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Friday, May 26, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 62 - Straight From The Heart


There's only four weeks left in the Jem Reviewed series.  I know, it went by quickly, didn't it?  And last week, we performed a little bit of magic with famous magician Astral.  What's going to happen this week?



Well, this is Episode 62: Straight From The Heart.  Hmm, I wonder if Bryan Adams will be making an appearance?  Somehow I have my doubts.



We start the show at a fireworks display.  4th of July, maybe?  No, wait.  It's actually a fashion show.  I don't know too many fashion shows that use fireworks except for maybe the Victoria's Secret lingerie show every December.  Whatever the case, the Holograms are there along with the Countess Danielle DuVoisin, and they are there to meet one of the hottest up and coming designers this side of France.



Her name is Regine Cesaire, and she admittedly is as cute as a button.  She is also the subject of today's Jem Trivia, and for this one I'll be talking about Astral as well.  You see, when Episodes 61 and 62 were being made, there were plans to make them much more prominent characters.  So prominent that both of them were supposed to have their own dolls, as well as the Stingers.  However, not long after these episodes were produced, Hasbro decided to pull the plug on Jem dolls, as they weren't selling.  So, as a result, the Astral and Regine dolls were scrapped.  It does make me wonder how long the show was slated to last for.  By the way they were talking, they might have been hoping to keep the Jem train going until at least 1990. 



The Countess explains that Regine is a superfan of the Holograms and has all of their albums and videos, and it would be a dream come true for Regine to design something for them.  In fact, when Regine finally meets the band, Shana and Regine click right away.  This makes me fairly happy for two reasons.  One, it's nice that Shana and Regine are bonding since they have a shared interest in fashion.  And two, it's nice to see Shana GET A STORYLINE!  I mean, Raya's had more lines than she has!

Regine is eager to please the Holograms by designing the dresses for their upcoming concert, but she is a little frustrated when the Holograms don't exactly know what look they want to go for.  To give Regine a bit of moral support, they sing her a song as they sketch.



That song is "It All Depends On The Mood I'm In", which also appeared in Episode 12 (another episode about fashion design).  Unlike the original video which shows Jem, Kimber, and Aja playing dress-up, this one is more sophisticated.  I like the idea of making Jem and the Holograms sketches against a pencil crayon background.  Very creative, and still a solid tune fifty episodes later!



That song seems to have sparked a creative flow in Regine, and she has come up with a brilliant idea - but she wants to keep the Holograms from knowing until her work is finished.



The next day, she drags the Countess to a fabric store and like a Project Runway contestant she goes crazy with selecting fabric.  I half expect Tim Gunn to pop out from a door and say "Thank You, Mood"!  The Countess is glad to see Regine so passionate, but she questions some of the choices she is making.  Having designed clothes for Jem and the Holograms since their "Only The Beginning" days, she knows what they like.  Regine is undaunted, and she believes that the Holograms will find the designs to be gorgeous.  She definitely believes in herself...at least for now.



But while Regine has grabbed a couple of bolts of fabric (without paying for them, might I add), she notices a giant red bolt of fabric rolling towards her feet.  Part of me thinks she's thinking of taking it so that she can make Kimber some culottes, but in actuality it leads to a horse drawn carriage.  What is this, the 1800s?



No, it's just the egotistical yellow and black clad rockers known as the Stingers.  And yes, Riot, Rapture, and Minx are still just as insufferable as they were the last few episodes. 



It seems as though Riot has heard of Regine's success story and has decided that he wants to capitalize on it.  He tells Regine that he wants her to design a new look for the Stingers - and proceeds to shower himself and his group with compliments.  Regine is honoured by Riot's request, but makes a note of pointing out that she is already committed to Jem and the Holograms - a confession that makes Rapture and Minx comment on how boring and mundane Jem is.  Yep, still bitchy.

Riot still won't give up, and he pops in a CD (wow, a horse drawn carriage with a CD Player - how modern) of the Stingers singing a song.



It's very rare that we get to see two songs before the first commercial break, but here we are.  Once again, the Stingers provide a great sound with "All In The Style" - even if the song is devoid of substance and is more of a fluff piece. 

When Regine still presses her commitment to Jem, Riot gets the driver to stop the carriage and throws her out!  Wow, how gentlemanly.  But of course, Riot can't help but try to shatter Regine's confidence by telling her that the Holograms won't like her stuff.  Because we all know that Riot doesn't like the word no.  Just look at how he's stooped to practically stalking Jem every minute he gets!



Still, Regine believes that she's made the right decision, and she arrives at Starlight Mansion with five boxes in her arms.  She seems surprised that Shana opens the door to greet her, as she believed that the Holograms had people to do it for them.  I...I don't know how to react to that statement.  She also seems shocked that Jem and the Holograms spend their nights taking care of twelve girls and doing chores instead of clubbing all night on the Sunset Strip.  Jem explains that they have a lot of responsibilities that come first - well, except for when they go from country to country without bringing any of the girls along.  Regine refers to it as mundane - exactly the same word the Stingers used to describe the Holograms.  Uh oh...I think they corrupted her.



Regine hands over the dresses for the band to try on, and when they come out, everyone in the room is amazed.  The looks that Jem and the Holograms are wearing is from Regine's "Martinique Collection", and I have to say that it's definitely not like any of the other outfits they've worn previously.  They're nice though - at least by 1988 standards.  But Jem and the Holograms aren't sure that the image that Regine has created works for them.  They like them, but they aren't in love with them.  To Jem's surprise, Regine appears to be hurt by the comments, and she remarks that she will make something else for them with her words freshly dipped in bitter sarcasm.  I'm guessing that one of Regine's issues is being able to handle constructive criticism.  That could come back to bite her.



Back at her studio (which is set up in the Countess DuVoisin's home), Regine is trying to come up with a new design for the Holograms, but she is not having much luck.  The Countess proves just how huge a heart she has by offering to help Regine design the looks, but Regine rudely tells her that she must do it herself.  Yeah, you know how I said Regine was as cute as a button?  She's not so much that now.



The tense atmosphere is broken when one of Countess DuVoisin's servants arrives with a letter - for Regine!  It turns out to be an invitation with a voice chip embedded in it.  Riot cordially invites her to a party at Stingers Sound where only the BEST people will be there.  Naturally, Regine loves pretty much anyone who showers her with compliments, so she abandons the Jem project telling the Countess that all work and no play makes Regine a dull girl.  To which the Countess sassily remarks that all play and no work makes Regine unemployed!  Man, I missed you Countess DuVoisin!  She's more blunt than Gail Vaz-Oxlade on the television show "Prince$$"!



And let me tell you...this is one party that I would NOT love to be a part of.  



Every time Regine tries to introduce herself to some of the partygoers, they completely ignore her, or they treat her as if she is garbage.  Even another up and coming designer named Yaki Tori treats her as if she has leprosy.  I'm more distracted that he looks like Mick Jagger.



Fortunately for Regine, Riot seems to bring attention to her and continues to shower her with compliments, and it is only then that the upper crust of Los Angeles decide that she's worth talking to.  Yaki even apologizes for how badly he treated her, but it's with the same amount of sincerity as one of Riot's pick-up lines, so take it what it's worth.  At least it seems to give Regine a boost of confidence, and she decides that she will make some new sketches right this second.  



However, the sketches are NOT for the Stingers.  They are an idea for Jem and the Holograms.  And naturally since Riot is not the center of attention, he once again turns off the charm and turns on the venom, predicting that Jem will not appreciate the designs at all.  Sometimes I wish someone would just throw him off the roof!



However frustrating Riot as a person is, I will at least admit that he does know how to read people.  And when Regine presents her "royalty themed" collection which is designed to make the Holograms be respected and noticed, Jem seems to hate the collection more than the last one.  Jem at least tries to soften the blow, but Regine won't hear it.  She goes off on a tantrum about how Riot was right and how they wouldn't know great fashion if they were strangled by a bolt of green taffeta.  Oooh, reign it back in there, Regine!



Once the Holograms hear Riot's name, they try to convince her that Riot and the Stingers are just using her.  Shana, in particular, tries really hard to make Regine listen to reason.  But this just makes Regine angrier and angrier, and she flat out accuses Shana of being jealous of her!  It's like she took the bridge of opportunity between herself and Jem, covered it with C4 explosives and pressed the detonator eighty-six times!  But then again, maybe Regine is a lot like Roxy - she has to learn the hard way.

Luckily for us there's another segment to go, so we get to watch Regine's fall from grace from front row seats!  Um...yay?



So, given that Jem rejected the royal line, the Stingers waste no time in claiming the look as their own.  Makes sense, given that Riot believes himself to be better than royalty.  Anyone kind of wishing Regine had put Riot in one of the Martinique dresses?  Though, Regine is getting the first taste of what designing for the Stingers is like when Riot completely twists the message of what Regine's clothing is supposed to portray into a completely self-centered spiel.  Regine tries to protest, but her new boy toy Yaki prevents her from doing that, pointing out that she's now a star and not to ruin it. 



Oh, and in case you were wondering, it does appear that Regine and Yaki are "dating".  She sort of confirms it on the Harriet Horn show, and you know how lovely Harriet is when it comes to scandals.  Speaking of scandals, did you notice that Harriet seems to have taken over Lindsey Pearce's studio?  I wonder if Harriet made her just...disappear?



At the Fashion Mall, Regine and Yaki are fabric shopping once again, and of course, Regine seems to be putting more into the relationship than Yaki is.  Frankly, I find Yaki kind of...well...yucky.  But he's a key player towards Regine getting a nice taste of humble pie so for that reason alone, we're going to have to deal with him.  Uh, yay



Before that, Shana arrives at the fabric store to make one last plea to Regine.  Unlike the Stingers (and Yucky), Shana and the other Holograms are genuinely concerned for Regine, and she warns her that choosing image over substance will not get her very far.  Shana reaches into her purse and gives Regine a ticket to their concert hoping that Regine will accept it and that when she's ready to value substance again, they'll be waiting.  Finally, Shana gets a storyline and she also is the voice of reason.  I really missed her.



Though part of me wishes that Rapture and Minx would disappear for good.  They overhear the conversation between Shana and Regine and decide to intervene.  Rapture gives Regine hell for conversing with the enemy.  Oh brother.  And when Shana gives both of them a piece of her mind, Rapture covers Shana's head with transparent fabric as Minx pours an entire cup of soda into Shana's purse!  Like...how old are these Stingers?  Six and a half?  Not even Ashley acted this bratty in the first few episodes of the show!


Once Shana leaves, Regine is appalled that they treated Shana that way, and this sets the tone for Minx and Rapture turning on Regine.  I get the feeling that much like Pizzazz, Mrs. Farnsworth, and an entire section of Athens, Greece, Regine will be the next victim of the Stinger sting.



Sure enough, the plot for revenge against Regine begins with Rapture holding up a crystal.  She explains to Regine that Riot is very choosy when it comes to colour.  If she holds the crystal up to Riot's face and the crystal changes colour, that will be the colour of Riot's aura, and blah blah blah.  Basically, Regine is being tricked into embarrassing herself.



And that's exactly what happens when she yanks the crystal out during a board meeting at Stingers Sound.  Riot is confused, the staff (including Yucky Tori) laugh at her, and Regine runs out of the room in tears.  Man, I know Regine needed to learn a valuable lesson, but this was just cruel.



Regine's day gets much worse when she discovers that her lovely boyfriend has been cheating on her with Minx of all people.  Wow, first Techrat, now Yucky?  Minx really doesn't have high standards when it comes to men, does she?  I mean, her first crush was RIO of all people!  Seems as though Yucky hasn't been a very nice guy, and he was using Regine to get an in with the Stingers so that he could show his designs!  Wow, talk about cutthroat!  Honestly, if I were Regine, I'd club him over the head with a sewing machine...but poor Regine is so broken down, she just flees the room with Minx and Yucky laughing at her expense. 

Think that's the end of it?  Think again.



It's when she meets with Riot that the final straw is broken.  Riot flat out rejects Regine's new designs and fires her on the spot for being boring.  And, who should get her old job but Yucky!  How's that humble pie taste, Regine?  Bet it's quite sour isn't it?  But at least there's some good.  Regine reminds Yucky that the Stingers might see him as the flavour of the month now, but it'll be a matter of time before they see him as stale and toss him out on the curb.  Actually, that'd be poetic justice.



So after swallowing the last spoonful of humble pie, Regine looks at the ticket that Shana gave her, and thinking of her words goes to the concert to see the Holograms and tell them what happened.  At first, she is embarrassed to admit that the Stingers and Yucky drove her to tears, but Jem reveals that she always feels better after a good cry.  Well, I guess your sister wrote the book on that subject, eh Jem?

(CONFESSION:  I poke fun here, but I totally agree with Jem.  But let's keep that between us, okay?)



Regine also apologizes for how badly she behaved, and luckily the rest of the Holograms forgive her - Shana in particular seems pleased with seeing Regine decide on her own to do the right thing.  But Regine was so focused on the Stingers that she never had time to design new costumes for the Holograms.  But Jem reveals that she has a surprise for Regine - and that Regine should go into the crowd and see the concert to discover what it is.



Regine sits down in her seat and as the show begins, Regine is in for a shock.  Jem and the Holograms are wearing the Martinique dresses that Regine made the first time.  Jem even announces that the dresses were made by Regine and points her out in the crowd as they play the final song of the episode.



Now, if you had told me that Jem and the Holograms would do a song with a reggae flair, I'd call you crazy.  But "Straight From The Heart" is a brilliant tune, and Britta Phillips sings it with...well...heart!  It's a song that has typical Jem lyrics and a Jem theme...but with an island twist.  I love it myself.



And so does the crowd.  In particular, the people who have called to place orders with the Countess for the outfits that Jem wore!  Regine is pleased that her Martinique collection is a huge hit, and now it's Jem's turn for a slice of humble pie.  While she wasn't sure about the dresses at first, she's glad they gave them a chance because they ended up liking them a lot, and they were the very pieces that helped Regine become a success.  So, the moral of this episode is...don't let people influence your decisions.  If something feels right, go with your gut.

And NEVER date anyone named Yaki Tori. 



That's a wrap for Episode 62.  Next week, we're at the third last episode of Jem Reviewed.  In this one, one of the Stingers undergoes a personality change when they are caught up in a traumatic event.  But which one is it?  And how does this impact everyone else?  And the Misfits are back!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 1977

I'm not even going to give you a hint for today's Throwback Thursday post.  If I did, I'd give it away even before I got to today's historical events and celebrity birthdays.  Heck, the date alone might be a giveaway.  So, I won't waste time.  Here's a list of some of the things that happened on May 25.

240 BC - First recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet

1738 - A treaty signed between Pennsylvania and Maryland ends the Conojocular War

1787 - The United States Constitutional Convention convenes in Philadelphia

1803 - Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (d. 1882) is born in Boston, Massachusetts

1837 - The Rebels of Lower Canada (present day Quebec) rebel against the British for governmental reforms

1865 - An ordnance depot explodes in Mobile, Alabama, killing 300 people

1878 - Gilbert and Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore" opens in London

1895 - Oscar Wilde is convicted of "committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons" and is sentenced to two years in prison

1925 - John T. Snopes is indicted for teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution in his Tennessee classroom

1935 - At the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jesse Owens manages to break three world records and equal a fourth

1939 - Actress Dixie Carter (d. 2010) is born in McLemoresville, Tennessee

1940 - The Battle of Boulogne ends with the capture of the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer by Germany

1955 - A devastating F5 tornado strikes Udall, Kansas, killing 80 and injuring 273

1961 - President John F. Kennedy announces his goal to "put a man on the Moon" before the end of the decade - that goal would be met in 1969

1963 - The Organisation of African Unity is established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

1968 - The Gateway Arch is dedicated in St. Louis, Missouri

1977 - The government of China removes the ban on all works by William Shakespeare, ending the Cultural Revolution

1979 - American Airlines Flight 191 crashes at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, killing everyone on board and two on the ground

1983 - Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is released in theatres

1986 - Hands Across America takes place

1990 - Actor Vic Tayback dies at the age of 60

2002 - China Airlines Flight 611 disintegrates mid-air, killing everybody on board

2007 - Actor/comedian Charles Nelson Reilly dies at the age of 76

2011 - The final episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" airs

2014 - Actor/singer Herb Jeffries passes away at the age of 100

And the list of celebrities turning one year older are as follows; Georgy Grechko, Irwin Winkler, Tom T. Hall, Ian McKellen, Jessi Colter, John Palmer, Leslie Uggams, Charlie Harper, Frank Oz, Karen Valentine, Klaus Meine, Robby Steinhardt, Bob Gale, Robert Picard, Rick Wamsley, Anthea Turner, Mike Myers, Anne Heche, Stacy London, Jamie Kennedy, Octavia Spencer, Daz Dillinger, Molly Sims, Cody Canada, Erinn Hayes, Cillian Murphy, Ethan Suplee, Joe King, Neon Hitch, Jillian Wheeler, and Aly Raisman.

And now for today's Throwback Thursday date.  



We're going back exactly forty years.  To May 25, 1977.

Now, that was the same day that China revoked its ban on all works of Shakespeare...but it's not the main subject of this blog.  No, this blog is going to take you to place not from this planet.  I could say that we're boldly going where no man has gone before...but I won't.  Because that has nothing to do with today's theme aside from the setting.

And, notice how on this date in 1983 that Return of the Jedi was released in theatres?  Certainly it was a great film, and just one of several that have been made within this franchise.  However, it was on this date 40 years ago that the movie that kicked off this franchise debuted.  A movie that introduced us to characters such as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and of course, Chewbacca.



Can you believe that it's been four decades since Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope debuted?  Of course, back in 1977, it was just known as Star Wars.  After all, George Lucas at the time didn't realize how huge the franchise would become.  It was also one of the first movies to begin its story right in the middle, as the prequel trilogy wouldn't screen until 1999 and the sequel trilogy is currently being made (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released in 2015).  But it remains one of the most successful science-fiction films ever, and forty years later, its impact on pop culture is still widely felt.  It also made household names of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and the late Carrie Fisher.

So, I thought that in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, I'd put my search engine on warp speed and do some research on the first film.  And then I thought I'd post one fact for every one of the 40 years that has passed since the film made its debut!  I know I learned a lot more about the film by writing this blog, and I've consulted the Internet Movie Database and several other references to find the most interesting trivia bits about Star Wars. 

Let's begin!

1 - Initially there wasn't a lot of high expectations for the film to do well.  George Lucas skipped out on the premiere to go on vacation with Steven Spielberg - though it was on this vacation that they came up with the idea for Indiana Jones.

2 - It became the first film to make over $300,000,000 at the box office.

3 - Harrison Ford admitted to being on his best behaviour when Alec Guinness was filming scenes with him.  Once he was gone, he and Mark Hamill would get into mischief!

4 - David Prowse was the man in the Darth Vader costume - however his voice was provided by James Earl Jones.



5 - Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill did their own stunt work for the scene where Luke and Leia swing to safety - it was filmed in one take!

6 - Ever wonder how the lightsaber sound effect was achieved?  It is a combination of the humming of a 35mm projector with the feedback generated by passing a stripped microphone cable by a television.

7 - Carrie Fisher's mother, Debbie Reynolds, was so appalled that George Lucas was making the cast fly coach that she called him to complain - though Carrie had the last word when she told her to f@#$ off and that she was flying coach!

8 - During the trash compactor scene, Mark Hamill held his breath so long that he popped a blood vessel in his face.

9 - Peter Mayhew wanted to play a good guy while David Prowse wanted to play a bad guy.  They were cast as Chewbacca and Darth Vader respectively.



10 - Kenny Baker, the man in the R2-D2 outfit, has said that when the crew broke for lunch, they would accidentally leave him behind.

11 - Carrie Fisher's breasts had to be taped down with gaffer's tape, as her costume didn't permit lingerie to be worn underneath.

12 - After the trash compactor scene, the Chewbacca costume was left with a permanent stench.

13 - An interesting connection between two Star Wars films.  Denis Lawson, who played Wedge in the original film is Ewan McGregor's uncle.  Ewan, of course, played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars I, II, and III.

14 - Peter Cushing would wear fuzzy slippers in scenes in which his feet weren't shown - the boots that were part of his costume were too tight for him.

15 - Amazingly, Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi NEVER really share any screen time together - unless you count the lightsaber duel where she sees him from a significant distance.

16 - John Williams composed the iconic Star Wars theme, as well as all of the music heard within the film.



17 - Take a good look at the Stormtroopers.  Almost all of them are left-handed.

18 - According to the Internet Movie Database, the film has one of the highest body counts (if not the highest) ever, with a total of 2,002,795,192 losing their lives!

19 - Han Solo's character evolved a LOT from the planning stages.  He was initially to be a giant green alien, but then that was changed to an African-American human, and finally a Caucasian.

20 - George Lucas was considering having Orson Welles do the voice of Darth Vader, but decided against it, as Welles' voice would have been too recognizable.

21 - George Lucas would refer to the film as a "Disney movie" during the production.  I'll let you all figure out the irony behind that statement...

22 - Kenner Toys was so hit with demand for Star Wars toys that they actually didn't have enough supply for holiday shoppers during Christmas 1977.  The company issued rain check vouchers during this time, and the toys were delivered the following spring.

23 - The scenes on Tatooine were filmed in a Tunisian desert - one that received the first heavy rainfall in over fifty years while the crew filmed!

24 - Sandstorms would destroy some of the sets representing Tatooine.  Twenty-two years later while filming "The Phantom Menace", the same thing happened.



25 - Ralph McQuarrie designed the iconic Darth Vader suit.

26 - George Lucas based the character of Han Solo on his friend, Francis Ford Coppola

27 - Brian DePalma helped George Lucas write the opening text crawl.

28 - When Captain Wedge Antilles' neck is crushed by Darth Vader, the sound effect is made by walnuts being crushed



29 - Several Star Wars references can be found in the "Final Fantasy" series of games - most notably in Final Fantasy VII, where two of the members of AVALANCHE are named Biggs and Wedge.

30 - Ben Burtt is the man behind Chewbacca's voice, as well as several of the other sound effects heard in the film - he disclosed that alien gibberish spouted by Garindian/Long Snoot was John Wayne's voice - albeit heavily processed.



31 - Fans were upset that Chewbacca (SPOILER ALERT) didn't get a medal in the closing scene.  MTV decided to fix that by giving Chewbacca a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.  Carrie Fisher was the one who made the presentation!

32 - This was the first movie to be dubbed in Navajo.

33 - The film runs for 121 minutes - making it the shortest of all the Star Wars movies.

34 - The film's stars had to get used to being mobbed by fans.  Harrison Ford had half of his shirt torn off at a record store one day when a group of fans mobbed him.

35 - According to some of the Stormtrooper actors, they were paid 8500 Tunisian Dinar for their work - which only worked out to $6.50 US back in 1977!



36 - Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO, had a wardrobe malfunction the first day he wore the costume which proved painful.  The left leg shattered down into the plastic of the left foot which stabbed his foot each step he took.

37 - Mark Hamill almost didn't get to play Luke Skywalker.  He was already committed to the television show "Eight is Enough" and the producers wouldn't let him out of the contract.  Shortly after filming the pilot, Hamill was involved in a car accident that caused damage to his face.  Producers released him from the contract, leaving him free to do the movie.

38 - Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford thought that George Lucas was a lousy dialogue writer, and after a confrontation, Lucas granted them permission to improvise some of the script.

39 - The film's budget was supposed to be $8 million, but it ballooned by another $3 million by the time production was completed.

And finally...

40 - It was the first science-fiction film to be nominated for an Academy Award.




HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY, STAR WARS! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Truth About Myself - Conclusion

Hello, everybody.

I have to admit, I was struggling to try and find a way to conclude this five part series.  Over the last month, I've learned a lot about myself and what makes me who I am.  I've confronted some truths about myself that were hard to try and take, but at the same time they make me who I am.  I've found that there are some things that I like about myself, and there are some things that I don't like as much.

But one thing I do know is that I am who I am.  And those who truly understand me and like me will accept it.

I've come up with a lot of truths about myself.  I'm socially aloof, I think outside the box way more than others, and the way that I make connections with people is often by the seat of my pants where not even I know what I'm doing half the time!




And the final truth about myself comes at the same exact day that this blog celebrates its SIXTH anniversary.  How in the world have I been blogging this long and not gone crazy yet?  

As you all can see, I've changed the logo to celebrate the sixth anniversary of this blog.  I decided to do something different this time around and took all of the previous logos and stitched them together to make a retrospective banner.

I still can't believe that the original logo I made back in 2011 was drawn with gel pens in a couple of minutes!  I'm not sure what I was thinking at that time!

Anyway, you'll notice that the other change I made was with the font.  I chose a different one that made it easier to read.  Not that there was anything wrong with the old font...I just sort of like this one better.  Aside from that, I left it mostly the same.

To be honest, I thought about drastically changing the look completely as I have done a couple of times before.  Giving it a whole new look with new colours.  But this time around, I decided against it.  I like how it looks now.

And, I kind of like me how I am now.  Well, at least emotionally.  The physical part is something that can come with time.

But really, when I stop and think about how this blog has progressed and how far it has come, any of the changes I've made were mostly superficial.  Back in the infancy of this blog, I tried experimenting with different looks.  Much like when I was a young kid, trying different looks in hopes of getting people to talk with me, or play with me.  But over time, I began to realize that people weren't engaging with me because of how I looked.  It was more along the lines of the stories I could tell, or the jokes I could crack, or the wisdom I could bring forth.

(Well, okay...maybe my wisdom isn't THAT great.  But I still have my wisdom teeth...that's something, right?)


I guess this blog is the same way.  People don't come here because this blog looks great.  Truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of blogs that look more well put together than mine.  But every single story that I have told.  Every cartoon that I have reviewed.  Every pop culture topic I've shared.  Every single time I've had a thought go through my head, I've posted it right here.  And I've done so for the last six years.  That isn't going to change.  It's not what it looks like, but the content that is within.

And that is the final truth.  It's not the outside of a person that makes a person intelligent, or wise, or handsome even.  It's the stuff that comes from within.

And although the truth is that I have a brain that thinks differently from others, a heart that feels things with more sensitivity than some people, and an exterior that admittedly could use some body work - I won't change my interior for any amount of money in the world.

Both in this blog, and within me.

I tell myself that by being who I am, I'll attract the people in my life who are meant to be there.  And I'll scare away the ones who don't!  But it's a truth that I've believed to be true for a while, and it's a truth that has most defined me.

Here's to the next six years, or for however long this lasts.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Focus



Another day, another devastating event.  And this time, I'm really angry and heartbroken over it.

By now, most of you have heard the news.  On the night of May 22, 2017, in Manchester, England, a terrible explosion took place at the Manchester Arena shortly after 10:30pm.  The explosion took place during the finale of the Ariana Grande concert which was sold out.  The end result was that twenty-two people lost their lives and another fifty-nine were reported to have injuries ranging from mild to critical.

It is the deadliest terror attack to strike the United Kingdom since the July 2005 bus bombings in London.  It has been reported and widely speculated that the cause of the explosion was a suicide bomber, and that terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility.

But you know what?  I don't want to spend this piece talking about them any longer.



I've labeled this post as "Focus".  The title happens to be the title of an Ariana Grande single that peaked at #7 here in North America.  It's also the theme that I want this blog to feature.  It's a time in which we all need to focus on what is really important and what we can do to get through this.  Because even though this tragedy was most felt in the UK, the whole world was watching and grieving alongside all of Manchester.

As I stated, I will NOT be focusing on the people who orchestrated these attacks.  One of my friends was bang on when she described the perpetrator as a "homicide bomber" and not a suicide bomber.  He is no martyr.  He is no hero.  He is a coward.  A coward who chose one of the most inexcusable targets to terrorize.  I don't want to say any more than that.



Instead, I want to focus on the people of Manchester.  And while there is a lot of bad stuff to focus on, there are also some silver linings to be found within the dark clouds.

I can't even imagine what it was like to have been in that arena when the explosions went off.  One minute the crowd is dancing in the aisle tossing pink balloons in the air and grooving along to the music.  The next, they're running for their lives.  It must have been jarring and shocking to those who were at the arena.

It also must have been pure hell for those parents were waiting for word on whether their children got out okay.  One of my dearest friends actually had a child attending that concert and was naturally worried sick about him and whether he was safe.  I'm happy to report that he got out of the arena safely...but not everybody was so lucky. 

I want to focus on the victims of the blast, and how unfair it was that they were caught up in a disaster that was orchestrated to bring fear and terror to a nation.  They did not deserve to die.  They just wanted to have fun watching their favourite singer belt out all their favourite tunes.   For some, it was their very first concert ever.  I hate that they were exposed to this.  I hate that so many lives were cut short.  I hate that some of the victims were as young as eight years old.  And for what?  What did this accomplish?  I don't think anyone will ever understand that.






I want to focus on Ariana Grande herself.  Her last tweet was made after the explosion took place, which stated how sorry she was and how she had no words to describe what happened.  I want her to know that she has absolutely nothing to apologize for.  She had no idea that anything like this would happen, and she should know that the world is feeling her pain.  We should be showing compassion towards her and everyone else that was at the arena.  We should focus on coming together so that everybody can heal.

I also want to focus on the united front that the city of Manchester took that night.  Because while there was lots of mourning done that night, there were also amazing tales of how strong the human spirit is.  It's incredible to see all of the stories of how people were reunited with each other because of social media platforms.  Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, people found out that their loved ones were all right a lot quicker than before. 

I want to focus on those people who helped others get out of the building.  I've read tales of how complete strangers bonded together to help everybody get out safely.

I've even heard tales of people who live in the nearby area opening up their homes to concertgoers so that they could either have a safe place to wait it out or so they could use their landline phones, or just to come to terms with what happened.  To me, I find that fantastic. 

That's what I want to focus on.  I want people to know that in the wake of senseless tragedies like this one that there is still a lot of good in this world.  That is what we need to shift our focus towards.  And that focus will be the strength we all need to not only stand up to the terrorists, but to continue to find happiness and joy in a world that some only want to destroy.





Focus on life.  Focus on love.  Focus on each other.