Posts Tagged ‘M’

March Madness 1: Disney

April 14, 2018

Bracket

So March has come and gone but March Madness lives in people’s hearts forever, right? The thing about that is that I am not a basketball fan. While I played pickup games in middle school, I was never a fan because Baltimore does not have a team. If Baltimore does not have a team, I quickly lose interest in those sports. What I am a big fan of is Disney animated films and Pixar (before and after acquisition by Disney). I heard about this bracket and how it was driving everyone crazy and I thought it would be fun to fill it out and then explain my choices. Art is subjective and ranking things is absolutely just an exercise in examining your personal tastes. In other words, don’t get mad at me for my choices.

 

Lion King vs. Tarzan

This was an easy one to start of with. Tarzan has an interesting story about discovering one’s place in the world and also the evils of poaching. Lion King tells the story of a son’s love for his father and is basically Hamlet but with lions. While both are adaptations of established stories, Lion King has a lot more to say. Lion King also talks about duty vs. enjoyment and overcoming your fear to do what is right. It is a much more inspiring story. Lion King also has better music as Elton John and Tim Rice beat Phil Collins any day of the week, at least in my opinion. The Lion King also is funnier when it tries to be funny and more touching when it needs to be touching.

The Princess and the Frog vs. Lilo and Stitch

This one was a little harder. I like that Lilo and Stitch does not have a romantic subplot and it depicts Hawaii more as it actually is. It is a movie about sisters and misfits finding a family. It is honestly a really great movie. The Princess and the Frog is a movie about working hard for what you want but also trying to find the fun in life. The work/life balance message is something that is important to me. Also, The Princess and the Frog is a musical which uses great jazz tunes including a song actually sung by Dr. John. That definitely edges it ahead. It also does not hurt that Tiana is the first African American Disney Princess.

Tangled vs. Big Hero 6

It got difficult again. Big Hero 6 was a comic book series I read when it first came out. It was a charming and fun series with a lot of brand new heroes, Silver Samurai, and Sunfire. The movie version was really fun and had a different take on the character Baymax that knocked my socks off. It also did a great job with the theme of dealing with death. I also love superhero movies a lot. However, Tangled is an underrated movie that kind of paved the way for a new wave of Disney Princess. This new take on the Rapunzel story is really strengthened by the undeniable, bouncy energy of Rapunzel and the offbeat, goofy humor of the movie. This movie was a go to for a while when I was depressed to try and get me out of it.

Frozen vs. Moana

This was a totally unfair first round matchup. When I first saw Frozen, it blew me away. It was a total game changer when it came to Disney Princess animated movies. Setting aside that it had Kristen Bell in it, it also was the first of those movies that did not have a real romantic subplot. It was more about the love between sisters than the love between two people who had just met. Moana has even less of a romantic subplot and it is about being true to yourself and following your passion while staying true to your roots. It is a truly beautiful movie both visually and figuratively. It also has songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda who does so well that he ended up defeating the unstoppable catchiness of the songs of Frozen. That alone is saying something.

Aladdin vs. Hercules

Like most people, I love Hercules. It has a lot of snappy humor and is a great adaptation of various Greek myths with a slick modern style to it. The animation style is fun and it has an interestingly complex love story that comes second to a story about believing in yourself and becoming a hero. However, I have a big history with Aladdin. Back then I was a superfan of Robin Williams but the event that really cemented my love for the movie is when I watched it on drugs. To be fair, I watched it as I lay in the ICU after heart surgery in fifth grade. The movie has absolutely beautiful art and awesome voice talents. The story is also about believing in yourself but it is also about seeing people as they are and the power of friendship. The songs by Alan Menken are leagues above most Disney movies as well.

The Little Mermaid vs. Pocahontas

This one was easy. I really dislike Pocahontas. It is the only major release Disney Animated Movie that I dislike and that’s saying something. It is a historically inaccurate portrayal of a woman who was mistreated as a Native American by European colonists. The art style is also kind of off-putting to me for some reason. Also, I never liked the music very much. The Little Mermaid, on the other hand, is a really fun movie and a happier take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. The music is all so fun to sing along to and the humor is cute and enjoyable. I love the theme of feeling like you are in the wrong place and yearning for a place that just feels right to you. It also has some interesting magic spells and supernatural powers go along way with me.

Mulan vs. Zootopia

This is a weird matchup. Zootopia is a really interesting movie that has a lot to say about racism and affirmative action. It disguises that message behind really well-animated animals living in a big city together. I love the world building involved in that and the story is a great roller coaster that has a lot of ups, downs, twists, and turns. Mulan is a great tale about the clash between following tradition and being who you feel you need to be. It also has the first Disney Princess who could fight. The animation is also really pretty with its own style that clearly illustrates that we are in China. What edges Mulan ahead as the clear winner is the music. Mulan has a lot of great, singable songs. Mostly I am thinking about I’ll Make a Man Out of You which was written by Donny Osmond of all people.

Beauty and the Beast vs. Nightmare Before Christmas

This one is not even fair. Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful movie. The art is a shining example of what 2D animation can be and the art style was so unique. It also introduced us to a heroine who was smart, brave, and who would not back down. It also introduced a romantic couple who believably wanted nothing to do with each other who were also both questionable individuals. The story does a good job of showing two parallel character arcs with a satisfying conclusion. The songs are also among the best in Disney. Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie that I watch every year at some point between Halloween and Christmas. It is yet another movie that I have used to battle depression because the movie itself is about battling depression. It is also the only movie on this list that uses stop-motion animation which is done so well I sometimes thought of it as live action. On top of all of that, it has music from Danny Elfman at the peak of his abilities. Every song is awesome and portrays so much emotion that I cannot ever let this movie go.

Alright, this one is getting a bit too long so I will have to continue it at another time. Of course, part 2 will have to wait until sometime after April but I am excited to get back to it! In the meantime, feel free to offer your own opinions. As I said, art is subjective and I am not “right” and you are not “wrong”.

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Meyers-Briggs

April 15, 2017

The Meyers-Briggs test is a great tool for determining who you are and how you fit in. It is not the entirety of you but it helps form working model of how you tick. It also helps managers and bosses figure out how you might work in a team. I have taken the test several times over the years and I have gotten the same results over and over.

INTJ

 

I is for Introvert

I am an introvert which is not necessarily as debilitating as it is sometimes made out to be but it comes with its own set of rules and obstacles. An introvert is not a shrinking violet or a wallflower. Extroversion and introversion are mostly now classified on recharging of the batteries. Extroverts get energy from being around people and Introverts get their energy back from being alone and having time to themselves. After a long day at work or a long party, I cherish my alone time. Given the choice, I usually do not want to be around people but I do like people for the most part. The strength of an introvert is that we are more likely to go off and think about a problem. I love being given tasks and going off and completing them. I love relaxing on my couch at home while I write for this blog or create a new D&D character or just relax and watch a movie. When that is done I feel refreshed and ready to tackle social situations again.

N is for Intuitive

Intuitive people live the world of the mind. Specifically, Intuitive people see the big picture and are very good at grasping concepts and ideas as opposed to concrete facts. I love ideas and concepts sometimes for their own sake. That is partly why I enjoyed working in the theater. We worked a lot at things that we had to imagine that we could not yet see. As a stage manager, I had to mind the details but I always had to keep an eye on the big picture. I like the big picture because it is something everything needs to fit into. Facts and details are important but you must always arrive at the bottom line. Finally, intuitive people like to visualize and explain concepts in a figurative or poetic way. I am constantly, trying to find an analogy or a story to explain something just after somebody explains it to me. It helps me break down and understand what I have just been told.

 

T is for Thinking

Thinking people are level-headed and reasonable. I know this sounds like a no-brainer but everybody thinks they act this way. Of course, this is not to say that the people who are the alternative (Feeling) are total loose cannons. It is just that people who lean toward Thinking are more likely to approach decisions in an impersonal way. When I was studying the law in college recently, people would protest the law as we had to write about it. “That’s not right!” they would say and I would agree with them but it does not matter. The law is the law and it makes decisions a lot easier when I am doing paralegal work. I like making practical decisions because I more often do what is needed or what is right. Of course, we can debate until the sun goes down what ‘right’ is but by then I have already made the decision. I value justice and fairness, part of what makes me a bleeding heart liberal. Thinking people also like tearing arguments apart which is really fun and a great benefit to my work as a paralegal. While I wish sometimes I could be a little more Feeling (and when it comes to anger sometimes I am), I like to think things out more.

 

J is for Judging

Now, this last one has more potential to get me into trouble. Judge is already a word that has bad connotations in popular culture and in reality. The only people we want judging people are actual professional judges and we barely agree on that. But this Judging is not so much about criticizing or passing judgment on people. Judging people always want matters to be closed. I love finishing tasks but more than that, I like decisions to have finality. I do not like open-ended situations. When I make plans, I get bothered when the plans have to suddenly change because of somebody else. It makes me a little bit inflexible although I am learning to be a little better about it. I just really like know what I am getting into on any given day and, while I enjoy a little adventure, I want that adventure to be on my terms. It is hard for me to be social on a whim and that figures heavily into who I am. It also makes me want exactly what somebody wants from me explained instead of vague instructions. I just prefer things written in stone. Like all the others on this list, this is a strength and a weakness.

The Mystery Part 3

April 15, 2015

The Mystery

Naps are overrated. Scott always felt even more out of commission when he eventually woke up. Still, he stumbled to his feet and somehow got into the shower. As the water cascaded down his back, he tried to plan his routes across the city to try and find Trixshot. Scott felt like it was his responsibility to bring her down. She was too good at evading the cops and she could injure someone with those arrows even as accurate as she was. He wished her accountant career had gone better so that he didn’t have to deal with this. He hated thoughts like that.

He headed outside and walked five blocks to the motorcycle he used as the Mystery. For what it’s worth, that wasn’t a name that he had chosen for himself. The press had branded Scott as the Mystery after he had been spotted fighting the Ace in the Hole gang. WIYY had called him a “Mystery Man on the scene” but by the next day had shortened it to just The Mystery. The Beacon had picked it up and once it was on the air and in print it was practically written in stone. It would require a public announcement to change it now but that wasn’t something Scott was interested in risking.

Scott was actually pretty astonished that the police weren’t hunting him down like the similarly costumed villains. He actually had no idea whether they were hunting him or not but he hadn’t actually been chased yet. He put a big stylized M on all of his stuff just in case he needed some goodwill with the authorities in a tense spot. His legend was kind of growing from further glimpses and cell phone videos featuring that logo. He respected the police though and he swore he was only stepping in because they’re stretched so thin. Besides, he mostly only track the deranged wackadoos these days anyway.

He was in luck, the police scanner on the Mystery Bike gave him a Trixshot sighting almost right away. Scott gunned the bike to life and put on my mask and helmet. She had been seen in Charles District which was a pretty swanky area of town. There was no doubt the targets there were ripe and fruitful if you could get past tougher security. He had faith that Trixshot would have no problems with security systems.

He pulled off Main Street and into a back alley. He hung his helmet on the handlebars and climbed off the bike. Almost as if on cue a familiar shape vaulted down from the roof and swung to street’s level from a fire escape with the practice of a professional gymnast. Her blonde hair was spiky and unkempt from hair gel. Her makeup was thick around her little domino mask. Her clothing was all colorful spandex and black leather accents. She was a far cry from the accountant she had been in a past life. She was now more suited for a comic booked-themed rave.

“Fancy meeting you here, Mystery. I thought you’d get the point last night. Thought you’d stay away from me.” She said, grinning under the street lamps.

“Wow, did you take all day to write that line? Drop the loot and I’ll go easy on you. Behave and the cops should get you to central booking without any bruises.”

“That doesn’t sound like any fun. Instead, how about I pin you down again and this time I get a peek at your real face. Maybe I’ll even give it a kiss. ” She said as she drew an arrow from her quiver.

Scott grabbed his retractable bo staff from his belt and quickly extended it to its full length of three feet. He had taken Savate since he was little but recently I had started taking bojitsu and eskrima lessons as well. He was getting pretty good but he was facing an opponent who had the superior reach of a bow and arrow. He should have bought that stun gun but he had chosen the alleyway for its close quarters and dim lighting. He hoped it would challenged Trixshot.

She drew and fired, a twisted little smirk on her painted lips. Scott had already been running toward her so he had to juke right to barely avoid being skewered again. He swung his staff and it felt like she was still miles away but he still swung for the fences anyway. The very tip of the staff connected with her forearm. It caused her to drop a second arrow somewhere behind her.

Her eye was drawn to the clatter for a moment, looking for the fallen arrow. Scott swung again and she barely blocked the blow with her bow. She was on the defensive now as Scott swung again and again from slightly different angles. She tried to say something but he cut off her flirty, sarcastic remark by swinging again and again. Finally he swung low and knocked her into the brick wall of the back of a french bakery. Before she could rally again he pushed her up against the wall with the bo and pinned her there.

“Come on, take it easy.” She coughed out.

“You kind of shot me last night. I’m not in the mood.” Scott responded and grabbed the arrows in her quiver and tossed them aside. He knocked her bow aside and sent it bouncing down the cobblestone until it noisily came to a stop. He still held her against the wall with one arm and the bo while he reached for the taser on his belt. It seemed like the most humane way to take her down.

He never had a chance as some sort of disk landed on Trixshot’s temple and he had to jerk back as he felt electricity surge through her body. Some of it arced to his arm and he felt his arm go numb. It stopped after a moment and he bent down to check her pulse. Still breathing, heart still beating.

“She is merely incapacitated. I would not have anyone interfere in our little talk.” A voice said from the shadows.


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