Sunday, November 25, 2012

Once Upon a Time

As of late, I have been really enjoying a show by the ABC (American Broadcasting Company).  As you can tell from the title of this post, the show is called Once Upon a Time.  Once Upon a Time has been a favorite T.V. show of mine for a long time now.  It's the kind of show that you easily grow fond of.  I came to know of it because I had seen the trailer for it when the show had just begun, and was instantly captivated by its enchanting atmosphere.  Being a fan of folklore, I was easily drawn in, and I was not disappointed when one day I decided to give it a try.  After seeing the first episode I knew I would love this show, and I have loved it ever since.  Usually I watch quite a few episodes before deciding whether or not I like a show, but with Once Upon a Time, I didn't have to.  And that's always a good sign, when you know you like a show just from watching the first episode.    

This is one of the trailers from when Once Upon a Time was first being introduced. 

I love how they have their own take on the original stories and twist them so that they somehow connect with each other.  It's very cleverly done.  I like what they did with the character of Rumpelstiltskin, for example.  It's extremely interesting to watch the twists and turns in the story unfold.  Part of the fun for me, when I first began watching this series, was guessing who was which fairy tale character.  For instance, when I saw a man walking down the streets of Storybrooke with an umbrella, I immediately guessed that he was Jimeny Cricket, and sure enough, later in that same scene he mentions listening to one's conscience during an exchange with one of the other characters.  This is an example of how Once Upon a Time leaves clues in places for the viewer to pick up, when guessing which fairy tale character a character was in their past.  

It's true that the fairy tales in this show are inspired by Disney's versions of the stories, ABC being owned by Disney, but since I grew up with Disney and love many Disney films to this day (particularly the classics and those that were made during the 90's, otherwise known as the Disney Renaissance), this isn't an issue for me.

One element that I find fault with in this show is the special effects.  Let's just say the special effects know, be improved.  Because of their poor quality, the suspension of disbelief in this show suffers whenever special effects are being displayed on the screen.  Another fault may be that from time to time this show is slightly cheesy, just slightly, but I find that this contributes to the personality of the show.  It makes Once Upon a Time endearing.  Because of this, the occasional cheesiness is not a flaw in my eyes.    

I mentioned before that I become annoyed when villains are given tragic backstories in order to make them appear sympathetic. Unfortunately, Once Upon a Time does this a lot with their characters, as in the cases of Captain Hook, Rumpelstiltskin, and the evil queen from the story of Snow White, to name a few.  Surprisingly, the various tragic backstories don't bother me too much, and overall I think they are done well.  The backstories all seem to follow the same pattern.  Every character in Once Upon a Time, good or evil, has someone in their past that they cared about or lost.  Relationships seem to be a major theme in Once Upon a Time - relationships the characters have with the people in their lives, relationships with magic, relationships with the past, the relationship with themselves as an individual (their past self when they were a part of the fairy tale world vs. their present modern-day self), and many more.  This is something interesting that I have noticed.

Once Upon a Time does an excellent job of having their viewers constantly guessing who is who and what will happen next.  The premise is interesting and has so much potential, which has been proven true.  This is because of the talent of the creative writers, who continue to impress me with each new episode.  Once Upon a Time just seems to get better and better the more it progresses. 

I look forward to the next episode with anticipation!

P. S.  If I were asked which character is my favorite, I would choose Snow White.  I love all of the characters (each character is so well developed, after all) but Snow White has always been my favorite fairy tale character, and I like how she is portrayed in Once Upon a Time.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What am I thankful for?

Because Thanksgiving was yesterday, the question "what am I thankful for?" often came to mind, as I'm sure it did for many others.  I am thankful for many things in my life, and even more importantly, I am thankful that I am living.  I love life, and it is a gift that I am always grateful for.  But what comes to mind most of all is my family.  My great grandmother was someone who was very loyal to her family and felt an acute love for and connection with all of her family members.  I feel that I inherited this love for the family from her.  I am always happiest when I am amongst my family, and I am only able to feel complete when they are around me.  I know who I am, and am certain of my identity when I am with my family.  Without my family, I am lost.  Therefore, I feel that they are the most important thing in my life.  In my opinion, family is even more important than friends.  After all, "blood is thicker than water".  Friends come and go in life.  This does not mean that I don't love my friends as well - not at all.  However, family is a stronger bond.  They will always be a part of you, throughout your life.  Because of this, I am thinking of my family most of all this Thanksgiving, and I will continue to think of them in the years to come.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My First Tag

I was tagged by Elizabeth at The Endless Road. :) Thank you for tagging me! 
This will be my first tag.

The Rules:

1.  You must post eleven facts about yourself.
2.  You must also answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in turn.
3.  Tag eleven fellow bloggers.
4.  Notify them that you've awarded them.
5.  No tagging back.
6.  The eleven blogs you tag must have fewer than 200 followers.

Eleven facts:

1)  I have a long attention span.  For one thing, I love long movies that take their time and are full of atmosphere.  When I was little, I could sit down and be captivated by a picture book or by what I was watching for hours.  I find scenes that are intense in an emotional and psychological way to be far more captivating than a bunch of mindless explosions and action scenes.  Well, at least to me they seem mindless.  It's ironic to me that action scenes are meant to be exciting and attention grasping, since they feel so boring to me.  There's no chance for some character development during an action scene.

2)  I am terrible at following directions.  I get easily confused when someone gives me instructions, and I think this is partly because I feel nervous about messing up or not understanding the task, which almost always ends up being the case.

3)  I am gifted with a wonderful long-term memory.  I vividly remember many moments of my life, going back to when I was two years old, or perhaps even earlier, although many people tell me that this is most likely not possible.  Once someone told me that our memory begins when we are two years old.  At times I wonder whether or not this is true.  

4)  On the other hand, my short-term memory could most definitely improve.  Have you ever gone into a room, forgotten why, left, then remembered?  That sort of thing happens to me quite a lot.  I often think to myself that when I reach old age, my short-term memory is going to be pretty awful...

5)  A member of my family on my mother's side had the sixth sense.  One night she had a dream that a relative out West was dying, and weeks later, when the mail arrived back East, she found out that person had died the same night as her dream.  Sometimes, I feel I may have been born with a small dose of the sixth sense.  There have been a lot of strange moments in my life where I felt as if I knew something was going to happen.  A lot of it has to do with intuition.  In addition to this, I frequently experience déjà vu.

6)  I prefer silver to gold.  I feel like this preference is uncommon.  I once asked why gold was placed above silver by so many, and the answer I received was that silver has to be polished.  Well I don't care if silver has to be polished every now and then;  I still think it's prettier.  This may have to do with the fact that I prefer cool colors to warm.  Cool colors are more appealing to me, and match my personality.

7)  My birthday is on the same day as Queen Victoria's.  "The twenty-fourth of May is the Queen's birthday;  if they don't give us a holiday we'll all run away!"  This is what the school children in Canada used to chant. 

8)  I dislike a lot of modern art and modern dance.  I find them to be distasteful.  From what I have observed, some (but not all) appears to be pretty mindless.  I've heard of people who have been paid millions by simply splattering paint on a canvas, and call it art.  Also, modern art in general is not very appealing, and honestly, is ugly (depending on your perspective).  This may be because art is a reflection of our society, and modern society is not gentle on the eyes.  Modern dance could be a lot of fun to do every once in a while, but I feel it slightly ruins your style if you are a classical ballet dancer.  I prefer to stick with classical ballet.

9)  I have a huge imagination, I am hopelessly sentimental, and I love Romanticism (the Romantic Era).   

10)  I love animals.  I have always been and always will be "an animal person".  I like being around them and feel that I share a connection with them and am able to communicate with them.     

11)  I am viewed as someone who is shy, never assertive, and always quiet.  However, people who know me well can tell you that in reality, when you get to know me, I am the exact opposite.  I am extremely talkative; in fact my ramblings can get annoying for some people.

Here are my answers to the eleven questions:  

1. I have heard it said that some people don't want to read classics because they are too long. Yet some of these same people read Harry Potter (and those are not short books).  Do you think is really the length of the book, or something else?

I think it is definitely something else.  In fact, I have a friend who loves the Harry Potter series, but she has never read a classic before in her life and claims she is not interested in them.  So it is obviously not an issue of length.  It seems like some people of the present day are under the impression that older novels are boring and less captivating than more "up to date" novels.  This frustrates and disturbs me greatly, because for one thing, how can we move forward with literature unless we learn to appreciate the classics?  We should learn from the experts, not be ignorant of them.  This is why I find it impossible to find nearly as many good modern books as there are classics.  In my opinion, we should all be aware of the brilliance of the classics.  We should read as many classic novels as possible!            

2. If you could pick a dead author to talk to, who would it be: Jane Austen, one of the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, or Thomas Hardy? 

I would choose to talk to one of the Brontë sisters.  I would love to speak with all of them, but if I were to choose between them, it would be Charlotte Brontë.  I have loved the story of Jane Eyre even since my early childhood, and grew up with the book, in a way.  Her intelligence shines in the pages of her books.  It would be wonderful to talk to Jane Austen, too.   

3. Do you have a favorite board game? 

Monopoly.  I have lots of memories of playing Monopoly with my family.  My mother would also play Monopoly with her family when she was young.

4. Who is your favorite actor? And what is your favorite character they have played? 

That is such a difficult question!  I like so many actors and actresses, such as Jimmy Stewart, Colin Firth, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Richard Armitage, Angela Lansbury, Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Vivien Leigh, Gillian Anderson, Julie's so hard to decide!  I think I would go with Ingrid Bergman.  I especially loved her amazing performance as Paula in Gaslight, which is one of my favorite movies.  

5. Do you think being a fan of Jane Austen is becoming/is a fad? 

Jane Austen certainly is very popular now, and has been for the past decade at least.  Perhaps her writing speaks to the reality we're experiencing at this time in history.  I would say that fad might not be quite the right word to describe her popularity, because fads are generally mindless, whereas there is probably a good reason that Jane Austen is so popular.  Also - her work is timeless, and has always been very popular since her books were published.

6. We all pick out names that we like that we say we will name our children.  What are some of yours?

If I had a daughter, I would name her Edith, after my great-grandmother, who I have always looked up to.  I also like the names Dallas and Deirdre.  Deirdre is the name of a heroine from one of my favorite Irish myths, Deirdre of the Sorrows.  Owen is my favorite boy's name.  I have been told that if I had been a boy, I would have been named Owen.  I also like the name Finn.    

7. Would you call yourself a morning person?

Definitely not!  I'm a night owl, through and through.  I even stayed up late when I was a baby.  I like mornings, but I hate waking up early.  The only times I like waking up early is when I go with my family to the airport to go on vacation.

By the way, this reminds me of a certain song.... :D

...I couldn't resist.

8. Tea or Coffee? 

Herbal tea!  For one thing, having tea is a part of my family's culture, since so much of us are of Irish blood, and for another, coffee, in my opinion, is not very good for you.  It's alright to have some coffee, I guess, but not too much, and not too often.  It can be addictive.  Besides, tea is delicious.  My favorite flavors are camomile and mint.  I tasted coffee once and didn't like it.  I do like the smell of it in the mornings, though.  Sometimes, but not that often, I may drink Irish tea to wake me up a little, but Irish tea also contains some caffeine, so it also may not be good for you to drink too frequently.

9. Have you come across a book where you liked the movie version better? 

This is very rare.  I thought the BBC's North and South (2004) took some steps in improving the book.  For example, one of my favorite lines from the film, "I believe I have seen hell, and it's white, it's snow white", was not in the book.  I am not saying the book was inferior to the film, not in any way;  I admire Elizabeth Gaskell's skillful writing and intelligence.  I think the book was beautifully written and that both the book and the BBC adaptation are excellent.  Still, I was disappointed when I realized that the "snow white hell" scene was not in the book.  The film created that line on its own, which shows how well done it was.

10. What is your favorite place to read a book? 

On the couch.  I especially like to read on rainy days.  I like the idea of reading beneath a tree when it's sunny.  Someday I want to try reading while sitting on the branch of a tree, although the idea could be viewed as perhaps a little sentimental.        

11. Do you have a food that you don't like, but everyone else does?

No, but I've experienced just the opposite.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm practically the only person in the entire world who likes spinach!

Here are my eleven questions to ask others:

1)  Which era would you prefer to live in, the Enlightenment, or the Romantic Era?

2)  Who do you feel you most relate to and side with more, Marianne Dashwood or Elinor Dashwood (from Sense and Sensibility)? 

3)  Your favorite genre to read?  Why do you enjoy this genre so much?  Why does it appeal to you?

4)  What is your philosophy?  What is your perception of life?   

5)  What three famous artists would you like to meet if you could?   

6)  Do you like prequels, sequels, and/or spin-offs of classic stories, or do you feel they ruin the original story for you?

7)  Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little, and if you did (or still do), where did you get the inspiration from?

8)  Favorite film version of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion?

9)  What is your favorite fairy tale/folk tale?   

10)  What are your top five favorite Broadway musicals?

11)  Least favorite book and least favorite movie?  What do you hate most about each of them?

I may be breaking some of the rules, but I'm not going to tag anyone.  If you want to try answering the eleven questions I came up with, feel free to do so!  I'm curious to know your answers to my questions, so please leave the link to your answers in the comments, so that I may read them.  I really enjoyed writing this.  
Until next time!