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”

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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”

Spice World What is This Even

Or, when the rabbit of chaos is pursued by the ferret of disorder through the fields of anarchy, it is time to hang your pants on the hook of darkness. Whether they are clean or not.

Nobody can really claim that this movie is, like, brilliant, but we watched it all the time as kids and sometimes those nostalgia goggles can be useful for a few things.

Because apart from the nonsensical subplots, random cameos, bizarre flights of fancy into alternate universes, and weird, sexually-harassing aliens, this movie is about female friendship and there are like two movies that are about female friendship – at least, lightheartedly.

Continue reading “Spice World What is This Even”

CrossCountry Canada

(image from Vice’s review)

It was always a good day at school when our teachers would inform us that for today’s geography/civics/computer class, we’d be playing CrossCountry Canada.

We’re three years apart, but the curriculum stayed relatively similar over those years in terms of teachers relying on this game to teach us how Canada works. And how driving works.

Nobody complained, of course. This game was a lot of fun, mostly because we were left to our own devices and had to learn all of the cool things we could do on our own, like listening to weather reports, eating at restaurants, sleeping in hotels or just in the truck, speeding, etc. Continue reading “CrossCountry Canada”

Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo

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So, I’ve decided against my better judgement to do this again.

I’ve won NaNo before, so I remember exactly how tough it is to finish. But I have no excuse not to because my Regular Job is a Regular Job and isn’t going anywhere and I have to somehow write anyway, don’t I? No?

I have a sort-of idea. I’m trying to flesh it out using the Snowflake Method. It’s my first time trying it, so we’ll see. Being well-planned may interrupt my process, or it may help it.

So hopefully I at least have that ready to go by April 1. Continue reading “Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo”

How to End a Sitcom

Though erm disdains sitcoms and everything they stand for, I, three, love sitcoms. For one thing, they’re familiar – you have the same settings, same characters, and long-term storylines that you feel a connection to. For another thing, you can pick up any episode of a sitcom and watch it at any time, without investing in the whole series. The art of writing a stand-alone episode that fits into a larger puzzle of a season which fits into a mosaic of a series is fascinating to me.

Basically, I watch and rewatch sitcoms because I’m an HSP and I don’t like to be overwhelmed on my downtime.

Having said that, I usually forego the last episodes. Unless I feel like being devastatingly depressed for 3 days.

Though they are emotionally traumatic, series finales tend not to live up to the quality of the rest of the series. They are openly nostalgic about themselves. The writers and cast members have been part of the show for almost a decade, in all four of my examples, and even the best writers don’t seem to be able to write a finale that lives up to a series you might see in another genre. They tie up loose ends because they are too weak not to, and because they know the audience will eat it up anyway.

In this Sitcom Special, I’ll go through the finales of my four favourite sitcoms, for comparison and for fun and also just to annoy my sister. Continue reading “How to End a Sitcom”

The Little Mermaid

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When I (erm) was in school, I had one of those Profs you hear about and usually aren’t fortunate enough to have – really charismatic, effortlessly makes the subject matter relatable and important (even if it’s modernist literature. Seriously.), you don’t take any notes because you just want to sit there and listen to the lecture forever, etc.

One of my favourite lectures* of his was on Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a collection of fairy tales re-imagined and reworked into more adult stories. He started by showing us the trailer for Beauty and the Beast’s super-special-awesome-chocolatey-covered-awesome-super edition DVD/bluray release** or whatever it was, and made some snarky comments about both Disney and Beauty and the Beast specifically, as you do. I don’t remember what they were, but at least one of them had something to do with Disney women characters always being non-agents. To his credit he mentioned Mulan – or at least, someone did, and he admitted that later Disney may have started to change that up, but early Disney right through the Renaissance did not have particularly active women. Someone must have piped up with, “Well, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, etc, etc” because he said this (paraphrasing now):

“Look, I haven’t seen it” (he quite clearly implied on multiple occasions that he wouldn’t watch animated films, because, adult. Sigh. Academics.) “But I bet that she lives in this magical world, and everything’s really beautiful, and she has a family that she’s close with, and then there’s a man, and she instantly falls in love with him, and then she gives everything up to go and be with him with barely a backwards glance.” Continue reading “The Little Mermaid”

Fairies, Trolls, & Magic All Around.

Awww, sometimes we all need the “cloyingly sweet!”

C.M. Blackwood

Sometimes, we all need a little magic. As for me — well, I’m customarily in need of a LOT of magic. I’ve watched Don Bluth’s A Troll in Central Park twice this week. The film is, apparently, “widely considered to be Bluth’s worst film.”

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I don’t get it. TV Guide said that the movie is “pastel-pretty and cloyingly sweet,” and that it’s “strictly for the youngest members of the movie-going audience.”

Hmmm. I guess I’m not very mature! Oh, well.

The movie’s about a troll named Stanley, who gets kicked out of Queen Gnorga’s kingdom for growing flowers with his green thumb. He lands in Central Park, befriends two young children, and eventually ends up having to save them from the evil Gnorga.

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It’s a beautiful movie. Perhaps, you won’t agree with me. Perhaps you’ll agree with TV Guide, and say that it’s “cloyingly sweet.”

But I like things like that. They…

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The Secret Life of Lionel Richardson (Oops, I mean…)

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The Secret Life of Violet Grant: A historical romance about 2 simultaneously historical characters, one in 1964 and one in 1914. I found this to be a quick, light read, engaging and fun, but kind of annoying in the end.

Before I explain why this book bugged me a little bit, I’ll start with the positives, because I did finish reading it and I did enjoy it.

Spoilers past this point.
Continue reading “The Secret Life of Lionel Richardson (Oops, I mean…)”