Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Shoes/Too Much Fun With the Miis

Warning: This post is ridiculously random and pointless. If you are looking for intellectual stimuli, look elsewhere or come back when Mandy's mood has reached its relatively normal level.

A few days ago, I decided I needed new shoes. "They don't look that bad," you say? Just look below:

Need I say more? Yes I do. Yesterday, I went shopping with Mom and got new shoes on a good sale. Yay!!

On a totally unrelated note, we got a Wii for Christmas. It's a lot of fun. The only problem is that we only have one TV at our house, and now everyone wants to use it. My brothers play Fire Emblem every spare minute they get and it's really cutting into my new Angry Beavers DVD time. Yes, I love that show and I'm not ashamed to admit it! Sometimes I laugh so hard the tears come.

There is one thing I love about the Wii, however, and that is the Mii channel, where we can create quirky little characters. My brothers create all these crazy people and I just sit there and laugh hysterically. I love making characters, too. It's just as fun as any Wii game. I've made Harry Potter characters and Sherlock Holmes characters among others. Then, when I play Wii Sports Resort and our Miis are cheering me on in the background, I can say, "Wow! Sherlock Holmes came to watch me bowl! I feel so special!" Or, "Look! there's Stevie Wonder! When did he get here!" Yeah, its pretty awesome.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon

Thanks, Meridy, for reading my blog! You're comments always make me so happy! I was always planning to write about How to Train Your Dragon, I just ran out of time yesterday. But I would be happy to say a few words about it now. (And yes, I did get a chance to watch it in peace. :) )
How to Train Your Dragon: I was reluctant to see this movie because I was afraid it would go all animal rights propaganda on me; however, knowing how much everyone loves this movie, I convinced myself to give it a try. It turned out to be a very sweet, touching, and fun movie. It also helped me embrace my inner Viking. (I am 1/8 Danish, after all. :) ) I loved the music in this film. Parts of the soundtrack were so beautiful that I literally had goosebumps. Good music affects me deeply, so when a movie has effective music, it always helps me to enjoy it more. (Not that it wouldn't have been a good film anyway :) )
I loved Hiccup. He is a great character. Not only did he make me laugh, but I loved watching his ingenuity. He's a very intelligent kid. Toothless is adorable. He's basically a giant kitty. He even chases laser points! (Well, okay, the Viking equivelent thereof.)
Everyone raves about this movie, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't like it quite as much as Megamind or Kung Fu Panda. I'm not really sure why. I guess it's hard to explain personal taste. It could be because I get irked at the way Hiccup is treated by his classmates, neighbors, and (especially) his father. Although, I guess Hiccup's ill treatment does make it all the more touching when everyone is reconciled in the end. And then there's the oft told story of a single father misunderstanding his son. It's a good story, and effectively done in this film, it's just that I've seen it many times before.
But even though this movie may not be one of my absolute favorites, it's still a very good film. I like it a lot, and it's still growing on me. I'm excited to see it again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movies I've Seen Lately

Hello, everyone! I hope you're all having a great day. This may take more than one post, but I wanted to write about some movies I've seen (relatively) recently that I've liked.

Tangled: I saw this movie with my sister in November. I thought it was a cute and clever movie. Both Rapunzel and Flynn are very likable characters and I liked the development of their relationship. The Snuggly Duckling thugs crack me up. The art and animation was beautifully done. (The floating lantern part is especially breathtaking.) I don't have tons to say about this movie. It's just one of those solid, cute, feel good movies that I'm excited to see again.

Megamind: It's fun to see a movie such as Tangled that you know will be good, and then find that it lives up to your expectations; but, what's also fun is watching a movie you were expecting to be 'meh' and find out that it's actually a very good film. Megamind was one of the latter kinds. This movie was so much better than I thought it would be. It's hysterical and oddly romantic, meaning the kind of romance you can enjoy while fully acknowledging that it is a little bizarre.
I've read reviews that complain Megamind is predictable and borrows too much from other films. As a superhero themed movie, it does borrow from other films and stories. Much of this "borrowing" is clearly intentional. The filmmakers had a lot of fun spoofing certain superhero franchises, Superman in particular. However, I personally thought that Megamind, despite its familiar genre, still had it's own unique flavor and the plot was unique and original enough to be interesting and at times, surprising (at least for me). It has some interesting psychological themes, too. I thought it was intriguing to watch a character who was basically good by nature, but had been trained his whole life to be a villian. It also fulfilled my deeply buried desire to see what would happen if the bad guy actually won. In this movie, the bad guy does "win" at least for a while, and I couldn't help chuckling as I watched Megamind and Minion causing purely random havoc for the sheer fun of it. However, I could never support a movie in which evil prevails, and I love that in the end, you find out that the villian was merely tricked into thinking he won, and said villian reforms and completely changes his ways. So, this movie is the best of both worlds. :) Megamind also has a really fun soundtrack that fits so well and truly adds to the movie. It consists largely of classic rock from the 1970's and 80's.
If you've seen trailers for this film, know that they don't do it justice. And although it's fun to watch clips online, this is the kind of movie that must be seen from start to finish to appreciate its full charm. Give it a chance. It's a very good film.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


During the spring and summer of this year, I tried growing a garden. It didn't do well. Only the wax beans really succeeded, and they only grew tolerably well. I managed to grow one beautiful pumpkin plant and one lovely cucumber plant. Although they looked healthy, these two plants failed utterly. I also planted them right next to each other. My cucumber had the beginnings of a few fruits a few days ago, but they'll never survive with the cold weather we're getting. My pumpkin plant hardly did any better. A couple months ago, it managed to grow what promised to be quite a lovely little pumpkin...before some creature visited my garden in the middle of the night and ate it. By the time autumn arrived, my pumpkin vine only sported three fruits. Two that were too tiny to have any future, and one seriously and oddly deformed little pumpkin...or was it a pumpkin?
Although I could see my pumpkin was probably not ready, I decided to harvest it anyway to save it from the cold weather. I gloomily showed off my failure to my family. The gourd surprised my brothers, frightened my mother, and disgusted my dad. I sadly put my poor excuse of a yield into the garage to await Halloween.
Which brings us to today. Despite my sorrow, I was curious to see what my pumpkin looked like on the inside. My brother Aaron was busily carving all the nice, normal pumpkins we bought at a Parowan pumpkin patch. That alone was an interesting experience, but that is another story. Anyway, I opened my pumpkin and strange sights and smells greeted me. My pumpkin looked a little too solid inside, many of its wimpy seeds were embedded in the flesh, and it smelled vaguely of cucumber, On tasting its innards (which actually taste quite nice. the flavor is rather sweet.) both my mom and I agreed in detecting a faint taste of cucumber. This leads me to believe that this unfortunate gourd is really no pumpkin at all. Nor is it a cucumber. In that case, it must be a pumpkumber! Or a cucumpkin? I'll go with pumpkumber for now; that's a little easier to say. But I'll take votes for what we should call it! Oh dear, oh dear. Dad warned me this may happen. I was complaining to him that the bees must not be doing their jobs. I had no cucumbers and very few pumpkins, so the bees were obviously not pollinating my plants' lovely flowers. My dad then told me it was my own fault for planting my garden too late. Then he wondered aloud whether cross-pollination was possible between pumpkins and cucumbers, concluding that it probably was.
Knowing what I know now, I feel much more kindly disposed toward my pumkumber. I cannot blame it for its parentage. Next year I'll start planting earlier.
Below are some pictures for your enjoyment:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Disney Movie #7: The AristoCats (1970)

Hey everyone! With a little encouragement from Nate, I decided to continue with my Disney movie list. Thanks, Nate, for bolstering my self-confidence! 8-D
I admit that part of my love for this movie comes purely from my love of cats. As a cat lover, I feel somewhat responsible for supporting cat-centric movies. But it really is cute! It centers around Duchess, a pampered, rich house cat who is trying to raise her three spirited children to be "lovely, charming lady and gentlemen." Duchess and her kittens are owned by Madame Adelaide, a kind, rich, retired opera singer. As Madame has no living relatives, she wants her cats to inherit her whole fortune, with the promise that her faithful butler, Edgar, will inherit her fortune after her cats have lived their lifespan. Edgar, who eavesdrops on the will conversation Adelaide is having with her ancient but energetic lawyer (Yay, a good lawyer character!! :) ), is frustrated with this idea and decides to dispose of the cats. He tries to dispose of the cats in the country, but after being chased by two watchdogs, the cats' basket falls off Edgar's motorbike, leaving the cats stranded in the French countryside. As fate would have it, the family meets Thomas O'Malley the alley cat, who takes it upon himself to help the family back to Paris and win the fair Duchess's affections.
This movie may not be epic or spectacular, but it is still a fun romp. It has excellent voice casting, including Pat Buttram as Napoleon the watchdog and Sterling Holloway as Roquefort the mouse. Eva Gabor and Phil Harris also do an excellent job as Duchess and Thomas, respectively. The watchdogs are one of the highlights of the show, and the geese Abigail and Amelia are funny, if a little annoying. (It's their Uncle Waldo who really steals the show.) The art is a little sketchy, but I think that's the look the animators where going for and it helps give the movie its own style. Thomas's alley cat friends add a fun, jazzy flavor to the movie.

Good Quotes from the AristoCats:
1. Marie: "Ladies do NOT start fights, but they can finish them!"
3. Berlioz: "We were just practicing biting and clawing."
Duchess: "Aristocats do not practice biting and clawing, and things like that. It's just horrible!" (Ha, try telling that to Alexander... Doesn't Berlioz have the coolest name? He must be named after Hector Berlioz, the French composer who had a rare appreciation for the viola. It's true that Berlioz is the most talented of the kittens. Like Colonel Brandon, "he plays the pianoforte very well...")
4. Lafayette: "Okay, let's charge!"
Napoleon: "Wait a minute, I'm the leader, I'm the one that says when we go...Here we go. Charge!!"
5. Thomas: "Basted? He's been marinated in it!"
6. Thomas: "You know something...I like Uncle Waldo."
Duchess: "Especially when he's marinated!"
7. Lafayette: "I still say it was a little old cricket bug!"
Napoleon: "Wait a minute, I'm the leader, I'll decide what it was...It was a little old cricket bug."
8. Napoleon: "Lafayette! Lafayette, listen."
Lafayette: "Oh, shucks, Napoleon. That ain't nothin' more but a little ol' cricket bug."
Napoleon: "It's squeaky shoes approachin'."
Lafayette: "Oh, cricket bugs don't wear shoes!"
Napoleon: "Hush your mouth! [cocks his ear up] Let's see. They're Oxford shoes, size nine and a half. Hole in the left sole, it sounds like."
Lafayette: "What color are they?"
Napoleon: "why they're bla... Now how would I know that?"
9. Thomas: "Hiya chicks."
Abigail Gabble: "We're not chickens. We're geese."
Thomas (sarcastically): "No... I thought you were swans."
10. Georges Hautecourt: "Whoops! Not as spry as I was when I was eighty."
For more quotes, go to or just watch the movie.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So, about those french fries... (Potatoes Continued)

Well, there's really not much to say about them. Today I decided to get my lunch at the T-Bird Grill instead of Outtakes or Hogi Yogi. As Snoopy says, "Life's just too short not to live it up a little." (That's a line from the musical You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, for which I'm playing my viola as an orchestra pit musician. I absolutely love playing my viola for musicals, but they do tend to get stuck in your head. Especially when you have to perform at 9 performances.) I got a bacon cheese burger on sourdough bread combo, which came with a "small" order of fries. I then proceeded to find an empty table in the Sharwan Smith rotunda, which is quite a feat. Thankfully, I saw a lady I know from work and asked if I could sit with her. She said I could, but I wondered why a group of tables, which included hers, was roped off. I asked her if I needed to do anything special to sit with her in the roped off group of tables. She said she didn't think so. I asked her why the tables were roped off. She said one of the fraternities had done it but she wasn't sure why. "I'm 36," she said, "I don't care about such things anymore." Well, you know those non-traditional students. They're rebels, man. So, I carefully stepped over the rope, my hands full of greasy deliciousness, and sat at her table. She finished before I did, so I was left sitting alone. Presently I ran out of fry sauce, so I went to obtain more. I filled up my little fry sauce container completely. I returned to the roped off table, (The other tables were still in use), and sat down to finish my french fries when I realized that I was very full. But I had just taken more of the Grill's fry sauce, so I felt I should use it. I ate the fries, and they were yummy, but I could feel my stomach expand with each one I ate. Soon, a guy I knew in high school passed by and asked why I was sitting in the roped off section. I said I wasn't sure why the area was roped off, but as the table was empty, I decided to sit there anyway. He said something like, "Oh. Well, I just wondered what made you special enough to sit in the roped off section, but I guess that's obvious." I shrugged my shoulders and watched him leave... "Wait a second," I thought, "Did he just pay me a compliment? Aw, that was nice. maybe I should have been more friendly. Oh well..."
So this is truly the end of my "potatoes" post, though I can't promise I won't talk about them again in the future... :)


For these last two weeks, I've been on a bit of a curry kick. The reason is the Irish Potato famine. You see, last week on Tuesday we learned about the Irish Potato famine of the 1840's in my 19th century Europe class. As we learned about this woeful topic I found myself craving potatoes. (In my defence, this class is held right before lunch time). I thought about hot, yummy potato soup. Then I thought of my mom's curry soup, which has potatoes in it. Then I thought it might be fun to try the curry at Hogi Yogi. I tried said curry, and found it to be surprisingly good, though sadly it didn't have any potatoes in it. When I had that class again on Thursday, my teacher talked about the Irish Potato famine again, and I once again craved potatoes and that once more led to a craving for curry. I got Hogi Yogi curry again and this time, it had potatoes in it. Oh happy day! Then I got to thinking, "You just learned about one of the most tragic events in human history and all you can think about is your stomach? What's wrong with you?!"
It's true. I have a rather ridiculous preoccupation with food, hence my rotundness. But I don't see this as being my fault. It's in my genes. My great-great-great grandpa Levi suffered greatly as a union soldier in the Civil War, and yet, he still found time in several of his journal entries to mention what he had eaten (or not eaten) that day. And then there's my dad, who has made up three parodies for the amusement of his family, (One of Lord of the Rings, one of Henry V, and one of Dickens's A Christmas Carol), which are based on food. As the parody of Lord of the Rings is the most complete one he created, I shall use that one as an example. The Dark Lord Sourpuss wants to take over the world and force all the people into a lifestyle of unhealthy eating. Many of the Characters' names are based on food:
Legolas=Leg O' Lamb
Frodo Baggins=Frito Bag'ums
Peregrin=Pop 'n Fresh
Get the idea?
Oh! and don't forget my mom's side of the family. Her father was so famous for his generous portions of desert, that even now we call large desert portions after him (Although my desert portions probably rival even those of my Grandpa.) And then there's the story of my usually calm mother almost losing it in a German restaurant. She was there with my dad and brothers and they decided to share a strudel for desert. When my brothers relished their bites for what she felt was an unnecessarily long time, she cried, "FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, PASS THE STRUDEL!!" (Yes, a few people did turn around and look)
But anyway, no, I did not eat curry for lunch today, but I did have a generous portion of French fries. But that's another story...
I would go on, but as it's getting late, I think I should close this post so named for that glorious ground apple of the Colombian Exchange.