Tag Archives: goals

Thank you, Moana! (You’re welcome)

DAMN IT–I have an ear worm in my head.

Personally, I blame Dustin Pari for this; he has been bopping around Twitter with pictures of Maui saying “You’re welcome.” Naturally, since I had yet to watch Moana, I decided to finally make time and view the acclaimed movie.

It. Did. Not. Disappoint!

And, now, as it happens with movies that you really, really love, I’m obsessed with how the movie was made and the Polynesian culture that weaved throughout the plot. (In fact, I purchased a Hawaiian legend book the other day at work.)

Legitimately, I have been singing “You’re Welcome” from Moana on repeat for a good week now. Darn you, Lin-Manuel Miranda and your catchy lyrics! I mean, I don’t know for sure who was responsible for the song–I know Lin, Mark Mancina, and Opetaia Foa’i all worked together on the Moana soundtrack and give them ALL the points–but “You’re Welcome” and “Shiny” both seem up Lin’s alley.

Also, I am in love with “We Know The Way.” There are so many beautiful feelings that swarm into me whenever I hear that song. It makes me dream of exploration, yes, but, also, the part inside me that appreciates spirituality, history, lineage, and respects nature adores it!

I especially get chills at the part of the song where they sing:

“We are explorers reading every sign.
We tell the stories of our elders in a never-ending chain.”

Here’s an official link to part of the song, so you can join me in the chills, whether you’ve see Moana or not (because even out of context it’s a gorgeous song):

I also give all the props to John Lasseter and the Moana creators; they wanted to respect the Polynesian culture and history, so they did a five year research excursion to talk with locals in the South Pacific. Bonus: they actually hired locals to fact check them, and even invited them back to Disney to approve the film.

This is how you make a movie!

Here’s an article in Vanity Fair that talks more about this story:
How Pacific Islanders Helped Disney’s Moana Find Its Way
(There’s also a documentary about this on Moana’s bonus features, which is where I learned of the development.)

In turn, Moana has, as excellently told stories do, inspired me in my own stories. (Note: I am not talking about plagiarism. I know I don’t have to say that, but I want to make that clear.) The rich mythology, scenery, and character development has made me reflect on my skills as a writer and given me the urge to match Moana’s quality in my own writing.

The same thing happened with American Gods and Anansi Boys, which I fell in love with about a month ago. (I talk about it in my post: “Current Status: In Love With American Gods.“)

Here’s the amazing thing about well-crafted stories: they make you want to be a better writer. They raise the bar of what you thought was possible, and set the target higher, causing you to push your development as a creator into different areas. Some of which you didn’t think needed worked on, but, after seeing another reach so far, you realized you needed to do better.

It’s not an ego-related thing. It’s not putting yourself down. It’s just looking at another story and saying: “Yes. I can do that. I can reach that level. I know I can.”

So, yet again, I have been inspired to push myself as an artist; to reach the quality that my heroes and role models have accomplished before me. It’s a simple strength exercise game.

I look forward to what comes from this!

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100th Reflection: Good Remains in Chaos

Once upon a time, there was a twenty-three year old girl who had a cloud of technicolor dreams circling her head. She gazed at the blues, purples, reds, and golds, and as they swirled faster, her heart was encouraged. She laughed and raced down the campus steps, the doors opened to the freshly graduated girl, and she embraced the world, ready to share her dreams with it.

In case you haven’t guessed, that girl was me.

In 2011, I graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in Creative Writing, ready to share my stories with the world. And guess what? Within a year, I was professionally writing! It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but it was a good stepping stone.

My true dream, however, was to be a novelist. And one of my favorite TV shows expressed exactly how I wanted my life to look:

In fact, I do actually want to be a mystery writer. Psychological thrillers and paranormal fantasies are my genres!

Life itself is a tricky thing; it can, at times, be synonymous with change, and chaos can be their little bundle of joy. That’s how it’s been off and on since 2011. For personal reasons, it’s been difficult–especially these past few months–to find time to write, let alone do other things I love (watching TV, going to movies, traveling), hence why I haven’t blogged since Easter.

Honestly, it can be challenging at times. I never imagined being in this situation five years since I graduated. But that’s how change works: it hits you right between the eyes, when you least expect it, and can be a good thing.

Take Castle’s unexpected cancellation, for example. About a month ago, over on Deadline.com, it was announced that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones were not coming back to season 9. I was among the Castle fans who was adamantly against this decision (I mean, who wouldn’t be? There’s no Caskett without Beckett!) Thankfully ABC decided to cancel the show instead of watching it go down the proverbial Primetime toilet and Caskett fans got to see Beckett and Castle live on.

For me, change reminds me of the realistic value of balancing my dreams with the reality I’m placed in. Yes, it might be excruciatingly hard at times, but I still wouldn’t change the part I must play here at home. I’m as stubborn about supporting my family as much as I am about becoming a novelist. I do believe that both will play out for the better, even if this tumultuous period seems to be clearing at an agonizing pace.

In any case, I still excited for the future; to see what it brings me and my family. I’m anxious to finish my first novel, get it seen by an agent and published. I’m anticipating a peaceful future for my family and I (really it can’t get here soon enough!). I’m curious to see what Andrew Marlowe (creator of Castle) comes up with next.

But those are distant, general futures. What I need to remind myself is to enjoy the stepping stones that bring those futures along, one day at a time.  I need to be happy that I am able to write and produce YouTube videos again. I need to see the blessing in the lesson of time management. And I need to see the good in every moment here at the house, even during the bad times; there is always good!

Change happens. Life moves on. Impermanence spins the world into focus. Thank you, God, for the ability to endure, to adapt. Thank you for the gifts and lessons that life brings. And thank you for the joy that Castle has brought to so many lives.

Blessings to writers everywhere, the Castle cast and crew, and all souls that are going through hard times. It will get better. You just have to keep moving; one step, one word, after another.

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2015 Favorites; 2016 Resolutions

Lord almighty! I cannot believe 2016 is upon us already! Honestly, 2015 was a bit of a challenge for me. I’m happy for the lessons I’ve learned this year, but I would be lying if I wasn’t excited for 2016. I hope for me and my family that it is a good year; it seems the recent years have been a bit of a challenge for us. I’m also looking forward to finally accomplishing some goals in 2016, but more on that later.

First, a bit of fun. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite movies, music, books, and TV shows of 2015. Not all of them were released in 2015, but I encountered them this year.

Here we go!

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Favorite movie: (A TIE!) Jurassic World and No Escape.

2015 was a year of nostalgia: Star Wars launched a new trilogy, The Hunger Games ended, and Jurassic Park’s reboot, for me, started it all. I was never a huge fan of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park wasn’t a series I was entirely devoted to until recently. Frankly, I was more loyal to the classic adventures I grew up with (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond). However, to pay tribute to the great Steven Spielberg, I decided to go to the reboot.

I. Was. Not. Disappointed!

What especially caught my attention was Chris Pratt’s devotion to his Indiana-Jones-like-dinosaur-trainer: a character who was full of heart but a total “badass” (as one of the nephews put it).

Whether you’re a Jurassic Park fan or not, I strongly encourage you to see Jurassic World. The plot is well done, the action is gripping, and the nostalgia is purely palpable.

Speaking of badass movies, No Escape was probably my most favorite film of 2015. When I first watched the trailers, I thought I’d pass on the movie. However, what got me into the theaters was Owen Wilson; it was a first to see him in a serious, action-packed role (vs a comedy like Zoolander) and I wanted to see how well he did. I will tell you: he did not disappoint in the least!

Furthermore, No Escape brings up an issue that not everyone thinks about: monopoly in a third-world country. The cause of the uprising in the unnamed South-East Asia country is, put plainly, a first-world country taking control of their resources. Owen Wilson is unknowingly a part of this takeover and he puts his family in the center of it.

No Escape is certainly action-packed and very violent, as an uprising would be. The pace of the plot is wonderful: fast enough to keep the heart pounding, but it slows down at the appropriate points when Owen Wilson discovers exactly what his employers have been up to. I definitely suggest seeing it.


 

Favorite song: Lost Stars, sung by Adam Levine.

Lost Stars is an original song found in the movie Begin Again with Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. It was nominated in the 2015 Academy Awards for Best Original Song, which was well deserved (however, it did lose to Glory). The lyrics of the song are poetic and entirely soul-felt. I doubt there is a person in the world who wouldn’t identify with the story it weaves.

The chorus alone gives me chills as the song builds in its ballad:

“And God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.
It’s hunting season and the lambs are on the run,
Searching for meaning.
But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?”

 

Another astounding thing: this song stands apart. It complements Begin Again, but it’s a song you can put your own meaning, your own story to. It’s universal.


 

Favorite book: Welcome to Night Vale

Oh, Night Vale. Ever since I started listening to the famous podcast, around two years ago, my love for Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s “quiet desert community” has grown. I was SO FLIPPING EXCITED to delve into their novel that expanded beyond Cecil’s narration. What’s even better is how the podcast mentions the events of the novel here and there, only being blunt about its existence in the novel excerpt clip above. (I think a few episodes ago Cecil mentioned “that King City fiasco.”)

God, Night Vale will always be one of my most favorite works of creation EVER. AND THEY’RE COMING OUT WITH THREE BOOKS NEXT YEAR!! AHH!

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*cough* Anyways–


 

Favorite TV shows: Supernatural and Expedition Unknown
Ok. Yes. I couldn’t let the new year begin without mentioned my TWO MOST FAVORITE TV SHOWS!! (Seriously. Go check out my Tumblr: Supernatural is almost all I reblog; and I’m always fangirling over Josh Gates in my various social platforms.)

Supernatural has, and always will be, my top favorite show. There’s a reason why it’s currently airing season 11. For most people, it has to do with the brotherly relationship between Sam and Dean Winchester. However, while I do love the Winchester brothers, they aren’t my favorite characters. Castiel, Gabriel, Lucifer, and Balthazar are. In short, I love how they weave known mythology into the show and put twists on it. Especially ever since season 4, I’ve absolutely adored the angel mythology. Supernatural is the only medium that writes angels the way I believe they should be written (except for the “angels are dicks” thing, because, let’s face it: they aren’t).

I’ve especially loved how season 11 is feeling a lot like season 5. They’re focusing on Biblical mythology again and are bringing back well-loved characters for cameos (Lucifer just appeared in the most recent episode: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” EEK!)

My second favorite TV show has to be Expedition Unknown. I’m a legend junkie with a passion for traveling and exploring cultures. However, I do like where I live… and I don’t want to travel nearly as much as Josh Gates does. Frankly, two-five trips a year will do me good.

But I love seeing what new adventures Josh Gates gets himself into. From searching for Amelia Earhart’s remains to investigating the True Cross of Christ, Josh Gates is always bringing new things to talk about on his show. He brings us along as he rock climbs, scuba dives, and crawls through caves.

In May this year, I met him for the second time and it’s only made me more adamant to watch his show. He is kind-hearted, brave, a joker, and so passionate about his job. Literally, it’s like he’s our Universe’s Indiana Jones.

He’s my role model… and I don’t think I’ll ever stop watching Expedition Unknown.


So that’s my list of 2015 favorites. Honestly, my head is kind of buzzing right now from the processing overload! But my Goodbye to 2015 post isn’t complete until I divulge in my 2016 resolutions. After all, it’s traditional to have goals for the new year, not to mention a good thing to do to keep procrastination at bay.

My plans for 2016 remain the same as they have for the past few years:

  1. Lose 50 pounds; feel healthy and capable of anything!
  2. Finish my first novel and get it put out into the world.

However, I do have goals for my social media profiles: I would like to keep to a schedule. Update my blog weekly, my Youtube videos every two weeks, and post to my Facebook page daily. Especially concerning the content of this blog, I would love to write more reviews; consider this 2015 recap the beginning of said reviews!

So, have a Happy New Year duckies. Say a generous thanks to 2015 and grasp 2016 by the hand — it’s almost here!