Disney Project 2014: The Emperor’s New Groove

Movie: The Emperor’s New Groove

Release year: 2000

I don’t think that many people are familiar with this movie – so let me just say, it is actually really funny and a lot of fun. A great buddy story. In fact, I know someone who calls this is favorite Disney movie of all time – and I don’t think he’s crazy for saying so. (Fun fact: He just told me it’s the first DVD he ever purchased himself, and it cost $40. So that’s a fun glimpse into life 10 years ago.)

Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, The Emperor’s New Groove takes place in South America (Peru?). David Spade (remember him??) plays an incredibly self-centered 18-year-old emperor, who is turned into a llama by his scheming advisor (Eartha Kitt). He winds up in a small village outside of his kingdom, and with the help of a kind and charming villager (played by John Goodman, who I love), he has to find his way back to the castle to take back his empire and make himself human again.

Side note: My Emperor’s New Groove-fanatic friend just told me this is officially the first Disney movie to feature a pregnant character – the villager’s wife. She is a great character and that is another great fun fact!

Drew hadn’t seen this before, so I tried to get him to sit and watch it as much as possible, while I did the chasing portion of our movie-a-la-toddler-viewing. He said he liked it. I look forward to sitting down one day and watching it all the way through again!

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I took 40 pictures, this was the best I could do.

The Emperor’s New Groove is #40 on our list! For funsies, here’s what we have coming up:

Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Lilo & Stitch
Treasure Planet
Brother Bear
Home on the Range
Chicken Little
Meet the Robinsons
Bolt
The Princess and the Frog
Tangled
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Wreck-It Ralph
Frozen

What have you seen? What have you never heard of?

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The Weekend of Rachael

I have this story to tell, but I started writing it a week ago, and then I thought, “Wouldn’t this be so cool if I did it to the tune of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?” And then I never got around to writing it, and now it’s been a week, and I’m afraid if I don’t just tell you, it’ll be too late anyway.

So. Here’s what happened last weekend (as in 10 days ago).

No, I have to go back a little farther. I’m in this Facebook group for moms. It’s been going strong for almost 3 years, and I joined way back in April of 2012, when I went public about being pregnant with B. A coworker invited me to this group that her friend had started, which was, at the time, about 20 women around the country who were all pregnant. It was a fun group of people, and I liked it.

As fun, likable things do, it’s grown considerably. At present count, the group boasts over 100 members, and is relatively drama-free. (You might laugh, but consider what I just said: it’s over 100 women, mostly semi-hidden behind the anonymity of the internet, all engaged in parenting: the activity that turns you into a hormonal, defensive, stressed, confused, second-guesser.) But the group is supportive, it’s helpful, we send each other outgrown Halloween costumes and do Secret Santa gift exchanges and get together when it’s possible and tell each other what HFM/blocked tear ducts/normal diaper rash looks like.

One of the women from the original group (let’s call her Rachael) lived in Nebraska with her husband and her one child and her pregnant belly when I first e-met her. She was one of the women that I really took a shine to. We talked outside of the group, sent each Christmas cards, etc. This summer, she moved to Nevada with her (now three!) kids.

And last weekend, on a complete whim and a prayer, she hopped on a plane and flew to the Bay Area to meet a bunch of other moms in real life for the first time.

See, I had invited the Bay Area contingent of this group to come see the show my work is currently producing. We were going on Sunday afternoon. Jokingly, Rachael started talking about flying out to come with us. We egged her on and offered our couches, and the next thing I know, there I am at the airport picking her up.

Earlier that day, Drew had asked me if I was at all worried that she was catfishing us. I didn’t think that was likely, as it has been 2 1/2 years and that’s a very long con. But when I was waiting at the terminal, and she texted and said, “I just walked outside,” and all I could see was a tall guy standing on the curb – I did have a moment of “Uh-oh…” Luckily, then I saw Rachael a little further down and everything was fine.

It turns out she is just as lovely in person as she is online. She stayed over at my place on Friday night, then on Saturday we did brunch and hung out with some of the group in the East Bay, she stayed with another friend on Saturday night, and then a third friend on Sunday night. I hope it was as fun and casual as it all sounds – it was certainly gutsy to fly somewhere new to stay with a bunch of strangers, and I really hope that it paid off for her.

It did for us – it was awesome to get to meet a pseudo-celebrity, for one…I was a little star-struck. But for another, well, we Bay Area members have historically put a lot of planning into each meet up. Having this last-minute weekend happen where we pulled it together for multiple meals and hanging out – well, maybe it taught us to loosen up a little bit. Also, most of the hanging out didn’t involve children (ironic, since that’s what brought us all together), so maybe it also taught us that we can be friends based on our actual relationships, and not just based on the fact that we all have kids.

At any rate. It was an awesome, whirlwind, crazy weekend, and it all went by too fast. I had an amazing time. I hope we can do more stuff like that in the future. So thank you to Rachael for kicking it all off and taking a chance on us! And thanks for not being a catfisher or a murderer!

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Disney Project 2014: Dinosaur

Movie: Dinosaur

Release year: 2000

Let me answer your two questions right now: Yes, it’s been awhile since we fell off the Disney-movie-watching-train. But we were tracking down Dinosaur, which neither of us has ever seen, and which we finally got at the library (thank you, library!). And your second question: Dinosaur is a movie about a young iguanadon named Alador, raised by lemurs (I think?), who has to travel to the Great Valley Nesting Grounds when an asteroid destroys the island they live on.

It feels much like Disney’s answer to The Land Before Time. Except everyone saw and loved The Land Before Time.

Also, why do all of the dinosaur movies have to be about them combating asteroids and devastation and trying to cross deserts and volcanoes in search of water and green food? Because even if they find the Great Valley Nesting Grounds at the end, you know that this is really just a brief reprieve before they are extinct anyway.

Maybe that could be applied to any romantic comedy, in the grand scheme of things?

The animation is pretty impressive – it’s not what you see now, 14 years later, but it’s definitely a step in that direction. There are some amazing sweeping vistas, although according to wikipedia, many of the backgrounds were actually shot on location. But the dinosaurs are also very well-done.

Also, this is a pretty good ride at Disney World.

So that’s Dinosaur.

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tbt: National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day. The National Poetry Day theme for 2014, according to a random website I clicked on, is “Remember.” How fitting for a throwback Thursday!

So here is a poem I found on my laptop, in the “old computer stuff” section, which I cruise through whenever I want to remember what it was like to be 17. I don’t like staying there long. I was more prolific, but way angsty, and overall pretty obnoxious. There is something to be said for just being content.

This is from April 2002. It might actually be two separate things. None of the stuff in this particular document is titled…although there is some very interesting formatting in terms of font, size, use of ampersands, and justification.

==

I woke this
morning
with a
longing so
fierce I thought
it must have
been
someone else’s.

When you left
I burned
everything.

 

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Halloween Reads: 2014

How many times does it take to make a tradition? Three? Well in that case, welcome to my annual “What To Read for Halloween” post. (See 2013 and 2012 here.) Don’t be scared, but there may be some spoOoOoOoky rereads…

(That doesn’t really make sense.)

Happy October! This is the only time of year I get excited about reading a certain genre to match the time of year. (Well, I also like chick lit during the summer.)

Here’s what I’m reading for Halloween this year!

a kiss before dyingA Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin. I have raved about him before. He’s amazing. This book is great for rereads. So much fun. Ira Levin. <3 <3 <3

 

 

somethingwickedSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I haven’t read this one in a couple years but it’s PERFECT for Halloween, so I’m going for it.

 

 

haunting-hill-house-shirley-jacksonThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I was going to read this last year but spent the entire month getting through two epic Stephen King* books. I tried to make this year’s list a lot more manageable and I will put this one near the top of the list. Concise, creepy, and way better than the movie it spawned, The Haunting of Hill House has been known to keep me up at night in the past.

200px-DeathtrapPlayDeathtrap by Ira Levin. Speaking of manageable books, this one is actually a play. Nominated in 1978 for the Tony Award for Best Play, this play within a play has been done all over – and is actually being done this month at Center REPertory Company in Walnut Creek. Check it out!

 

GraveyardBook_01-1024X768The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It comes highly recommended, and I’ve loved the Gaiman stuff I’ve read before. With a name like “The Graveyard Book,” it should be ideal for Halloweentime. Plus, it was only like $6 for the paperback on Amazon. Sold.

You may have noticed…I don’t have any Stephen King on this list! Shocking, I know, but it’s okay. There’s always next year! (Or November.)

Happy Halloween!

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2 Years Old: A Parenting Retrospective

Well, we made it to two years. As with every milestone so far, and I’m sure every milestone yet to come, Drew and I are baffled at where the last two years have gone. What happened to that bitty newborn? To the baby we used to have to prop up against things? To the toddler who had to trick or treat holding on to Drew’s hands because he couldn’t quite walk all by himself?

Instead of a baby, we now have this little roommate. He may be only three feet tall, but he’s powerful. He’s incessantly curious, constantly demanding, smiley, stubborn, energetic, pushy, inquisitive. In the course of minutes I can go from being out of my mind frustrated to out of my mind in love. Parenting is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and also the weirdest thing. If any of my friends treated me the way he sometimes treats me, I would definitely tell them off or get rid of them. But with him it usually just makes me laugh.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple years. Some things are just the things that probably any parent of a toddler learns: a reserve of patience, strength of will previously uncovered, a tolerance for someone else’s bodily fluids. Other things are interesting and more specific: Like, although I love my own, I don’t think I’m a “kid person” in general. I’ve also realized what a beautiful word “normal” is – who needs extraordinary? And this whole experience has made me love Drew more than ever every single day.

I know I will look back at this some day and shake my head. Silly me, I’ll think, two years was just the tip of the iceberg. Back then I could barely fathom the fact that B could climb into his own car seat, and now he’s driving (or off to college, or getting married, or having his own babies). But come on, future me, cut me a break. The last two years have been the longest and shortest years of my life. I know you understand.

One more thing: when we found out I was pregnant, almost 3 years ago, Drew started reading the Harry Potter books to me (and eventually to B). As B got older, the going got slower…because while I would definitely sit still for a chapter a night, a toddler doesn’t always have the same interests. We’ve been chipping away at the seventh book for over a year now, and three months ago we made the pledge to ourselves that we would finish by his birthday. Drew has been a total trouper about reading at night no matter how tired he is, and this weekend he really ramped it up. Yesterday he started reading over dinner, and then for the rest of the evening we sort of followed B around from bedroom to living room to bath, reading to him. YOU GUYS. WE FINISHED THE ENTIRE HARRY POTTER SERIES LAST NIGHT, Sunday, September 28, 2014. (And that epilogue is still just as bad as I remember it.)

So today we celebrate B’s second birthday, with balloons and a family dinner and a homemade ice cream cake (a la Frozen, of course). Since every day brings a new lesson, a new joke, a new challenge, I can’t wait to see what this one has in store! Happy second birthday, my love! May you have many, many more!

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Disney Project: Fantasia 2000

Movie: Fantasia 2000

Release year: 1999

Well, my prediction came true. I watched about 3 minutes of this – 2 minutes of the first piece, and then about a minute of the “Rhapsody in Blue” piece. This is (sort of) the second time I’ve watched this – the first time was when we first got it, as part of a 2-disc set with Fantasia, but that was years ago, and while I like the pieces, it doesn’t have the same classic feel as original Fantasia. But then, nothing does, especially not when it was made in 1999.

B did sit down and watch some with us, so maybe it’s just a matter of making it clear that we’re going to be in the living room watching this, not chasing him around the apartment. But that only worked for so long.

If you’ve seen Fantasia 2000, let me know how it was. Did you like it? What was your favorite piece?

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