Monthly Archives: May 2014

Disney Project 2014: The Jungle Book

Movie: The Jungle Book

Release year: 1967

My thoughts: This movie opens with Bagheera (a panther) discovering a child in the jungle. He says:

Many strange legends are told of these jungles of India, but none so strange as the story of a small boy named Mowgli. It all began when the silence of the jungle was broken by an unfamiliar sound. [Bagheera stops at baby Mowgli’s boat and hears him crying] It was a sound like one never heard before in this part of the jungle. It was a man-cub! Had I known how deeply I was to be involved, I would’ve obeyed my first impulse and walked away.

That is just not the way we’re supposed to think. We’re supposed to look back (on the big move, the great love, the child rearing, the life change) and say, “I’d do it again!” But maybe panthers don’t live by the same social mores than I do.

If you look back on something big that you did, and regret the entire thing, isn’t that ultimately regretting the person that you have become? The alternative is to look back on what you did, and justify any mistakes you made or struggles you went through, because they led to who you are now. And hopefully, you like the person you are now. That’s just some Jungle Book philosophy.

Walt Disney died in December of 1966, the year before this movie came out. I’ve never thought about the Disney filmography in terms of “during Walt” and “after Walt.” The story is that the studio closed for only one day before reopening and getting back to work on The Jungle Book. I guess that could be either sad or hopeful, depending on who you are in this scenario.

This whole post has gotten a little depressing. Which was completely not my intention. So I’ll leave you with this cute picture of a happy milk-face ignoring the (scary) end of the movie.

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Filed under Children, Drew, Movies

Throwback Thursday: Graduation

Graduate college  
Become an Adult  
Fight with technology  
Get up super early  

30-year-old Me laughs right in 22-year-old Me’s face.

tbt graduation
So cute. Enjoy it (everything) while you can, 22-year-old Me!

 

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Filed under Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Technology, Writing

The anti Christ-figure

Lately I’ve been obsessing over two TV dramas: House of Cards (which has two seasons out on Netflix and if you’re not watching it right now you should be) and Game of Thrones (which is in its fourth season on HBO and if you’re not watching it right now you should be).

They’re both political dramas, although Game of Thrones is set in a fantasy world while House of Cards is set in good old Washington, DC. Let me get one thing straight: I do not care about politics. I don’t understand most of politics. The very word “politics” is boring to me. But these two shows are not just about politics. They are about manipulation, psychology, and (best of all) psychosis. They are about bad people doing terrible things for their own gain, and yet we tune in over and over again because we JUST HAVE TO KNOW what’s going to happen next.

One of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones is Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger. I recently referred to him as “the Frank Underwood of Westeros.” Frank Underwood is the main character on House of Cards. It had just occurred to me at that moment how similar they are.

anti-christ figures

Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and Lord Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen)

Both of these guys are ruthless. They both want all of the power, right now, and will do whatever it takes to get it. But they’re not rash – they both have well-thought out plans, complete with backup plans, and backup-backup plans. Often, you think they’ve been foiled, only to find out later that they were just playing the other characters like well-tuned instruments.

Both of them have done (and will, I’m sure, continue to do) horrible things. Often, they’re doing these things to other characters who are genuinely likable. And yet…I still love both of these characters. I bafflingly, disproportionately, love them.

Is it just that I have a fondness for the character who somehow knows all, sees all, and masterminds all? For the guy who is always three steps ahead of the other guy, somehow even leading that other guy by the nose, making him think he’s making his own decisions, and then BOOM. Sorry, other guy.

I used to think I loved the Christ-figure – those Gandalfs, Dumbledores, and Aslans. They are also seemingly omniscient, and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of everyone. They are good guys, and they often come back to explain their sacrifice, to commend others for their sacrifices, and to bring the whole thing together in a happy (ish) ending.

Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Dumbledore, and Aslan

Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen), Aslan, and Dumbledore

Was it just that I hadn’t yet been introduced to the anti Christ-figure (not the “anti Christ”-figure, I want to be clear about that – just the anti- “Christ figure”) that I didn’t realize how much more interesting these characters could be? I mean, I cheered when the deceased Gandalf the Grey came back as Gandalf the White, sure I did, but was it really so surprising?

The good guy is more predictable than the bad guy. And the Christ-figure is the most predictable at all. We pretty much know the life lesson we’re going to learn from those guys. Stand up for your friends. Do unto others. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Love conquers all. Do the right thing. Stand your ground in the face of evil. Don’t give up on good. It’s kindergarten stuff at its core, whether you’re facing down the White Witch or the cyber bully or He Who Must Not Be Named.

The bad guys – the anti Christ-figures – are infinitely more interesting. What BS crazy thing are they going to do today in the name of getting one rung higher on the power ladder. They wouldn’t possibly – no one could – OMG DID YOU SEE THAT??

I never had that reaction to Aslan allowing Jadis to shave and humiliate him, I’ll tell you that.

So today I’m singing the praises of the guy who’s in control, the guy pulling the strings behind the curtain, the guy looking out for numero uno, even when it means stepping all over numeros dos through ciento. Because he’s keeping things interesting. Let’s give that guy a round of applause. (Just as long as he stays on our TV screens, fictional, and far away.)

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First day of daycare

This is a huge milestone. The moment we’ve been leading up to for (at least) the last year.

Some background: I went back to work (4 days a week) just before B turned 3 months old. And since then, he’s been watched primarily by Drew’s parents, which has been one of those things that we are afraid we are taking for granted, but we try to remember to be grateful every day. So let me just say on the record, I am so thankful for Drew’s parents for taking on the majority of weekday childcare, and also for my parents for making the trek down here so frequently to babysit.

I couldn’t imagine leaving B with a daycare provider when he was 3 months old. I know people do it, and I admire that, but we are lucky and didn’t have to. I’m so happy we had family who could watch him. As he got older, it was an issue of finding somewhere we could take him that we could trust and afford and where we would feel comfortable leaving our most precious possession. It also became harder, as the months went by, to give up our free family daycare.

But we knew that he would probably really like to be around other kids more often, and he could learn a lot from them. We’re always impressed with what our friends’ kids seem to pick up from daycare, and it seemed like we were kind of missing out on that. Our pediatrician has stressed the importance of playdates, especially since B isn’t in daycare, and we understand how important socialization is at this age.

A couple weeks ago, we met with a woman (we’ll call her Alicia) who does in-home daycare for 3s and under, and we really like her. She comes highly recommended by members of Drew’s family, which makes me feel good. She has 4 other kids right now, who come on various days of the week, although one is about to “graduate” to preschool. Another one is 6 months old. Two of the kids are just right around B’s age, and when we went to meet her, he had a great time playing with them.

We decided to do two days a week, and today is the first of those days. All morning I kept telling him how lucky he is, that he gets to go play with other kids today, and he’s going to have so much fun. I dropped him off at 8am, and he walked right into the house and then started running around the living room, climbing on the couch, and talking to the girl who was already there. He seemed happy and totally not shy. I passed off all of his stuff to Alicia, gave him hugs and kisses goodbye, and then she took both kids to go find some toys in the other room, and I left.

Honestly, I have to say I did better than I expected. I hope he is also doing well. Every parent knows this is a rough day. We just have to get through the first few days of a new thing, and then everything will be great. Still, if you want to send me good vibes today, it’d be much appreciated…haha.

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Filed under Baby, Beginnings, Children, Drew, Memoir, Nonfiction

Disney Project 2014: The Sword in the Stone

Movie: The Sword in the Stone

Release year: 1963

Thoughts: Near the end of the opening song, which sets up the world of 6th century England (“A legend is sung of when England was young, and knights were brave and bold…”), Drew was like, “I have no memory of this song.” But I felt like my memories of this movie were all flooding back. When was the last time I watched The Sword in the Stone? A decade ago?

The DVD cover has Arthur pulling out the sword from the stone, which seems like kind of a spoiler, but I guess they can get away with it since the movie came out over 50 years ago.

Drew also pointed out about halfway through that there is basically no conflict in the film. There’s no king…but there’s also no deadline on when there has to be a king. Kay isn’t the nicest big brother, but he’s not all bad. Sir Ector seems pretty nice to Arthur, as 6th century foster fathers go. The pike is scary, as is the eagle, but neither of them is a threat once Arthur is human again. Madame Mim is scary, but then all Merlin does is make her sick and confine her to her bed…for a few weeks. What exactly is the conflict here?

Maybe that’s why the end is kind of weird. I think I recognized that as a kid…suddenly Arthur is the same 11-year-old kid, but wearing a robe and crown (over his regular clothes) and hanging out in a castle? What did he have to do to get to this place? Accidentally pick up a sword? Okay. And then Merlin comes back from 20th century Bermuda, which is funny because he’s talking about motion pictures and commercials, and Arthur and Archimedes are both like, “What’s that?” and then the movie’s over.

Don’t get me wrong – I liked it. It’s just easy to pick these things apart. And I like the Arthur legend – this makes me want to reread The Once and Future King.

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Sleep Talking Turns 30

Drew: You – you – you sleep next to a knife??
Me: What??
Drew: You have a knife?
Me: *laughing hysterically* I don’t have a knife!
Drew: What’d you just pull out?
Me: Nothing!
Drew: Okay.

Happy 30th sleep talking, y’all! Have a knife.

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Disney Project 2014: 101 Dalmatians

Movie: 101 Dalmatians

Release year: 1961

My reaction: I have stuck this movie into my own personal Disney mind vault, among the Sword in the Stones and the Dumbos – a movie of which I know entire chunks of dialogue, and have certain favorite pieces of animation – but not one that I ever feel nostalgic for. I’m not going to pull this off the shelf and watch it on a rainy day. (That’s what makes this project so awesome…) Just the opening credits were a total delight. I love this animation. I love that Pongo is the narrator. I love that Anita and Roger, a newly married couple, are delighted by the prospect of 15 additional puppies (but it’s probably time to get those dogs fixed. All of them. Not so lucky now, are you, Lucky?). The music is great, the villains are great. This might be the first instance of Disney putting characters from an earlier movie into the film – Lady and the Tramp and a bunch of their cohorts are seen throughout 101 Dalmatians.

Others’ reactions: I was recently followed by an actual blogger (as opposed to the bots) – just a dad with disney questions. I read a bunch of his posts because yes! some of these are really good questions. In particular, I found myself thinking of his post about 101 Dalmatians while watching the movie. Dalmatian Defamation, indeed! Good luck, Roger and Anita!

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