Sunday, December 28, 2014

Annie

*Note on January 6, 2015:  I published this originally on December 28, but then the font got all funky when I published it.  Tried to fix it, but then I just ended up taking it down without ever putting it back up.  Oh well.  I'm re-posting it as originally published so that it's not lost in the bowels of my blog.

Considering how close we are to the end of 2014 (geez, I just got used to not writing 2013 at the end of my dates!), this will probably be my last post of the year.  I'll try to make this one count.  This past Friday I watched Annie, a musical with which most of you are probably already familiar, so I don't feel the need to give you any kind of blurb about the plot.  I've always loved Annie (most preferably the 1999 version in my case) and I was very interested to see how the story would be remade today.  As far as remakes go, the 2014 version doesn't stray too far from what I remembered from other adaptations - with the striking difference in casting, of course.  (I want to briefly applaud the movie for casting African American actors as the ones playing the leads this time around, something that unfortunately we don't always get to see in mainstream movies.  If the 2014 movie doesn't do it for you, you should at least give it credit for that.)

Since it is a musical, the most important thing that should probably be addressed is the singing.  The voice of Quvenzhan√© Wallis (playing Annie) was beautiful, as it should have been.  I liked her voice best when she sang "Opportunity," which is one of the songs unique to the 2014 movie.  Jamie Foxx pleasantly surprised me with his singing voice, a very rich but also sweet sounding voice that I liked listening to a lot.  Cameron Diaz disappointed me with her rendition of "Little Girls."  I actually wondered if she could carry a tune, because she seemed to talk more than sing in that particular song.  However, she sang pretty well in later songs, so I'm left wondering what was up with that first performance.  I loved hating her character during the "Little Girls" scene in the previous adaptation, as well as the "Easy Street" scene.  Both of those songs kind of flopped for me in the 2014 movie.  The other songs were done decently, but some of them seemed to be cut short or skipped altogether, and for what reason?  I had a hard time figuring that out, since it is supposed to be a musical as far as I can tell.


There were a few interesting twists to the 2014 movie that didn't have to do with the fact that it's a modern-day retelling.  One of them is Cameron Diaz's character, Annie's foster mom, who is presented in a more sympathetic light than I'm used to seeing her in.  Another was the fact that Annie couldn't read, which I thought should have been played with a little more to help build up her relationship with Will Stacks.  Overall I liked the movie because I inherently like the story of Annie and, despite the new setting, this movie was relatively faithful to it.  I had fun seeing actors I'm familiar with playing the characters I already loved, and I also had a few laughs throughout.  It's a cute movie - perhaps not a mind-blowing rewrite, or a perfectly executed remake in terms of singing performance, but still a cute movie.  Annie has the feel-good vibe that can make for a pleasant time if you decide to see it, even if it's not exactly a need-to-see film.  Whether you do watch it is up to you.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Big Hero 6

November came so close to not having a single post!  Whew, cutting it close.  Anyway, I'm here to talk about the animated movie Big Hero 6, which I had been itching to see ever since I saw the first preview.  For a while things kept getting in the way of me seeing it, and when I finally set a day to watch it with my dad, I was so excited.  Yet, when I first sat down in the theater, I had a brief, awful panic in my chest that the movie I had been so pumped for might well just be another silly kid's movie, and that I would have nothing interesting to post about in my blog.  I am glad to say that I had no reason to panic, because Big Hero 6 has the depth, heart, humor, and excitement to be genuinely appreciated by people of all ages.

There were a lot of likable characters, but I'll start with my favorite: Baymax, the robotic care provider that looks like the world's most huggable marshmallow and the thing that I want most for Christmas (I'm looking at you, Dad!).  He was the reason for most of my laughs during the film, thanks to his guilelessness and innocence, and how he (sometimes literally) bounces off of the world around him.  The lovable and sweet Baymax was created by Tadashi, the older brother of the other protagonist Hiro, who has a genius that rivals that of Tony Stark.  When Hiro gets caught up with a mysterious man who has stolen his microbots, he upgrades Baymax and his other friends (who, by the way, are gloriously nerdy) to a superhero status to capture the thief.  Of course the action that is inevitably involved with the creation of a team of genius superheroes is fun to see, but the movie does more than show cool fight scenes.

There is a point that is surprisingly darker than what I would have expected from an animated movie.  I obviously won't go into detail to avoid spoilers, but I was impressed at how unafraid the movie was to confront the gruesome reality of the pain, resentment, and even vengeance that human nature is capable of.  At the same time, the movie does not stray from its morals, thanks in large part to being grounded in Baymax, whose sole purpose is to heal and to care.  I felt as many emotional moments as I did funny moments, which is why I can honestly say that Big Hero 6 is more than just another kids' movie.  Personally, I think anyone who watches this movie and doesn't at least come close to crying is a soulless being who has no business reading my blog.  With its sweet humor, awesome characters, and unexpected twists to the plot, Big Hero 6 has won my heart.  I even got a new favorite catch phrase from it, thanks to a strong-willed, feisty female character who tells everyone they need to "Woman up!"  Yeah, definitely going to make that my life's motto.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Giver

Clearly I need to go to a theater or a bookstore more often, because my posts have gotten more and more infrequent.  ANYWHO, I have a little announcement before I get into my book review today: my poem "Missing Language" has been posted on BOP Journal, so be sure to check that out.  Again, I'm under the pseudonym "Juliette Chavez."  What do you guys think of that?  Should I use it for future publishing?  If you're a writer, poet, musician, or artist from age 13-21, you are more than welcome to submit your works as well.  If you're not one, but you know someone who is, send them the link.  They're always looking for submissions.

Now we get to the serious business, namely THE GIVER by Lois Lowry.  (Note: this is the review of the book, not the movie, which from what I can tell is almost completely different.)  Jonas the main character lives in a "perfect" society where there is no war, no pain, and no memories (with the exception of one person - the Receiver of Memory).  Jonas is selected by the Elders to be the new Receiver of Memory, who is the only one who knows what life was like "back and back and back."  As Jonas learns just how much was sacrificed to make the sameness of current society possible, important questions emerge.  If people are allowed to choose, and they choose wrong, is it better to not let them choose at all?  Are all the good things (love, affection, beauty) worth giving away along with the bad things (war, suffering, pain) in order to make a society that experiences neither?  Besides these provocative questions, there is something even bigger that I noticed also woven into the world that Lowry has created.

Before I get into that though, I want to briefly establish what standpoint I'm speaking from.  Scripps has not been afraid to confront me with the violence that subtly persists in our society in ways that a lot of us take for granted.  In our society, there is a lot of systematic violence (i.e. people of color are disproportionately represented in incarcerated populations) as well as forms of micro-aggression (i.e. asking an immigrant when they're going back home).  This has been frequently pointed out to me during my time in college.  I was disturbed to see parallels between the completely government-run, decision-free, ordered society of Jonas and our society now.  For instance, the current Receiver of Memory (renamed the Giver) tells Jonas that people used to have different skin colors, but today genetic scientists have made it so that "flesh is all the same."  Given that Jonas has begun to see the "red tones" in people's faces (and the fact that the whole cast for the movie is white), I think it's probably safe to say that everybody in this universe is white.  I'm just going to let that sink in for a little bit.  All of the people of color have essentially been wiped out?  Yup, I think that's what it means.  Just like society has been trying to do since time began (if you disagree please look to Native American history for just one example)?  Oh yeah.

Are there any disabled people in the community?  If they "release" a baby from the community because of its lower birthweight, the answer is probably no.  Old people?  Also released, after a certain time.  Why is anyone who is different released?  Because we need to create order.  We can't have anyone shaking things up.  We have precise language.  We have rules.  We have safety.  We have sameness.  If you don't measure up to our standards, you're out.  As I learn more about the (invisible) racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, and other -isms that operate today, I realize that in our world minorities are removed/oppressed as silently, discreetly, and horribly as they are in The Giver world.  Perhaps the methods are different, but most of the characters are as unaware of the violence as many of us in the real world.

Now, I know this seems more like a rant about how society is terrible than an actual book review, but I actually think this is a good thing.  This book got me thinking.  A lot.  Perhaps not exactly in the direction that Jonas takes (although I certainly thought about that as well), but the book makes an impact either way.  If I'm still rolling my mind around the universe that Lowry magnificently fabricates in The Giver, I take it as a good sign that it deserved its Newberry Medal.  What's left for me now is to watch the movie whenever I get the chance to rent it.  I think I'll have to look at it as its own story, rather than an accurate adaptation of the book, in order to appreciate it when I review it.  If you have found anything in this post to be problematic or exclusionary (I left out quite a few things in my society rant), please comment below and let me know.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

BOP Journal

Ermagersh, has it been more than a month since I've posted?!!!  I would have made this post weeks ago, but I waited for an important reason, I promise!  Okay, so y'all know how I submit my writing to journals, contests, etc. every once in a while and that sometimes I get published and sometimes I don't.  Well, during the summer, I heard about an online journal for amateur writers, artists and poets from the Career Planning & Resources office of my college.  It was being started up by an alum who was looking for pioneer posts, some from Scrippsies (like me!).

So, I submitted a short story (titled "The Day My Dad Wanted a Son") that I wrote for Father's Day (I am the fruit of your loins, Dad!).  I also submitted two poems that I had workshopped with my poetry class last semester at Pomona.  One can only imagine the thrill I felt reading the editors' positive feedback and the awesome news that my short story and one of my poems would be some of the FIRST EVER posts on their site.  The second poem may or may not be published later, and I'll let you guys know if it is.  The link to the story is here and the link to the poem is here.  The poem is a bit weirdly formatted because an image comes immediately after the first word of the first line.  Try to ignore that.  Just to let you know, I am under the pen name "Juliette Chavez," so when you see that name under the title, it's not a mistake.  If you're a writer or an artist, you should think about submitting some of your own stuff, too.

Again, I would have posted sooner, but the site literally just went live a couple days ago and I was on a retreat to Catalina Island until today.  At any rate, I'm really happy to finally have the chance to share the news with everyone who follows this blog.  God bless you and have a great day!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

At first, I didn't intend on seeing this movie.  I had never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy before, and adventures in space were never my kind of movie.  However, because it was Marvel and Marvel hasn't yet disappointed me, I decided to give it a chance.  Oh boy, I am so glad I did!  In terms of other Marvel movies, I don't think it's my absolute favorite (it is going to be quite a feat to butt the Avengers out of first place for me).  However, it is at the very least on par in terms of action, humor, and awesome characters.

Let me start off with Peter Quill, the main character of the story.  My sum up: he is the Tony Stark of the Guardians.  Personality-wise the two are practically the same.  There's even a point where Quill acts really, really heroic… and then he ruins the moment by being cocky.  Thankfully Quill is given depth in ways that I won't spoil for you, and his story hit me in the chest several times in the movie.  Next is Gamora, who is a noble, strong, and all-around epic warrior.  With the severely low numbers of Marvel women, I enjoyed seeing her fighting skills and her strength of character, despite all the suffering she has endured under her adopted father Thanos.

Then there's Rocket, by far the one with the best lines.  He's funny, he's brilliant, and he's so skilled with his giant guns that he can blast EVERYTHING to smithereens.  Next is Drax, whom I personally don't find to be that memorable of a character, although he still was the cause of several good laughs during the movie.  This guy is really, really literal.  Finally, we have Groot.  FAVORITE. CHARACTER.  Groot is adorable and powerful and wonderful and selfless.  Dad, you should be proud of me for choosing a tree as my favorite character rather than the best-looking guy of the group…

… Speaking of which, I need to address this really quickly before I give my concluding thoughts: does Chris Pratt (who plays Star-Lord) look ridiculously like Derek Theler (who plays a character on a show that I watch but no one else does)?  Or is it just me?

Chris Pratt

Derek Theler

Whelp, either way...

My admiration of good-looking men aside, Guardians of the Galaxy is funny, entertaining, dramatic, and heartfelt.  It is worth seeing, especially if you are into the Marvel movies already.  The best part is that it is a continuation of the infinity stones plot line that we've seen in other Marvel movies (Avengers & Thor 2), yet it still works as a stand-alone film.  So go see it.  You'll have fun, I promise.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Begin Again

The movie Begin Again opens with a scene of Greta (played by Keira Knightley) reluctantly performing a song she wrote in a bar.  One of the only listeners is Dan, a down-and-out music producer (played by Mark Ruffalo) who appears just at the end of Greta's song, smiling like it's the best thing he's ever heard.  The movie rewinds to the beginning of Dan's day, to show him estranged from his wife and daughter, and being kicked out of his label by his longtime partner.  The movie goes right back up to the bar scene, and at first I was afraid that there was going to be a boring, unnecessary replay of the first scene.  Thankfully, however, I was pleasantly surprised with what turned out to be one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Instead of just seeing Greta play the song on the guitar all over again, I saw Dan mentally adding other instruments to the song, enhancing it to a whole new level.  This brief description doesn't do the scene justice, but I assure that it was both beautiful and impressive storytelling.  Dan and Greta's friendship begins here, and together they produce an album - not in the studio, but in random outdoor places all over New York City.  I couldn't guess where the story was going, which was great because that made it unpredictable enough to keep me interested.  Their characters - Dan's especially - were more complex than I had initially guessed.  Their love stories with their respective partners were painful and complicated, which makes them very different from the usual rom-coms I go for.

In addition to all this, there was the music.  Oh, the music!  My parents saw this movie before I did, and I already fell in love with the songs when Dad starting playing them from the Begin Again album.  I liked them even better in the context of the movie, when my dad went to see it again with me.  If you don't watch the movie, you should at the very least listen to the music to hear what I'm talking about.  "Lost Stars" and "Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home" are my personal favorites.  Have I mentioned that Adam Levine from Maroon 5 is in this movie?  Well he is, and I will tell you now that while he is a great singer, he does not look good in a beard.  Random, but true.

The only complaint I have with this movie, and the warning I give to you now before you decide to see it: there is a lot of cursing in it.  My dad didn't notice (even after watching it the second time) that they say the s-word or the f-word in basically every other sentence.  It makes me wonder how good of a Christian he is :P  Kidding, Dad!  You were probably right when you said that I most likely noticed because I'm a writer and I pay close attention to the dialogue.  Anyway, the cursing aside, Begin Again is quite a movie if you like stories about music, complex characters, and, well, beginning again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

Cassius:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

In his novel The Fault In Our Stars, John Green sets out to prove Cassius wrong (which I applaud, because from what I remember from 10th grade English, Cassius is a total poop-face).  Hazel and Augustus' story is not one about cancer, which has at least at some point been a major fault in their stars, yet has not been the maker of who they are.  Many people have said this story isn't about cancer, and after reading the book and seeing the movie for myself, I must concur.  Hazel's voice throughout is authentic, and honest, and realistic - without becoming pessimistic.  While I'll freely admit that although I have spent a lifetime consuming the sappiest kind of romances that Hollywood and authors have to offer, it was refreshing to experience the tragic yet truthful storytelling in The Fault In Our Stars.

Even though there are plenty of heartbreaking aspects to TFIOS, I found a surprising amount of humor as well.  The characters are funny people, people whom I believe I would genuinely enjoy hanging out with if they were real.  If the romance between Hazel and Gus isn't Hollywood-perfect (turns out the world isn't a wish-granting factory), it is still a beautiful and well-developed relationship.  There are a multitude of really great lines and moments woven throughout TFIOS.  One moment in particular is when Augustus explains to Hazel why he always has a cigarette in his mouth without lighting it: "It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing."  Augustus is really big on metaphors, which as a literary geek I can definitely resonate with.

Finally, there's the matter of Movie vs. Book, the Battle of the Ages.  It's rare when I find the film to be a good/accurate adaptation of the book: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Hunger Games, and most recently The Fault In Our Stars.  There are some details changed, but they are minute and do not make or break the movie.  The most interesting thing was that both my Grandma and I cried at different parts in the movie than in the book.  I suppose you experience scenes and emotions differently when you see them take place on the screen instead of a foggy corner of your mind.

So all in all, I'd say both the book and the movie are genuinely great, and as long as you have a box of tissues nearby, I say you should definitely go to experience both.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Let me say right off the bat that if How To Train Your Dragon 2 isn't better than the original as a lot of people have been saying, it is at the very least on par with it.  It's been too long since I've seen the first one for me to give a definitive opinion on which is better, but I can say each movie is great in its own way.  In the thrilling, heart-squeezing sequel that I saw this past week, Hiccup is trying to figure out who he is as he's caught between his father's expectation of the perfect future chief and the mystery of a mother that he's never met.  While he's having identity issues, a new villain is gathering a dragon army, rivaling Hiccup's unofficial status as the master of dragons.

As cool as all the action is, this movie had a way of making my heartstrings sing (with all kinds of emotions, and in all kinds of ways).  Be prepared for things to get emotional, my readers.  I won't say anything else for fear of giving away spoilers.  I wasn't laughing my butt off for the whole movie or anything (in fact it was a preview of Penguins of Madagascar that really had me cracking up), but if the movie is not primarily known for its comedy I think that's okay.  I know I at least laughed a few times.  Hiccup and Astrid's interactions were cute, although they didn't have as much as they did in the first movie.  I can definitely forgive that though, because there was so much else going on that there was really no time or energy to have more Hiccup/Astrid stuff.

The coolest part for me was the continued parallelism between Hiccup and Toothless that you could see in the first HTTYD.  You can see both of them coming into their own as the movie progresses, which I really appreciate.  Fun fact: they are actually the same age!  No wonder they get along so well, am I right?  So, if you haven't seen the epic sequel to How To Train Your Dragon yet, what are you doing still reading a movie review on a screen?  Go, watch it, and tell me what you think!  This is Bridgette signing off, but stay tuned for when I review. . .

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS *weeps hysterically because I already know the emotional wreck I'm going to be after seeing this*

Monday, June 2, 2014

Maleficent

Do you know how long I was looking forward to Maleficent?  I had big expectations for Disney's rewrite of its own film of Sleeping Beauty, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!  There are so many things I want to rave about but can't without giving away spoilers, so I'm doing a compromise: the first part of this review will be spoiler free, and the second part will be SPOILERS GALORE.  I will give a warning before the shift happens.  So the first rewrite is the character of Maleficent, the famous villainess turned sympathetic anti-villainess.  There is not a moment in this movie that I dislike Maleficent, because even though she does bad things, I understand why.  My mother and I noticed that after the big betrayal that hardens Maleficent's heart, her costume changes from earthy brown colors to midnight black.  It's a great symbolic representation of the shift in Maleficent's attitude, but at the same time there are still many hints that she has not lost her inner goodness despite her pain.

Even though she calls Aurora a "beastie," she is shown to be the one who really watches over and takes care of the princess, not the three (incompetent) other fairies.  Maleficent (and her crow friend whose name I'm sorry not to remember) work behind the scenes to make sure Aurora is safe.  Meanwhile, I laughed out loud several times during this movie, which I hadn't expected but I was pleasantly surprised by. Maleficent has all the good comedic lines, which thrills me.  In so many ways, the movie reverses the traditional roles of fairy tales that Disney itself has promoted in the past.  Y'all know how much I appreciated that after taking Core 2: Approaches to the Fairy Tale at Scripps.  In the fairy tales, any woman with power is evil and ugly, while all the good women are beautiful but entirely passive.  With Maleficent, things get a little more (way) complicated than that.  Between her character arc, the amazing special effects, and total revamp of the tale we used to know, I'd say Maleficent is a MUST-SEE.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

At this point, probably only my dad is reading this because Maleficent literally just came out this weekend and so he's the only one following me who's probably seen it.  That's okay.  Hey, Dad.  Anyway, so the best part for me is actually something that I really loved about Frozen: namely, the true love's kiss being turned on its head.  I was really hoping that we wouldn't get a regurgitation of Prince Philip's kiss saving Aurora, so I was glad that Maleficent was the one who ended up doing the rescuing.  Not only was it an ironic twist that the one who cast the spell breaks the spell, but also, it is a delineation of feminine power in a much more positive light in comparison to fairy tales and old Disney princess movies.  In the meantime, the ambitious Stefan becomes the villain that's very reminiscent of Macbeth.  His doomed romance with Maleficent and his slow descent into insanity leave me nothing to sympathize with by the movie's end.  Unlike Maleficent, he was a relatively flat character that really isn't worthy of further comment.  I think I've at last finished my ranting about Maleficent, so I'll end the post with this: the movie is awesome, and DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY! :P

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Million Dollar Arm

BAM, look who's back with another movie review!  My mom and I saw Million Dollar Arm today, and I just had to post about it.  So, I'm not a fan of sports (anyone who knows me is probably making a fake gasp of surprise right now), but I have to say I still enjoyed this baseball movie.  Of course it was about more than just the game of baseball, which I will now get into, while trying to stay away from spoilers.  Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story of how sports agent J.B. Bernstein recruits a couple of Indian boys named Dinesh and Rinku to learn to play baseball on a short time (and financial) budget.

The fish-out-of-water scenarios that ensue when Dinesh and Rinku first arrive to America were a source of multiple laughs; those scenes make the movie humorous, though not overly so and not in a particularly witty kind of way.  I really sympathize with Dinesh and Rinku, although frankly I did not like J.B. all that much for most of the movie.  But that's J.B.'s character.  He starts of as a playboy who only cares about business deals and continuing his comfortable bachelor's life, but he does shape up as the movie progresses (perhaps predictably, but I'm glad he redeems himself).  The most interesting part was that the romantic subplot between J.B. and his next-door neighbor Brenda is based on their real-life relationship.  I thought that was just mixed into the movie to make it interesting.  The movie's not a documentary, so obviously not all the details are accurate, but at the very least, J.B. and Brenda's relationship is.

There were a few really cool shots, especially when the boys are pitching, and the way those scenes were set up made me feel really tense/nervous for them.  The fall-down-get-back-up-again theme, paired with the message of family and working hard, come together for the inspirational story that I'm sure they were aiming for.  All in all, I don't have any real complaints about this movie and genuinely enjoyed myself despite it not being the typical kind of genre I go for.  You should check it out if you head to the theater any time soon.  Meanwhile, be on the lookout for my review of Maleficent, which I'll be seeing next Saturday with my family.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Double Movie Review

Last Saturday, I had an awesome double sequel premier which I have not had the time to post about until tonight.  I kicked off the morning with a sensory friendly showing of Rio 2, which, frankly was not quite as good as the original.  But they never are anyway.  I would say Rio 2 is a movie meant for kids, so if you aren't one, I wouldn't particularly recommend it.  However, if you're a parent, I will tell you that the movie is probably entertaining enough to get you through the day.  Also, the bird villain from the first Rio movie (I can't remember his name) was (for me at least) surprisingly more comedic relief than a source of true antagonism like in the first movie.  I found that to be an amusing twist, and his frog friend was absolutely adorable.  Also, Bruno Mars' voice is in this movie.  I think that bumped up my rating for this movie by about 10%.

Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege of seeing Captain America 2 with Grace, Sophia, and Jennifer at Edwards Cinema.  There were many things that I liked about this movie, including: the bits of humor, Natasha's sassy banter with Steve, the cameo appearance of Peggy Carter, and the introduction of Falcon (finally, an Avenger who's a person of color!).  The winter soldier was super bad-ass pardon my French, but there is no better way to describe him, and if you read the comic books you'll know why seeing him interact with Steve made my heart ache a little actually a lot.  What I didn't love about this movie was that it was really, and I mean really violent in comparison to the other Marvel movies I've seen.  If your name is Elijah Jones, I can see why that would actually be a bonus, but for a girl who generally likes to see rainbows and sunshine in movies… not so much.  It's an action movie, so if you like that, Captain America 2 definitely for you.  And finally, confession time: Chris Evans speaking French is the sexiest thing I have ever heard… and I feel absolutely no shame in saying that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Footprints

If you've been following me since the beginning, you probably remember my poem "Like Footprints" (if not, just click here).  I have progressed a lot since the day I posted it, and after a semester of poetry at Pomona College, I've decided to do a complete rewrite.  In fact, I'm not even sure if it's fair to call it that, since the only thing I've kept in this new poem is the idea of footprints in the sand.  Something that I miss from the original is the rhythm that it had to it, but I think there are some great things about this poem as well.  Some changes are probably going to be made to this poem after the poetry workshop on Tuesday, but I thought I'd just post the most recent version I have now.

Footprints

Your footprints in the sand
Are swallowed by the seawater

Palm-palm touch
My hand hangs in the air, waiting

I miss your sticky fingers
Glued onto mine in a flesh mesh

My soles slap-slap the pavement
The echo of your footsteps ping-pongs

My hand ventures into the casket
You're frozen in all kinds of ways

One day these black-clad figures
Will live, forget life, but

I can't unremember
Your print's still stamped on me

Saturday, April 5, 2014

An Announcement

Hey readers, just a quick announcement that I am making a small alteration to this blog.  Tomorrow I am changing the privacy settings so that only select readers can log in to read my blog posts.  I want to give you the heads up before I actually change the settings.  If there are any technical problems and you can't log in, shoot me an email and we'll figure things out.  Happy Internet surfing!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mind Adrift

Hiya, guys!  Whaddya know, I'm making a post in the middle of the school week (I'm currently procrastinating my homework… shhhh!).  It's for something important, okay?  I'm thinking about submitting a poem to the Scripps College Journal.  I've already gotten my poetry class's opinion three times and my twin's opinion one time.  Before I do the daring deed and turn it in, I want my lovely followers' opinions.  The deadline to submit is coming up quick, so please reply soon.

Mind Adrift

sometimes it goes too far
but it still has yet           to touch

resting my head in
the hollow of your chin

tucking my arm into
the fold of your elbow

sliding between the gaps of
your slightly parted fingers

mingling my legs with yours
skimming the edges of you

Friday, March 21, 2014

Single Moms' Club

Y'know, I've never not liked a movie I reviewed on this blog.  That is, sadly, going to change today.  The fact that right now I have trouble remembering anything I did like in the movie does not bode well for my review.  Give me a minute to think…  Oh, I liked the character Lytia, played by Cocoa Brown.  She is very strong-willed and sassy, and won't let herself be easily pushed around; I found her entertaining, but not enough to rescue my opinion of the movie in its entirety.  I think I laughed once (maybe twice?) watching the group of single moms forming a support group, falling in love, bettering their relationships with their kids, etc. etc.  All this sounds wonderfully heartwarming (I did tear up seeing one of the poor kids cry about his drug-addict dad), but in the end it didn't have as much lasting emotional and mental impact as Saving Mr. Banks.  Because there were so many characters, the relationships and character development felt extremely shallow.  Sure, there is a happily-ever-after at the end, where everything is hunky-dory with the kids and all of the moms are dating hot guys (that eye candy was a benefit to seeing this movie); however, the movie as a whole is simply not memorable.  I'm not going to wake up tomorrow thinking about this movie, and in fact, I'm not sure I'll ever think about it again as soon as I post this.

At the end of the day, I wish that I had tried harder to convince my mom to watch Divergent instead.  That would've at least meant seeing Theo James shirtless.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pro-Life? Pro-Choice? Any Alternatives?

I decided to make a post about a particularly touchy issue in our society, which has been on my mind for the past few days.  If there is anything I have written that is offensive or is said in error, I apologize.  Before I actually begin, I want to make it clear that this post is not intended to be an argument of pro-life or pro-choice, but rather a suggestion of a new (actually it's not that new, but it's still good to bring up) approach to supporting women in need.  You see, while I understand the concerns about the life of a fetus/unborn child in the argument about abortion, I can't ignore the life of the woman that supports it.  Granted, there are some women out there who use abortion as another form of birth control even when they have the means to support a child.  With them I think I will disagree.  However, there are also women who don't see it this way, but their lives are endangered by the pregnancy, or they are the victims of rape, or they simply do not have the resources/support group necessary to go through with the pregnancy.  People - especially us Christians - can do a lot better than simply telling a woman that abortion is a sin and then leaving her on her own to deal with pregnancy, motherhood, and the difficulties that come with them.

Thankfully there are pregnancy centers out there that help women with unplanned pregnancies, but one that especially stands out to me is this pregnancy center.  It stands out because one time, New Heart church members (including myself) visited the Living Well Pregnancy Center to clean up the building's rooms and organize its supplies.  I remember that my mom thoroughly scrubbed their bathroom to a whole new level of cleanliness.  I'm sorry that we never made another visit to help them out some more, because I feel that what this and other pregnancy centers do is a better way to encourage life than simply saying "I'm Pro-Life, and you should be too."  The pregnancy center's mantra "You Are Not Alone" is undoubtedly a more encouraging message to hear.  I think the website best phrases what this center does by saying, "our mission is to provide alternative services and practical solutions to each woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, in order to allow her to make a rational decision without the undue pressure of her other circumstances."  The center even provides post-abortion counseling, showing love even to the women who decided to go through with abortion.  I can't tell you how great Living Well's mission statement is, nor how much better our time would be spent supporting Living Well than condemning women who choose abortion.  I do want to note here that I'm not saying all people who express Pro-Life views are condemning, unloving, or unhelpful people because that's really not true.  I simply want to point out that supporting organizations (with time, money, whatever is on your heart to give) seems a more effective and active way to save lives (and I'm not just talking about the lives of fetuses).  So, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?  I think the real question should be if we're Pro-Help.


Thank you for reading my personal thoughts on this, and understand that I am in no way trying to guilt-trip anyone into volunteering, donating, or anything like that.  It's just something that I felt needed to be expressed and pondered on, if even for a moment.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks is a movie about fathers.  For a while I hadn't understood the meaning of the title, until my dad explained to me that it was a metaphorical reference, based upon the father Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins.  With this new knowledge in mind, I walked into the theater expecting my heart to be genuinely moved, and it was.  As the movie engages with the story of Walt Disney trying to convince Pamela Tavers to sign over the rights of Mary Poppins, it also smoothly flows in and out of Mrs. Travers' backstory.  We discover her heartache-worthy childhood, heavily influenced by a father who was loving, filled with faults, and - most importantly -  adored by his daughter.

At the beginning Mrs. Tavers is just a stubborn, cranky old lady that I didn't find at all likable.  However, as her frozen demeanor thaws and she connects with Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) and her driver (played by Paul Giamatti) on a more personal level, she comes to grow on me.  Most of all, I begin to respect her for the way she treasures her work of art that is Mary Poppins, so much so that she fights Disney throughout their creative journey.  As a writer, I can appreciate her fears about maintaining the essence of her characters and the tainting that Disney and others may bring to them in the making of the movie Mary Poppins.  However, I know the argument and the walls that Mrs. Tavers erects have little to do with the art of her writing itself, but of the father that she desperately wishes to redeem.  Her story is both poignant and beautiful.

With its great actors, threads of humor, and a meaningful theme tying it all together, I think my father and I can both agree that Saving Mr. Banks is a MUST-SEE.  So, what are you waiting for?