Showing posts with label Thought Corner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thought Corner. Show all posts

Monday, December 16, 2019

I Watched Klaus...

When I first heard about Klaus, I knew it was going to be something I wanted to watch, and it was as great a film as I thought it would be. The story was heartwarming and a little bittersweet at times. Overall it was fun and enjoyable to watch, and as a holiday film it worked.

Klaus follows the story of a (very reluctant and arrogant) postman named Jesper who, after disappointing his father, is stationed in a remote artic town called Smeerensburg. This film was kind of like an origin story, with themes of friendship and generational feuds balanced with the beginning of holiday traditions—particularly centered on the characters of Klaus and Jesper. From the start, it was a great premise to build on, and that’s exactly what Klaus does. From start to finish I was thoroughly engrossed in the movie. The voice acting was fantastic, and I can only describe it as expressive and fitting of the characters being portrayed. The attention to detail was something else. The animation was crisp and refined, and there were many scenes that were visually stunning. The style and lighting gave the film an almost hand-drawn feel. For instance, some of the texture found commonly in the background reminded me of pencil. Much of the film was colorful and vibrant, and it excelled at creating atmospheric environments that accurately portrayed the tone of any given scene—and the effect was simply an immersive experience. The character designs were unique and fit the overall style of the movie. The characters themselves were memorable, and at times some of the situations that occurred were on the more humorous side.

Klaus hit all the right notes in terms of animation and story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for something to watch this holiday season, then consider giving Klaus a try.

Have you watched Klaus? If so, what did you like about it?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I Watched Netflix's Raising Dion

Raising Dion is one of Netflix’s new series that came out in October, and I pretty much binge-watched all the episodes in two different sittings. This show took me by surprise. Before I saw some mention of it on my twitter timeline, I’d never actually heard of it, and boy I am glad that I gave it a try. Raising Dion was a great show. It had a great diverse cast of endearing characters. And while it had superpowers and supernatural elements, it was well balanced with the everyday aspects of a single mother trying to raise her young son in modern times with a villain who always seemed to be lurking at the edge of the next storm.

From the beginning, there was the mystery of how Dion got his powers. They were extraordinary, but they were also somewhat wild and hard for him to control. But I actually liked the angle they took with Dion’s character. He was allowed to be just a kid, and it is part of what made his character so engaging. It also set him apart from characters like Eleven from Stranger Things (there were a couple of references to Stranger Things in Raising Dion; I see what you did there, Netflix). By contrast his mother, Nicole Warren, had to be mature. She had to take the lead, because she didn’t have a choice. She was a widow after the death of her husband, Mark, and the show handled that quite well. It was never portrayed as being easy, even though Nicole had family and friends in the area. She dealt with things like trying to find and maintain a job—when scheduling interfered with things she needed to do for her son—as well as putting her son into a new school. Those little details of the ordinary day-to-day stuff, was a great contrast to the supernatural elements in the show.

Speaking of the supernatural elements, I liked how they were done in the show. Most of the setting where the show took place was urban, kind of city-like but also like a suburb, nothing really special about it. So when the supernatural aspects came in to play, it contrasted sharply with everyday life for the characters, which is part of what made it memorable. There were also limitations to what Dion could do, and since he was a kid, it sometimes manifested in childish and impulsive ways. But since he was a kid, and the show established that from the first episode, it was in-line with his character.

However that wasn’t all Raising Dion had to offer. As the show progressed, a few more mysteries cropped up here and there. Some of them had to do with what happened before the current timeline of the show—like what really happened to Mark—and I liked how it was all incorporated together.

Overall, Raising Dion is probably one of my favorite shows on Netflix to date. The end of the first season was satisfying enough…for now. I won’t reveal much about it, but I will say that the end posed some interesting questions about what would be ahead for the characters—so there was definitely enough potential for at least another season.

Have you watched Raising Dion? If so, let us know what you thought about it in the comments below. If not, does it seem like something you’d watch?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Sunshine Kitty by Tove Lo

Sunshine Kitty, Tove Lo’s fourth studio album, was released on September 20th. Out of everything I was looking forward to this year, it was my most anticipated album release of 2019 and the one I had the highest expectations for. I mean, the lead singles, Glad He’s Gone and Bad As The Boys, were excellent hints at what to expect from the rest of the album. In that regard, Sunshine Kitty delivered. I loved it. I liked every track from the album, which is a thing I rarely get to say, but in this case it’s true. What I liked most about Sunshine Kitty was the difference in the tone and sound of the music from earlier releases, like Lady Wood (2016) and Blue Lips (2017). However the same quality as the previous albums was also present here. It was electropop through and through, and it was undoubtedly an album by Tove Lo. There were also a number of songs with features on this album with artist like ALMA, Jax Jones, MC Zaac, Kylie Minogue, and Doja Cat. They were all excellent choices, and their collaborations were some of my top favorite songs from Sunshine Kitty—such as Equally Lost featuring Doja Cat, Bad As The Boys featuring ALMA, and Are U Gonna Tell Her? featuring MC Zaac. From start to finish, Sunshine Kitty was great. It was a solid album. And I’m looking forward to Tove Lo’s next project.

Have you listened to music by Tove Lo? Are you planning to listen to Sunshine Kitty?

Friday, August 30, 2019

Let's Talk About Dark Crystal...

Dark Crystal is a movie I’ve been hearing about for what seems like forever—along with Labyrinth, which I hope to watch soon too—and with Netflix’s upcoming prequel series, there seemed to be no better time than the present to get to it. So, my sister and I watched Dark Crystal.

I went in knowing next to nothing about the film—I didn’t look at the Wikipedia page for it or search for any reviews about it—which was intentional. I wanted to really experience the movie without being influenced by, well anything. And I just have to say it: I loved Dark Crystal. I get the hype now. Not only was it a solid fantasy adventure movie, but it had an incredibly interesting world. There was a real story there, and a lot of lore. Not to mention the overall design of the film was fantastic. The puppets were awesome, and I loved how unique and interesting the environments were: such as Aughra’s home (with the orrery), the swamp, and even the Skeksis’s castle. There were also other details like how some of the customs were introduced within the first twenty to thirty minutes, and demonstrated the stark contrast between the Skeksis and the urRu. It was by far one of my favorite introductions for not only the hero, but also the villains. As a result, it created such an immersive world, and I could go on and on about every little detail about the story and characters.

There was so much potential, and I genuinely don’t know why they stopped with one film when so much could have been done with the Dark Crystal universe. So I’m not mad about the Netflix series being a prequel. Let me explain. While watching Dark Crystal, I came away conflicted. While I wanted to know more about the story, I wasn’t necessarily sold on a sequel. Not because I didn’t want to revisit the world with the original set of characters. I just liked the way the movie ended. It was a satisfying conclusion to Jen’s story. However, because it’s such a fascinating world, I wanted to know more about what happened before the events of the original movie. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of answers were provided by Dark Crystal thanks to the air-tight narrative, but there were no flashbacks to directly accompany them. As such, a number of my questions have to do with the origins of the prophecy, what led up to the situation with the Gelflings, and more of the history of the Skeksis, etc.. And from the way the final trailer for Age of Resistance looks, it seems like the series might cover a lot of what I wanted to know.

Now more than ever, I’m excited to finally watch Labyrinth.

If you haven’t already seen the final trailer for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, I recommend that you do. The series is out today. Have you watched Dark Crystal? Are you planning to watch the prequel series?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Perks Of Watching The Movie And Reading The Book + Some Thoughts About Howl's Moving Castle...

2294528The other day, I was rereading one of my favorite novels (Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones) in an attempt to get out of a reading slump. I still love the story, and while I was reading it, it got me thinking about the perks of watching the movie or tv show and reading the book. All versions have something to offer, because it could mean seeing the story from slightly or drastically different ways (and I admit that it’s always nice to see a group of favorite characters come to life). It’s the differences that make the effort of finding all the adaptations worth it.

We used to occasionally do something like that as a feature on the blog called Movie-Book-Or-Both; although, the focus was on whether or not we liked the book as much as the movie or vice-versa, and less to do with the details that got lost in the adaptation process. In April of 2015, I first talked about Howl’s Moving Castle for that feature. And upon my reread of the book 4 years later, I found that I appreciated the story a whole lot more than I originally did.

I don’t need to explain Ghibli films. They’re well-known for their storytelling, gorgeous animation (in particular the scenery, character design, and the food). The films are memorable, and the characters are endearing. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the first Ghibli films I ever watched as a kid (the very first was Spirited Away), and the adaptation captures the feel of the story as well as much of the plot. But, there are some differences. For instance, in the movie version of Howl’s Moving Castle, some characters underwent changes. Such as Michael Fisher, Howl’s 15 year old apprentice in the book, being a child named Markl in the movie instead. Then there’s Sophie’s other younger sister, Martha, who wasn’t included at all. The sisters' story  is one of my favorite aspects of the book, and if I hadn’t gone beyond the movie, I would have never known I was missing anything to begin with. The changes aren’t bad, because they worked for the movie.

Another instance I can think of, just off the top of my head, is Ready Player One. I enjoyed the book, but the changes made to the narrative made for a great movie. I talked about this when I reviewed the movie HERE. Some of the things I said on that post can also be applied to my thoughts about Howl’s Moving Castle. Actually, it could likely be applied to most instances concerning this subject. However, I also have to look at the other side of this too, because I do acknowledge that some adaptations just aren’t as good as they could have been. In those cases, the changes—if there were any—and other factors, unfortunately worked against the story in whatever way.

Of course, what makes a good adaptation and a bad one is all subjective. What I like, someone else might absolutely hate. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

So, I haven’t always been good about reading the book to go along with those adaptations. However, the ones I have gotten around to have mostly turned out to be great reads. Have you read Howl’s Moving Castle or seen the movie? If so, what did you like about it?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Upcoming Music I'm Waiting For: Second Half Of The Year

Listen, there have been a lot of good albums released in the first six months of the year. Despite how many I’ve already listened to, there are many more I’ve yet to get to. I’m looking forward to the second half of the year and all the music that’ll be coming out before January 2020. Some of my favorite artists are back with new albums to be released sometime in 2019, and oh man, I’m so excited.

(**Note: “current singles to listen to from” = songs that are available to listen to from the upcoming albums.**)

lll by Banks 
Banks is back. It’s been about three years since The Altar was released, and I loved that album. Of course, Banks released two singles in 2017: Underdog and Crowded Spaces. Those were really good on their own. However, I’ve wanted another full album: a follow-up to The Altar. And it’s happening. Luckily, the wait won’t be too long since lll comes out on July 12, 2019.

Current singles to listen to from lll...
  • Gimme
  • Look What You’re Doing to Me

Charli by Charli XCX 
With songs like You (Ha Ha Ha), Take My Hand, and Black Roses, Charli XCX’s True Romance album is one of my favorite releases of 2013. Admittedly, I haven’t kept up with some of her more recent music. However, her new album, Charli, has caught my attention because of the collaborations with Lizzo, Troye Sivan, and others. Charli releases on September 13, 2019.

Current singles to listen to from Charli...
  • 1999
  • Blame It On Your Love

Sunshine Kitty by Tove Lo 
Out of all the music on this list, Sunshine Kitty is the album I’m most looking forward to. I have Tove Lo’s first three albums. She’s an artist I consistently listen to and buy music from. I am beyond excited for Sunshine Kitty. There’s no release day yet, but it says 2019. So, I have my finger’s crossed that the wait won’t be too long.

Current singles to listen to from Sunshine Kitty
  • Glad He’s Gone
You know, I’ve listened to both of Halsey’s albums—Hopeless Fountain Kingdom and Badlands—and I’ve liked them. So, I’m looking forward to Halsey’s next album (No name or release date yet).

There are, of course, many other albums coming out between July and the end of the year. However, these are the main ones I’m waiting for. What upcoming music are you waiting for? Or, what are some recent singles, albums, or eps you’ve listened to?

Friday, May 3, 2019

I listened to We Need to Talk by Tayla Parx

April already looked like a great month for music, because of Lizzo’s album—and I feel like I’ve been waiting for it since the beginning of the year. Then, I came across We Need to Talk by Tayla Parx. With Tayla Parx’s history of working with artists like Khalid, Ariana Grande, and more—as a songwriter or featured artist—I was very excited to listen to We Need to Talk. This album had a great sound. The composition of the tracks is solid, the lyrics are interesting, and the whole album is lively. It leaves a distinctively good impression and a craving for more music from Parx. Even the interludes and shorter tracks have their own uniqueness—like Disconnected and Happy Birthday—they made a strong impression, and I wished they were longer. Of course, there are a number of other songs that are as equally good as Disconnected. Including the opening track, I Want You, which serves as an easy intro and hints at what comes next, and the mellow vibe of Read Your Mind. Overall, We Need to Talk is an excellent album that showcases Parx's talent....

  • (We Need to Talk was released on April 5, 2019)

Have you listened to this album? If not, would you? If so, what do you think about it?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I Listened to Cuz I Love You by Lizzo + The B Side by Dainá....

It’s been a hot minute since I did a post entirely dedicated to some of the music I’m currently listening to that’s not weekly meme related. And with the arrival of Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You and Dainá’s The B Side this past Friday, I suddenly had a lot to talk about.

Cuz I Love You

With singles like Juice, Tempo, and Cuz I Love You, the hype for Lizzo’s long awaited album seemed endless on my end. Well, it’s finally here, and it doesn’t disappoint. From the first track to the last—with songs featuring Gucci Mane and Missy Elliott—Cuz I Love You is an experience. Lizzo’s powerful vocals pairs perfectly with the deep, meaningful, and inspiring lyrics prevalent throughout the album. The beats are excellent and catchy, and there isn’t a song I don’t like. You can almost hear the work that went into this album, and I appreciated every minute of it. Besides the well-known singles, there are a number of other noteworthy songs as well. For example: Like a Girl is snazzy; Jerome and Crybaby are like two-peas-in-a-pod with smooth beats and strong vocals; and Heaven Help Me noticeably features flute music and has an upbeat sound. Overall, Cuz I Love You was worth the wait. It’s the best album I’ve listened to so far this year...
  • (Cuz I Love You was released on April 19, 2019.)

The B Side

Also out last Friday was The B Side by Dainá. I’ve listened to and liked music by this artist before, and was excited for what she would do next. I'm not going to lie, for me, as an EP with just five songs, The B Side was a surprise weekend hit. It’s stylish and entertaining with songs like Say My Name, Stacks, and Dainero—with the latter being one of my favorite tracks from the EP. Overall, The B Side is great, and it left me wanting more music from Dainá....
  • (The B Side was released on April 19, 2019)

Have you listened to any music by Lizzo or  Dainá? Do you plan to listen to Cuz I Love You or The B Side?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Upcoming Music I'm Waiting For + Recent Releases I'm Listening To...

One of the topics I wanted to talk about before it got too late into 2019, is some of the upcoming music I’m looking forward to. Of course, we’re 3 months into year, and I can’t forget about the recent releases. There have been a number of excellent albums and singles that are already available, and some of them—like Lizzo’s Juice—have me excited for albums releasing in the coming months. So, I went on a music listening binge to see what I could find....

Upcoming Albums…

Cuz I Love You by Lizzo (April 19, 2019): This is probably my most anticipated album of 2019, because I’ve been waiting for more new music by Lizzo. I’ve already gotten that with singles like Juice and Cuz I Love You, which are excellent and catchy songs. If you haven’t listened to them yet, I highly recommend that you do. They have me hyped to see what the rest of the album has to offer. Luckily, the wait won’t be too long, because Cuz I Love You will be out in April 2019, and I can’t wait to listen to it.

Legacy! Legacy! By Jamila Woods (May 10, 2019): Recently, I’ve been into music by Jamila Woods. I like what I’ve already heard, and I’m also a fan of how the music videos for Woods songs are filmed and edited. As such, I’m looking forward to Legacy! Legacy!.

TBA (To be announced) 

***This is the section for untiled or upcoming albums that don’t have a concrete release date. However, there’s no reason why I can’t get excited about them now.***

Adele: I’ve liked Adele’s music in the past and am looking forward to her next album.

Rhianna: I’m still over here waiting for the follow-up to Anti. And you know what? I will wait for as long as I have to. 

October 2018 – March 2019 Recent Releases 

Don’t Feed the Pop Monster by Broods (February 1, 2019): I’m more of a casual listener when it comes to music by Broods. I had my favorite songs. Still, I was looking forward to their new album: Don’t Feed the Pop Monster. I like it. It’s cohesive and interesting, and offers a good listening experience. Now, I want to go back and give their earlier music a serious listen.

Saturn by Nao (October 26, 2018): I continue to enjoy music by Nao, and, unfortunately, when Saturn came out, I completely missed it. I have since rectified that and, you guys, Saturn is so good. I don’t know what else to say about it, because there are so many excellent songs on the album like: the titular Saturn, the catchy beat and lyrics of Love Supreme, and the phenomenal songs Orbit, Drive and Disconnect, Curiosity, and many more. 

So, that’s about it for today. I know this list will change as the year goes on, and more stuff is announced. However, for now, that’s it. What music are you listening to? Or, what are some of the upcoming 2019 albums you’re looking forward to?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Exploring Colored Pencils Part #2

Where I last left off, I mentioned that I was going to try the necessities set again to see if I would have any of the same issues I had with the fundamental pencils.

I tried another picture using the Necessities set using similar colors, facial features, and shadows to see if there would be a difference in how I felt about them. While this set doesn’t blend as well as the Prismacolor colored pencils, it does layer better than the Fundamentals. I was able to build my layers and deepen the shadows. I did have to work with them and preserve as much of my white-space on the page as possible—because the white pencil doesn’t do anything (I feel like this is becoming a bit of a theme)—that being said, they had a better color payout overall.

If I put the two images side by side, there are noticeable differences, especially when viewed in person. The one made with the Fundamentals set (on the right) looks flatter and the other (on the left) has more depth and a cleaner look overall.

To make the comparison’s a little clearer, here are some swatches. Looks like three shades of orange right? Well, the differences aren’t so easy to spot when they’re lined up side by side. However, when I did a quick blend test with orange, red, and pink of comparable shades, the differences become a little more obvious. The Prismacolor’s blend together with ease and I got a smoother transition between the three colors. The Necessities set all the way down at the bottom, did blend together. While the Fundamentals set didn’t have as bright a red, and when it came time to blend, it did so a little but on close inspection the transitions weren’t as smooth as they could be.

There are pros and cons to every set, but my final thoughts are that the Prismacolor Premier pencils—while a little pricey—are worth the cost because they fit well with what I mostly do. They blend easily, the colors are vibrant, and I can layer without feeling like I have to fight the pencils to get where I want to go. For my sketchbook, I’ll use the Necessities set, because I have them. They’re not bad. However, when looking at the prices of some of the other Artist’s Loft colored pencil sets online, if I’m going to spend $36, I’ll probably just go with Prismacolor. My thoughts about the the Fundamentals set hasn’t really changed. As such, I’ll still keep them, but they’re going to be reserved to very light uses.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Exploring Colored Pencils Part #1

I am by no means an expert at using colored pencils. I’m still learning the ins and outs. However, I have been playing around with them for a while and I’ve learned a few lessons over the past year or two based off of trial and error. And today, I want to compare the different brands of colored pencils I’ve used. 

Artist’s Loft Necessities

I received a set of these colored pencils within another set. And when I looked for them online, I didn’t see these specific ones. I was also a little surprised by how much the other sets by the same company actually cost. I mean, these aren’t too bad—and I can’t speak to how the other sets work—but I still wouldn’t go in expecting them to behave like a better known brand like Prismacolor. The Necessities have moderately vibrant colors. They show up well, and I like the look I was able to achieve with them. However, the white pencil doesn’t do much. So, preserving as much white-space on the page as possible was essential to having a good contrast between the light and dark areas. And, if you like a smoother look that doesn’t show obvious pencil marks, then this wouldn’t be the set to go with. However, these do have their uses, and overall, I like using them.

Prismacolor Premier

Of course with all art mediums, it takes time to develop a piece from start to finish. These colored pencils are no different. However, the effort was worth it, because the end product for the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils is by far my favorite of the bunch. Prismacolor is the best set of colored pencils I currently own. They can be expensive, but these pencils have a lot to offer that makes them worth their price. The colors are very vibrant. They blend well even without a blender pencil. It’s also relatively easy to create depth with a strong contrast between light and dark, and I can achieve a smoother gradation between the colors. If you want a smooth finish with little to no pencil marks, then this set would be a good one to start with.

Artist’s Loft Fundamentals

When I decided to do this post, I knew I was going to go use at least three sets of colored pencils I had in order to compare the pros and cons between each one. And this list couldn’t be complete without Artist’s Loft’s Fundamentals colored pencils. And…whew, it was a rollercoaster trying to use these for anything other than sketches.

Honestly, this was probably one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had with colored pencils in a very long time. As I was building the layers, I noticed that it was creating an effect that looked similar to cereal milk—specifically Lucky Charm cereal milk, after all the colors have bled off the marshmallows and mixed together. And the shadows weren’t where I wanted them to be. I resorted to using black to try and deepen the colors. One thing I noticed with the Fundamentals set is that once you have one layer of color down and you try to go over with another shade…yeah, don’t. By the time I actually reached the hair and the background stage, I actually thought about cheating and using the other Artist’s Loft set to try and fix the areas that were particularly egregious. But, I was committed to the process and decided to tough it out for the sake of this post.

Don’t get me wrong, the final image looks fine. I can achieve something with these pencils, but I, by far, prefer the Necessities set if I’m going to use Artist’s Loft colored pencils. In the end, theses are going to be reserved for paint use instead—they’re pretty light and don’t show through as much after additional color from another medium has been added on top.

But then, my co-blogger pointed out that the shadows aren’t as deep on the Necessities picture as the other two. For the sake of being impartial, I decided to go for a second round with the Necessities pencils to see how they worked on a picture with sharper shadows. But, that’ll have to wait for the second part, because this post is long enough as it is. So, part 2 will have more art, some swatches, and my final thoughts about these pencils.

Do you regularly use colored pencils? What’s your favorite brand?

Monday, December 31, 2018

End Of The Year Thoughts (2018)...

So, it’s New Year’s Eve. At midnight tonight, 2018 will be officially over. And with a New Year literally on the horizon, new possibilities are coming right along with it. But before 2018 is over, I want to take a look back at the blogging year I’ve had. Last time I did this type of post, I didn’t have many topics to discuss other than the changes I made to how I blogged and what I blogged about. As such, I don’t have much to say about that, because I spent 2018 continuing on with some of those changes by blogging about whatever I wanted including books, movies, music, food, and art.

So, how did those resolutions go?

Uh…okay. Here’s the thing: 2018 has been a rollercoaster of high and low points, and even the best plan has the capacity to change. Inevitably they do. And you know what? I’m totally fine with what I got done this year. I finished reading some of the series I wanted to get to such as: the first 3 novels of Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex series, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, as well as the last book of The Winternight Trilogy, The Winter of the Witch. There are many books I still want to read, but I fully acknowledge that it won’t happen in 2018. I’m not sad about it either, because I have time and books don’t expire or spoil like fruit. So, I’m good. I also read some poetry books. I started a new sketchbook but didn’t finish any. However, the one I’m currently using is spiral bound and I really love the paper. I also updated the look of the blog and made it more cohesive by changing out old post graphics to fit with the new header. The old birdcage rating system has not come back, and I don’t see it returning in the near future.

The Library…

Besides my resolutions, I also wanted to try more books by authors I wasn’t familiar with and tackle some backlist titles I wanted to read. So inevitably I used my local library more this year because of that. The library is truly great. Because when I do go out and buy physical copies of books to have on my shelf—like Spinning Silver and Why We Sleep—going to the library first takes away some of the guesswork behind choosing what to get. By then, I’ve already read them and know I love them.

Oh, and one last thing…

I’ve thought about it over time, and I realized resolutions are just personal goals. If they get done: then YAY, pat on the back. And if they don’t, well, there’s always another year to try again. And I tried this year: so another pat on the back.

Goodbye 2018, you won’t be missed....

Friday, October 19, 2018


I've been waiting for Netflix’s Hilda to come out since I first heard about it on Twitter a while ago. And, this show was delightful. I loved it. I got through most of the series in one day, because once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. Hilda is a show filled with a number of shining qualities. At times, Hilda dealt with serious topics—like the fear of moving to new places, etc.—while also maintaining a balance with lighthearted and fun moments. It was full of charm and whit with excellent dialogue, good animation, and characters I can’t help but want to see more of. Cough, clears throat…Netflix, I need a season two…cough-cough….

One of my favorite things is when fantasy elements—like magic or creatures—sits side by side with the ordinary, and I saw that a lot in this show. Hilda also had some major Gravity Falls vibes going on. And don’t get me wrong, the shows are their own separate things. What I mean by the comparison is the way the fantastical elements were integrated right into seemingly ordinary settings. With Hilda, the attitude toward those elements was a sort of general acceptance with those aspects being just another part of the world at large. And that mindset was more evident the farther into the series I got.

Speaking of the show design, I have to talk about it. It worked so well with the character design—particularly for the elves and giants, etc—as well as the background environments in each scene. And I like the fact that when the characters were small on screen, they were just miniaturized and simplified versions of themselves while maintaining the original integrity of the designs.

Another thing I enjoyed was the overall story. I liked each episode and the lessons Hilda learned through the adventures she went on and the other characters she met. While the focus was on Hilda, the relationship she had with her mother was one of the best things about the show. I liked how involved her mother was—that she knew about Hilda’s “friends” and accepted that—as well as her ability to listen to her daughter when she needed to talk/how they worked through their issues. I was also a huge fan of the secondary characters as well as the elves. They—the elves—were cute and reminded me of stick figures in clothes. I also enjoyed the occasional moments of fourth wall comedy.

Overall, Hilda was a great show. And if you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend that you do. And, you know, it’s October. And Hilda is a fall-ish kind of show with supernatural themes perfect to watch during this time of year....

Have you watched Hilda? If so, what are some of your favorite moments? And, if not, would you give the show a try?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Recent Nonfiction Reads....

I’m very behind on writing reviews for the nonfiction books I’ve been reading. So, today, I’m going to compile my thoughts into a single post and talk about all three of the books I recently—and not so recently—checked out from the library.

Farming and the Food Supply by Debra A. Miller

Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; hardcover
Author: Debra A. Miller
Publisher/Publication Date: Greenhaven Press; June 21, 2011

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My Thoughts: When I think of global warming, the usual things that come to mind are extreme weather patterns and a rise in the annual, global temperature to name just a few. So, I was interested in reading more about how global warming would affect the food supply, which is what led me to Farming and the Food Supply by Debra A. Miller. This book had information from several sources; although, the majority cited a report put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007. Farming and the Food supply was published in 2011, so some of the information could be a little outdated.  It was still an interesting read that made a lot of good points about the subject. Farming and the Food Supply also did a good job at talking about a broad range of subjects all with the common denominator of food/food supply, global warming, and the impact that food production has on the environment as well as potential solutions. All in all, this book was a good introduction to the subject. And if you’re looking or willing to delve further into researching the topic, there was also a handy section—page 117 to 123—that lists a number of different sources (like books, periodicals, websites, etc.) for further research.

Undercover Operation by Edna McPhee

Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; hardcover
Author: Edna McPhee
Publisher/Publication Date: Lucent Press; August 12, 2017

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My Thoughts: I liked this book. It was a quick read that went over some of the basic details of how undercover operations are conducted as well as some of the history. There was mention of people like Mary Bowser, Sam Davis, and Mata Hari just to name a few. There was also a chapter for different types of investigations and another for technology. I do have to say that some sections of the book were more technical than others. And like with Farming and the Food Supply, it was more of a book to give a general idea of things while if I want to read something with more technical details, I would have to look elsewhere. Despite that, Undercover Operations was a good book.

American Art Deco by Carla Breeze

Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; hardcover
Author: Carla Breeze
Publisher/Publication Date: W.W. Norton Company; July 17, 2003

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My Thoughts: Out of the three nonfiction books I read, American Art Deco was probably my top-favorite. If you follow me on Instagram, I mentioned this book a while ago. It was the second book I read about Art Deco, and unlike the first one, American Art Deco focused on the US iteration of the architectural style. It discussed influences and buildings/art from around the country. It was a thoroughly eye-opening and fascinating read. I also drew some pencil sketches while reading American Art Deco. I’ll eventually talk about that page on a different blog post, but for now, if you want to see it, it’s on my Instagram…. 

So, those are the last three nonfiction books I’ve read. I do want to read more about some of these topics. What are some of your recent nonfiction or fiction reads?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Some Thoughts On Ready Player One (2018)

I finally watched Ready Player One. Before that, I read the book—my review—and was surprised by how much I liked it. And based off the trailers and feedback from my sister—who saw the movie before I did—I was expecting to like it. I don’t know why I was so worried, because I did enjoy the movie. And now I have a confession to make: I liked the movie more than the book. Usually, the book and movie are on equal footing, but in this case, I’m leaning more toward the latter. It was due to the changes. There were a lot of noticeable changes between the book and the movie adaptation, particularly the challenges and how the keys were found. However, I liked those changes. It had more of an emotional impact later on, because it put the some of the characters together sooner than the events in the book allowed. Even so, the 2018 movie adaptation remains true to the basic premise of the book.

The visual effects were on point. It was one of the aspects I liked best about Ready Player One as demonstrated by the transition from a more real-world setting to the virtual one, and one of the first major scenes to take place in the OASIS. There was no background track except for the noise to match what was happening on-screen. It was pure, fast-paced, chaotic adrenaline. And I loved it. There was a lot of action and a heaping dose of pop culture references with everything from the Iron Giant, Overwatch, Halo, and even a Batmobile just to name a few. For a movie of its kind—one that basically takes place in a virtual reality, video game-esque world—the references from other media franchises just sort of worked.

So, there was a lot I liked about Ready Player One movie. It managed to balance the story with narrative changes, good acting, and spectacular visual effects. It made for an enjoyable movie. And while the end is pretty complete—just like the book—I would be open to a Ready Player One 2 book or movie. Or should I say Ready Player Two?

Have you read Ready Player One or seen the movie? If so, what are your thoughts about it?

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