  • LOVE hiding under beds, behind couches, inside furniture, or anywhere else where reaching them is hindered

These all sound incredibly depressing. And they are. But one upside to a Rumour type is that you can actually handle them, as a result of their paralyzing fear of humanity. And as they get used to being pet, they may begin purring, and ease back on the otherwise nonstop hissing they do (though that depends on the cat).

A couple of tips if you happen to have a Rumour in your life:

  • Keep Rumours in an isolation room. You’ll lose them, otherwise. We lost the original Rumour many times in our isolation room, since he had torn open the lining of the futon and crawled inside. He also hid behind three’s Income Tax Act to great success.
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We even missed him back here at first. He’s good.

  • When they are holed up, sit near them and pet their backs (their faces may be too much too soon). Back off if they become visibly distressed, but don’t go far – when they realize it’s not dangerous, their distress will very. slowly. decrease
  • If you flush a Rumour out of her hiding spot, she will panic and scramble – stay back and give her space to calm down. Allow her to find a new safe place and keep your distance. (It sounds mean, but sometimes their hiding spots are dangerous or inconvenient, and you have to relocate them!)
  • When your Rumour has his eyes trained on you, take note of what makes his ears prick and his neck crane. Whether it’s treats, regular meals, or a certain type of toy, that will be the key to easing the cat out of the safe place. If it’s food, for example, put the food down and sit a few feet away, still and quiet, not meeting his eyes. Eventually, with patience, maybe on the second or third try, he will give in to his obsession and come creeping out to get the food.
  • When the cat advances, DO NOT SCARE HER. Just stay quiet and reward her trust in you by not proving her wrong. Remember, fractious cats don’t find your voice or hands comforting. Basically, repress all instincts to love the cat and let her eat in peace.
  • Once that step is complete, begin using the cat’s motivation, whether it’s food or play, to interact with him. Play with more involved toys, or pet his back while he eats. Yes, he’ll hate it at first, but over time he will learn not to cringe quite so violently at your touch, and it will be awesome.

Riddles

We recognize Riddles based on the following:

  • Unable to hide as a result of extreme curiosity – Riddles can often be found poking their heads out from under a couch to identify a sound or a smell.
  • Constantly on the move – even when they lie down, they are ready to spring into action at any given second
  • Never closing their eyes, not even to blink
  • Aggressive play, especially with distance toys at first, like throwing a ball or using a laser pointer – graduating to wand toys
  • Over time, Riddles will begin following you around and constantly being underfoot
  • Crying, trilling, howling. All brands of cat sound, other than purring. (It takes wild cats a long time to learn how to speak, so if you’ve adopted or fostered a cat who was picked up as a stray, you won’t hear them for a while)
  • Visible attempts to drag Rumours out to play with them
  • You find yourself wondering what the cat’s fur feels like because you have never, ever touched him
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Missy, unable to suppress her curiosity

In general, we feel better about Riddles because they aren’t as sad and scared as Rumours. But despite their efforts to interact with humans, they are incredibly jumpy, squirmy, and practiced escape artists. While it’s easy-ish to get a Rumour to sit and endure some pets, a Riddle won’t even let you get within arm’s reach before racing around the room in a panic. And in the case of a foster cat, it’s going to be difficult to get these guys adopted, because people will HATE the fact that they can’t pet them, so it’s important to focus efforts on that.

Here are some things that have worked for us:

  • Play, a lot. Riddles love to play and will start to forget you’re scary when that blood lust is ringing in their ears (we assume). When they’re in vicious killer mode, they’ll even jump over you or brush past you to land the kill. Then they’ll look sheepish and run away, but it’s still a victory.
  • Riddles are insecure, in our experience, so they will want to be fed and will eat in front of you. Sit by them and make them endure some petting while they gorge themselves. They’ll be pissed, and they will cringe violently at your touch, but over time they’ll ease into it, especially if they have a bossy littermate looking to steal their meal
  • When you catch a Riddle with her eyes trained on your highlighter (true story) or something else you’re doing that she’s really excited about, use it to coax her near. Don’t make eye contact, just carry on, and in her entrancement she may accidentally come closer than she meant to.

 

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Really exciting highlighting going on in Riddle’s eyeline.

  • Let them get bored, so they lie down, for once. We’ve found that they like to chill out near us, so they don’t miss anything fun, so if you sit quietly on the couch, they may even lie down next to you. Out of reach, but every step counts!
  • Hold treats in your palm (once they learn that treats are awesome. Some cats have never had them.) You’ll be surprised at the guts these cats have when a treat is on the line. Stay still and wait, and don’t give in to their sad, beggar eyes. They will eventually give up and take it from your hand, which is both really cute and an important trust step.

Progress

As both types of cat progress, they begin to meet somewhere in the middle as your standard house cat personality. Rumours begin to play more and feel more comfortable prowling the house. Riddles learn to chill out and hopefully even allow you to pet them. Towards the end of our time with the original R&R, they were out and about all the time, lazing near us and begrudgingly allowing us to pet them while they ate their meals.

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Let’s just say Rumour got WORSE at hiding.

Although it’s helpful to categorize behaviours to figure out what to do when your cat is knocking photos off the wall or cowering under a towel in the corner, the most important thing to do is read their reactions and their progress to figure out how far you can push them – handling a feral domestic cat too much too soon is dangerous for both of you, and will hurt the cat’s chances at having a good domestic life. Err on the side of caution, always. The best way to make a fractious cat come around is to be patient, and give them time.

Other Rumours of ours: Lucas, Paisley, Demitri

Other Riddles of ours: Missy, Deniro

 

Lingering Questions about Ice Age

Netflix is not working on our blu ray player, and the DVD in the slot is Ice Age. So we’ve watched it 5 times in the past week, and we have some questions.

  1. Why do animals in Ice Age know that they are in an ice age?
  2. Why are they aware of other phenomena such as extinction and evolution?
  3. Why did this movie portray the dodo extinction as being entirely the dodo’s own fault, and, like, thousands of years before European colonialism?
  4. Why is Sid the giant sloth relatively small?
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  5. Shouldn’t Diego be a lot bigger than he and the other sabre tooths are in this movie? (And – shouldn’t he actually be smaller than Sid?)
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But those aren’t the important questions. We have but two of those.

Continue reading “Lingering Questions about Ice Age”

The Last Four Books I’ve Read, In Order of How Creepy the Love Interests Are

I (three) was recently complaining on Twitter about how I keep finding terrible love interests in adult romance.

Teen lit never gave me this problem. Maybe YA wouldn’t either – I’ll get to that. But for now, all I want to know is, why do adult m/f stories always have such skeevy men in them?

Anyway, I wanted to chat a little bit about the reading I’ve been doing and where they all stand on the skeeviness scale.  Continue reading “The Last Four Books I’ve Read, In Order of How Creepy the Love Interests Are”

The Ethics of the Sun’s Gift

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Don’t ask us for sources, but we have a general recollection of people arguing in defense of Mother Gothel’s actions in Tangled by invoking the “it’s not fair that they took that flower and boiled it just to save a monarch” argument. We thought it might be immense fun to use that as a jumping off point to talk about all of the ethical issues of the Sun’s Gift in Tangled that we could think of. Yeeeeey.

Continue reading “The Ethics of the Sun’s Gift”

Sleeping Beauty vs Maleficent

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Last week we compared Disney’s 1950 animated Cinderella to their 2015 live-action Cinderella. This week we’ll look at another – the one that was the first in what will likely be a long line of live-action reimaginings: Maleficent, compared to its source material, Sleeping Beauty (1959).

Now the way we did it last week was to compare each element, but this time it will work better if we look at each film separately before we get into those specifics.

Continue reading “Sleeping Beauty vs Maleficent”

Camp Update

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Happy Saturday cats and kittens.

I meant to post a NaNo update last Saturday, but I was too busy writing. So… that’s good?

Anyway, I wasn’t able to write on Friday because working on personal projects while at my job goes against my employment contract. Such an inconvenience. But on Saturday and Sunday I got a fair bit of writing done, and got well ahead of the game. Success!

I started the week with 12,349 words. Well ahead of schedule!

I also got involved in Word Sprints again, which was fun because the #NaNoHouseCup is amazing and I was repping Ravenclaw, which is obviously going to win.

Then the week started and I fell off the wagon.

Now I have a migraine and a lot of Work Work to do today. I’ll probably flip between writing and accounting because those two activities TOTALLY compliment each other right?

Tomorrow I planned to have a Write-In with my friend the book nerd, and I joked that I was going to do a #10k1day with her, but it turns out I actually have to do that because my job isn’t getting any less busy and I can’t exactly go to my boss like “hey I know you want to move me up in this company but can it wait a month so I can write a novel that won’t earn me any money? Thanks.”

So, Wrimos, I’m off to not write and do some Work Work and drink some coffee. See you all on the other side.

Book Review: The Ables

Very thought-provoking and fair review!

Pamela Wanderley

Cover image for The Ables by Jeremy Scott

Title:The Ables
Author: Jeremy Scott
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Length: 364 pages
Date Published: May 1, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links:Goodreads||Amazon

Synopsis

I did have fantastic hearing, mostly by virtue of being blind. But that couldn’t actually mean that he’s trying to tell me I have super powers, right? Because that would be ridiculous

It wasn’t the “sex talk” he expected. Phillip Sallinger’s dad has told him he’s a custodian—a guardian—and his genetically inherited power is telekinesis. He’ll learn to move objects with his mind. Excited to begin superhero high school until he discovers he’s assigned to a “special ed” class for disabled empowered kids, he suddenly feels like an outsider. Bullied, threatened, and betrayed, Phillip struggles, even as he and his friends—calling themselves the Ables—find ways to maximize their powers to overcome their disabilities, and are the first to identify the growing evil threatening humanity…

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Cinderella VS Cinderella: A Comparison

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Maybe it’s just us, or maybe it’s not, but when we think about fairy tales we think about Cinderella. The story is simple, it’s romantic, and it meets all the criteria for a classic tale that begs to be retold over and over again.

Consider, for a moment, Romeo and Juliet (bear with us). Romeo and Juliet is a story everyone knows. Even if you’ve never studied the play (though most of us with a high school education have), it’s become a cliche of pop culture to refer to all love stories as Romeo and Juliet, even though it’s arguably the worst love story ever, given the ending (and the beginning, and the middle…) Yet the star-cross’d lovers will live on in an eternity of retellings. Something about those two young lovers has gripped our collective psyche in the English-speaking world.

Cinderella is the Romeo and Juliet of fairy tales. “Cinderella story” is a synonym for “rags to riches story” that everyone knows. The 1950’s Disney Cinderella, in particular, is the iconic telling that everyone seems to default to, although there are plenty of retellings which are also well-loved by the public. In fact, this post is currently our most-viewed post ever, at the time of editing.

So when Disney chose to create a live-action version of this tale, surely no one was surprised – nor were we surprised when they decided not to change the basic narrative like they did with Sleeping Beauty. There’s still room for comparison, though, and we’ll begin with our protagonist.

Continue reading “Cinderella VS Cinderella: A Comparison”

A Whale’s Tale – SeaWorld & The Humane Economy

The take-down of Sea World is a cause very near to our hearts (three owns a BOYCOTT SEAWORLD long-sleeve tee which she wears in public too often). As children we used to visit Sea World almost every year, because we, like everyone else it seems, were enchanted with the beauty of the whales, dolphins, and other creatures we saw there. Like everyone else, we had to be taught better. Humanity is drawn to these animals, and we suppose it is ‘natural’ to want to contain them and view them at all times – this is why people comment on videos of wild animals saying things like “I want one” and “literally getting one of these as a pet”. No. No. No. It is possible to love something without trapping and abusing it for life, and this is what all animal lovers need to strive for.

Sea World ending its breeding program is a big victory, but there’s a lot of work to be done. If you don’t follow Animalista Untamed, we recommend you do, if you are interested in learning more.

Animalista Untamed

Did you hear that tremendous wave of sound reverberating around the planet on Thursday March 17th? You can’t have missed it because I swear it could be heard on the moon! It was the shout of joy from the global band of animal advocates when SeaWorld finally bowed to public pressure and made the momentous announcement that they would no longer breed orcas in captivity.

On that memorable day emails were pinging into my Inbox in rapid succession from different organisations all proclaiming “Victory!” Facebook and Twitter were ablaze. This was an historic moment in animal protection, worthy of celebration. On that same day writing in his blog, Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the US, called it “a game changer for our movement”. The orcas still at SeaWorld will be the last generation to suffer in confinement at their facilities.

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HSUS played a prominent role in bringing SeaWorld to this…

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The Swan Princess

This movie is one of the ultimate “what could have been” movies. Like. After a gigantic exposition dump, this is the first real part:

Great, right? I mean, they’d have to build on that a little because the “why” in why they’re suddenly in love needs some plumping up, but otherwise this a great start. Especially because this came out in 1994, the same year as The Lion King, just as chemistry between romantic animated couples was becoming important.

Continue reading “The Swan Princess”

How to Do a Bottle Episode

Counting down my top 4 favourite sitcom bottle episodes in this week’s Sitcom Special.

But wait… what is a bottle episode?

A bottle episode is an episode that takes place primarily in one setting, with minimal reliance on guest stars/non-regular cast members.

Last time I whined about disliking sitcom finales. But you know what? I love bottle episodes. (Even though Abed doesn’t). I love the crisp writing, the fact that they can’t rely on anything but their regular setting/characters/cast, and how those episodes perfectly encapsulate the tone of a series.

Continue reading “How to Do a Bottle Episode”

A Secret Garden of Reading

Gardening books!!! This will be where all my money goes this spring even though we get NO sun. 😦

Keeping Busy with B

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I love flowers. Duh.

I risked showing you my bad phone photography to prove how much I loved flowers in this post here. Flowers come up a lot in my baking too (the arrangement in exhibit A, the decoration in exhibit B, the wrappers in exhibit C and the cake stand in exhibit D). Even my logo is a flower.

Obviously, there is something missing in my life.

I don’t have a garden. Instead, I have a little patio just outside my apartment window that faces out onto our building’s back parking lot. It’s not much but each year I try to compensate by filling my outdoor space with plants and flowers. My apartment is filled with them too. It’s such a sweet and pretty space and I find tending it very fulfilling.

And yet…

When the weather starts to feel more spring-like, you’ll often find…

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Disney Cats

Let’s let Walt Disney talk about cats for a little bit.

So, we have some notes:

  1. Cats were actually domesticated in the Middle East, around the place and time that the agricultural revolution happened. Dogs were domesticated long before that, as dogs were happy to tag along while people were mostly still hunter-gatherer types. Cats didn’t see the benefit to sticking around until humans started mass-storing their food, which attracted lots of cat prey.
  2. Egyptians certainly did revere the cat, but at the same time would kill them (by cervical dislocation – not the LEAST humane way, but damn, that’s cold) and mummify them to sell.
  3. Rats are not enemies of humanity. Your Friend the Rat could have told you that.
  4. Plague is carried by fleas, and is itself just a bacterium.
  5. Whiskers are used to determine where prey is when the cat is very close to it – cats have very blurry eyesight that gets worse the closer they get to something.
  6. Cats don’t kill rats that noisily?
  7. Other animals persecuted when people decided everything was a witch: goats, dogs, probably everything, but mostly old women. People are terrible.
  8. The animation in this little excerpt is very nice, displaying cats as graceful and fluid in motion as we know them to be (sometimes). Disney films featuring animated cats don’t always showcase these qualities in their characters.

Let’s take a look at some of the cats who have appeared in Disney animated features over the years, shall we?

Continue reading “Disney Cats”