Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday #223

This week seemed more subdued. In the midst of grief there were still reasons to be joyful. I am thankful...

1) ...that I could help celebrate Susi's birthday
2) ...for a very great service at my local health food store
3) ...that I didn't need to buy new equipment for my new exercise routine
4) ...the beauty of flowers
5) ...music that can bring me to tears
6) ...hugs when I'm crying
7) ...the offer of epic advetures

Wednesday Weekly Art #2

Welcome to the second week of the new weekly art. I tried something new with this week, I don't care for how it turned out. I think the problem is less a new technique and that I had limited time to work on the project. I'm not happy with how unfinished it looks.

I was working off an original image from Different Strokes Pencil Drawing by David Poxon and both the artist lessons.
I've given to shots because why not.
As announced yesterday I'm going on an epic road trip next week. I am not sure I'm going to get any art down. The next weekly sketch should be up November 29th.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Adventure is Calling

I found the image on Pinterest
and could not track down
the original creator. 
I got a text last night from a dear friend, simply asking, "I have something to run by you. Would you
like to go on an epic road trip with me next week?" As I stared at my phone there was a rational side of me that was thinking, "sounds fun but there is work, commitments, and responsibilities. You can't you just can't." There was another, much smaller voice that said, "go on an adventure; it will be epic!" I sent a very neutral response of "um...no idea. maybe" and fell asleep.

Something happened while I slept, I decided I was going. I woke this morning knowing I needed to make this trip happen. My desire to go is more than just a "life is short" seize the day. I am feeling that this week; someone I love is no longer in the world. I am mourning the loss. So, there is a bit of a carpe diem motivation. It is also something more, life can be short except for those whos experience is that "life is long". It is not about the years a person has but the life poured into the years. All fall my Sister's catch phrase has been, "live your best life." And so I shall.

While I was working out if I can actually go, I was chatting with another friend over messenger. They reminded me, "epic things are worthwhile" and confirmed my decision with this personalized Tolkien quote:
"It is a dangerous business, Liz my girl, walking out your door... 'You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.'"
My next thought was, "Sweet, this trip can cross 'be spontaneous' off the 40 Before 40." Only when I looked at the list of 40 goals and be spontaneous wasn't there. I'm realizing there are a number of ideas I had that didn't make the list. A few weeks back I found a note on my phone I had been compiling for months of possible challenges. Here are some that didn't make the list but maybe should have:

1) Be spontaneous/doing something random or unexpected
2) Do something with that canvas
3) Participate on a dragon boat team
4) Learn a martial art
5) Have a conversation in a different language
6) Learn a musical instrument/learn to play a song
7) See a favourite band live (that you don't think you'd ever see live)
8) Snorkel and/or scuba dive
9) Try white water rafting and/or sky diving
10) Try a capsule wardrobe for a whole season
11) Indoor rock climbing
12) Ride an Orient Express train (original no longer in use) while reading Murder on the Orient Express
13) Walk through a labyrinth
14) Try an escape room
15) Ride and elephant
16) See the Victoria Falls
17) Visit the Galapagos Islands
18) Sleep in a castle (I'll settle for visiting one)
19) Visit the Doctor Who museum
20) Visit the Studio Ghibli museum
21) Explore the "Shire" and other LOTR sites in New Zealand
22) Have stamps from counties of six continents in one passport
23) Learn to juggle or do a magic trick
24) Fly first class
25) Own a piece of jewelry from Tiffany's
26) Memorize 100 verses
27) Memorize a chapter or book of the Bible
28) See a Shakespeare play in Stratford
29) Attend San Diego Comic-con
30) Eat at a Michelin rated restaurant
31) Eat macaroons in Paris
32) Cosplay more (there is a list of characters)
33) Celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa
34) Cook the family Thanksgiving feast from scratch (with help)
35) Live outside of Canada (again)
36) Take dance lessons: ballet, hip hop, swing, something
37) Be in a flash mob (do those things still happen?)
38) Walk through a butterfly sanctuary
39) Watch the sunrise and set on the same day
40) Complete a Rubik cube without a cheat sheet
41) Master hula hooping
42) Drive a standard
43) Visit all provinces and territories
44) Portage a canoe
45) Go Disney bounding
46) Crochet something
47) Participate in the Not Since Moses run
48) Read classics
49) Give away something of value
50) Buy fun bedding and duvet cover
51) Play D&D with one of my GM heroes
52) Vacation somewhere warm
53) Meet one of my heroes
54) Float on the Dead Sea
55) Camp in a rainforest, the African bush, or the Australian outback
56) Help someone else cross something off their Bucket List
57) See the Passion Play in Germany (there is a specific town, must ask Aurora)
58) Get married (there are crazier things on the list)
59) Eat dessert for breakfast
60) Have a special girls day with Mum and Sister

So, there were more than a few other ideas. Looks like I'm well on my way to finishing the challenge four, make a lifetime bucket list.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sister + Friend Movie Review: My LIttle Pony The Movie

This movie probably isn't for you. I know I just saw it but I've loved My Little Ponys since I was three. I got my sister her first pony. We enjoy Friendship is Magic because it's light, funny, and nostalgic. Oh and we have cosplayed as Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash more than once.

I was so excited when I learned there was a Movie. My Little Pony's has been out for over a month. I think I found the last theater in the area still showing the film and we drove there Saturday. Sister agreed to go but knowing the audience we offered to take Miss B with us. Miss B is in kindergarten, loves the ponies, and was also super excited to go to the movie. It was the perfect party for this particular movie. It was a big adventure and the car ride was grand. Miss B will be our movie companion for future cartoons. I feel less weird going to children's movie with a small human.

Warning: as always there are some spoilers ahead. Most of the minor but if you want to be surprised read no further.
Good:
Sister: Rainbow Dash. And it wasn't dumb.
Miss B.: Nothing...um, the mermaids
Me: The opening was perfect for the movie. The ponies flying into Equestria was a great set up followed by glimpses of many of the beloved secondary characters like Doctor Hooves and Rose. It was sad to see some key people missing like the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The songs were nice. I don't remember any today but I remember enjoying them at the time. The art style was slightly different from the cartoon and I liked the new design of the eyes. There were also some funny moments like Spike turning into a blow fish, Fluttershy befriending a shadow solider, or Rarity's giving up. There were also very in character good moments like Rainbow Dash's epic rainboom.

Less Than Good:
Sister: It definitely wasn't written for young children.
Miss B.: It was all bad and scary
Me: The whole feel of the movie was missing something. It wasn't as lovable as the cartoon. It had good moments but the whole was...less. The new characters, a cat and a crew of bird pirates, were pretty and had promise but are hardly rememberable. I don't know any of their names. The mermaid ponies were a bit better. And what was hardest to accept was the Mane 6 weren't awesome (. There was weird little things that just felt harsher or out of character. Like the Princess of Friendship yelling at her friends, saying "I would've been better off without friends like you" A movie needs conflict but some of it was out of character. It was unpleasant and disappointing. I think it also was more intense than I expected. Even the colour choices for the backgrounds were dark and oppressive for most of the movie. Miss B's reaction defiantly shaped my take on the movie. She was scared through most of it, she was engaged and happy during the first songs when it was the ponies preparing for a big party. Once the airship/villians showed up she did not have a good time. She then sat on my lap for the rest of the movie. She relaxed for a little of the mermaid scenes but it was a short lived break. If she had enjoyed it I think my take would have been less negative. She didn't have a good time and that was the point of the day. It lacked the joy of the show and therefore lacked charm of other feature animations achieve.

Mane Six:
Sister: Rainbow Dash
Miss B.: Pinkie Pie
Me: Twilight Sparkle

Another Character:
Sister: Tempest
Miss B.: Queen Novo (Merpony/Hippogriff Queen)
Me: Grubber

Great Quotes:
Sister:
Capper: Y'all sure you want the hippos?
Pinkie Pie: Ye-siree! The queen of the hippos!
Capper: Not like the queen of the lions, or tigers or bears?
Fluttershy: Oh my.
Or
Fluttershy: [to one of the Storm Creatures] You seem tense. Do you wanna talk about it?
Or
Party Favor: [after the airship pops a balloon animal] Brian, no!
 Me:
Twilight Sparkle: Celestia told Luna to find the Queen of the... "Hippos". Luna can't, so I have to.
Rainbow Dash: Uh, hippos? Seriously?
Pinkie Pie: I've heard they're surprisingly graceful for their size. Huh, but they're always hungry.
Spike: Hungry?
Applejack: Hippos? 
 Or
Tempest Shadow: Easy as pie.
Grubber: Oh, I love pie.
Or
Twilight Sparkle: [sees all her old and new friends working together to save the day] It's... It's the Magic of...
The Storm King: Yeah, yeah! Friendship and flowers and ponies! Bleh! I'm so totally over the cute pony thing.
Rating:
Sister: 3.5 sonic rainbooms out of 5
Miss B.: 1 mermaid pearls out of 5
Me: 2.8 Storm King airships out of 5

Final Thoughts:
It had good moments, there is humour, and talking ponies, but the charm and overall feeling of the Friendship is Magic show is missing. I don't know who the story was written for since Miss B found it too scary. I'm not even sure bronies would enjoy this.  Probably an older child...but ponies are normally marketed to younger girls.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Simple Woman Daybook 189


FOR TODAY: November 12, 2017
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Blog.

I am thinking...about how we process information and communicate. Also that I might need to rethink the daybook categories and make my own.

I am thankful...for friends and mums that make me hot lemon tea.

I am wearing...navel striped skirt, orange tank, and a navy cardiganesque top in jersey

I am creating...socks -still. I successfully turned the heal.

I am reading...I finished And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas night. Probably will start something new tomorrow.

I am watching... Arrow (Season 3), Mum, Dad we're watching Perception, and teen TV night is Stranger Things.

I am geeking out...Numenera, a futuristic fantasy-tech table top RPG.

I played... Machi Koro and Tokaido Friday night
One of my favorite things... tea, much tea

Verse of the week... Galatians 3:26-4:7


A few plans for the rest of the week:...tomorrow is book chats and Lunch with Liz, Tuesday TV night, Wednesday the mid-week Fuel, Thursday night games, and the weekend looks like a trip to see family.

Word Count: 12,535/50,000

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thankful Thursday #222

What a week! Normally that would be the start of a rant or the sign of a rough week. In this instance it isn't. It's been a full week, a week with joys, surprises, friends, reunions, victories, and a few tears. I had a blast. It is easy for find the joy in a week like this.

This is a tangent aside, (next side thought is that a redundant phrase "tangent aside"), there are those that think it is easy to praise God in the good times because the emotions or physical blessing make it easier. This idea would mean that it is in the struggles that it is hard to praise because circumstances cloud our perception of God. There are those who experience the opposite. In the rough times each small victory leads to praising because the small joys and blessings are so clear. In the good times people are so caught up in the sunshine they forget the creator of the light. As I think about both those concepts and I wonder, what if it's just our natural default not to praise and we learn it? I am by nature selfish and I am learning to be unselfish. I learn to be thankful. I learn to praise.

In any case, God is always good to me and I say thank you. This week I am thankful...

1) that I am able to go to the movies. It gives me great joy and I like stories
2) for a good friend came along side me to help with the letting go of stuff
3) that a long process is done and my credential have officially transferred
4) that the transfer also means official appointment at my church with a new title I'm an associate pastor
5) that my church family was there to celebrate
6) my parents who pray and support me
7) for the ever supportive, fantastic, and kind Susi
8) for the youth
9) for answered prayers
10) for all the creative outlets from writing to drawing I have access to.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Wednesday Weekly Art #1

This is my first of hopefully twelve drawings.

This is a quick snapshot of my sketchbook taken with my poor quality phone camera. The original image was a number of birds and comes from Different Strokes Pencil Drawing by David Poxon. I like the book. It gives two different options/lessons on how to draw the same image. I'll probably use the book for most of the upcoming drawings.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Sister + Friends Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

We saw THOR!!!

There was so much almost palpable anticipation leading up to Thor: Ragnarok release. Each trailer just built the hype; there was jumping and screaming. There are a few fans in our circle of friends. So this past Friday night six of us went to the very late show. We got home very very early this morning but the lack of sleep was worth it.

WARNING: There are major spoilers in this review.

The Good:
Brendan: There was great comedy, especially Korg (the rock-guy). The female leads were believable, strong, and not witchy* I also like how Hulk was given character growth and an actual personality.
Zach: There was an enjoyable balance of action and comedy. I normally loose interest in movies and this one held my attention.
Darby: Everything about this movie was awesome!
Liam: I liked it
Sister: I loved this. It was the best! We are going to see it again. I loved every moment of Loki and the theme music.
Me: I think the first thing that stuck me was how more there was to the film than the trailer gave. The trailer gave you enough to get excited but didn't spoil the movie. I hate when you see a trailer that plays off the movie as a comedy and the best jokes were in the trailer. I equally dislike trailers that leave nothing to discover; you know the outcome before you see the movie. Thor's marketing team overcame both those pitfalls. I was surprised by the film. There were things the trailer didn't give away. I was expecting my favourite line to be "we're friends from work" and it's still a great moment but it was only one of a number. There was still mystery to the story and I loved it. There were so many jokes, scenes, and even characters that were wonderful. The story has a lot of locations, it didn't feel over worked or choppy. The scene switches made sense, there were great set-ups early for later events that didn't feel like set-ups till after the fact, and a number of amazing one liners.

I loved Hela as a villain. I also loved that it wasn't Thor or even Team Revengers that defeated her. Yes, they thought up the plan but it wasn't there actual strength or skills that lead to her demise. I also liked with the ending it was happy-sad. They lost the place but saved the people. It was despair mixed with hope. Hope has a big theme in my thinking lately and I liked how the concept was reflected in the movie.

The Less Than Good:
Brendan: I had no complaints, just minor things like Hela's helmet made no sense and she looked better with her real hair. It would have been better if she had more screen time. Also, the music was mediocre. There was nothing great or memorable from the soundtrack and that is disappointing.
Zach: I enjoy mythologies and the changes Marvel has made to the real stories bothers me. Hela is really Loki's daughter. That still would have been a good movie plot to watch.
Darby: Hela seemed OP (overpowered) and the acting directions for Bruce Banner bothered me. I get they were going for in shock but he seemed dumb and clueless and Banner is neither of those things.
Liam: The giant wolf Fenris isn't used more.
Sister: The fake "lost your eye" make-up job they did on Thor looked bad
Me: There were parts of the Doctor Strange scenes that just bothered me. I think partly because we had seen some of the scenes at the end of the Doctor Strange movie. I did enjoy having Strange make a cameo, witnessing the improved power, and seeing him wearing the Eye again. Another thing I couldn't quite put my finger on was related to the voice of the writing. There were a few sarcastic lines that the writing sounded like the same person wrote them regardless of which character said the line, the exceptions were Korg and Grandmaster.

Favourite Character:
Brendan: Korg
Zach: Korg
Darby: Korg and Loki
Liam: Korg
Sister: Loki
Me: Hela

A Memorable Quote:
Brendan: "Doug use to say that. Hi New Doug" -Korg
Zach: The second time Korg shows up and says, "we have this big ship. Want to come with us?" (This is not the exact wording)
Darby: Would have to see again, there are too many to choose just one.
Liam: "The damage is not too bad. As long as the foundations are still strong, we can rebuild this place. It will become a haven for all peoples and aliens of the universe. Oof. Now those foundations are gone. Sorry." -Korg
Sister: Get Help Plan:

Me: "What are you, Thor, god of hammers?" -Odin

A Standout Scene:
Brendan: Too many to choose just one.
Zach: When Thor sees Loki tied up and throws something up to see if it is an illusion and earlier when Korg attacks the Loki hologram
Darby: In the champion battle, Thor slowly places his hand on Hulk's hand, hoping to calm him down like Natasha used to. Suddenly, Hulk grabs Thor and flattens him with repeated smashes into the floor. Loki cheers, "YES! That's what it feels like!"
Liam: Too many to choose just one.
Sister: The whole Thor coming home to Asgard and Loki is faking being Odin
Me: The Valkyrie's memory of their defeat at the hands of Hela, the switching of the history murals, and Thor gaining his powers without his hammer.

Rating:
Brendan: 5 party ships with all the birthday fireworks out of 5
Zach: 5 exploding hammers out of 5
Darby: 5 Asgardian corpses out of 5
Liam: 3.5 rock people
Sister: 5 Loki helmets out of 5
Me: 4.3 Valkyrie out of 5

Final Thoughts: We loved the movie. There was much to enjoy about Thor: Ragnarok. If you like the Marvel universe or superhero movies you'll enjoy this. I don't know how accessible it would be for someone who hasn't seen the first two Thor movies or Avengers 2. This built on the relationships and character development of those earlier movies. It will also be interesting to see where Marvel takes Thor and Loki in their next film appearance. All in all a fun movie.

*I've edited out some of the language choices, mostly because it is my blog and I can but also I know a few of my readers would appreciate it.