New Art Markers, Reborn Doll Halloween Outfit, and Sleepy Hollow Action Figure!

Today is just going to be a fun post where I share some cool stuff I got recently! First off, we have these new art markers that I bought with the prize money I received from a recent art contest win. It has been so much fun experimenting with them so far:

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While I was at Walmart yesterday, I saw an adorable newborn-sized Halloween black cat sleeper and had to get it for my reborn doll Anya. I haven’t been as invested lately in my reborn dolls, but like all of my hobbies, my interest tends to come and go:

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And lastly, I finally got this Headless Horseman action figure from the 1999 Sleepy Hollow horror movie (starring two of my favorites, Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci)! I already had the Ichabod Crane figure, but this one is probably even cooler. It comes with two heads that snap on, the skull as you can see in the photo, and the Christopher Walken head next to the figure:

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Fun Visit to the COSI Science Museum

Today my husband and I visited the COSI Science Museum in Columbus, Ohio. It is only about an hour from where we live and I had been wanting to check it out. We had a lot of fun there today, and my husband even got free admission for being a teacher! Here are a few of my favorite photos of the day:

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They had a large dinosaur exhibit, which is always really cool. I like to see how big these animals really were! I liked some of the mock displays they had of prehistoric wildlife as well, especially this cute one of dinosaur babies:

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My other favorite exhibit was the Oceans one. The best parts of it were some cool cave-like tunnels that led into a huge Poseidon water fountain which was impressive. Here is a pic of me casually leaning on the world in front of the fountain (which I did throw a penny into while making a very special wish):

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Before leaving, we also saw a cool 3-D movie called “Amazon Adventure”, which was based on the true story of Henry Bates, who was an explorer in the 1850’s who helped provide proof for Charles Darwin’s theories of species changing over time due to evolutionary processes:

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“Love, Simon” Movie Review

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Today my husband and I went to see the new movie “Love, Simon”. I love reading YA novels and have always enjoyed teen movies as well, so I was excited to go see this one. I thought the premise of a teen hiding his gay sexuality from his friends, family, and school was a realistic one that likely has occurred many times in our culture. Perhaps it is getting easier to come out now than it was back when I was in high school or before that, but it is still hard for many young people to come clean about such an intimate and often maligned subject. Especially if you fear your family and friends will not accept you after the admission.

In “Love, Simon”, the main character (Simon, of course) DOES have supportive, open-minded family members and friends, but he is still afraid to come out of the closet. Perhaps this is because of the bullying he sees go on at school, pointed towards another kid who is openly gay. Or it could be that even though he knows his parents and friends will accept him, he just isn’t prepared for the social pressure and discomfort that often accompanies such a declaration. I think that even though Simon knows his family is loving and liberal, he may have a smidgen of doubt that his father would be happy, since he often makes jokes about girls with his only son.

I won’t ruin the whole plot for you, just know that there is a lot of friend drama, some blackmail, more than one romantic subplot, and a lot of the teen angst you would expect from a movie like this. The movie has a great sense of humor and addresses the subject of sexuality frankly and with many quips. I loved how Simon as a character was just your normal, average kind of guy, and not some kind of “gay stereotype” (other than Simon being in a school musical, but then again, many of the straight kids in the movie were in the musical too, so it didn’t seem to be meant as some sort of sexual stereotype).

Overall, the movie was sweet and uplifting. I saw my husband actually tear up at one point, but I rarely ever tear up at movies, so it didn’t do it for me this time either. It was definitely worth the time to see it though, and the teens seated all around me seemed to be in love with the movie.

Lyrics of My Life, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

The last couple days I’ve been in the mood to listen to the Hannah Montana movie soundtrack. If you’ve never heard the soundtrack, it is classic Disney with insanely catchy silly and uplifting songs sung by Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and others. It definitely has more than a little bit of a country twang to it.

One of my favorite songs on the soundtrack is definitely “The Climb”, which is the song that is probably most well-known from the album since it did receive some mainstream radio air time. The lyrics to this song really speak to me as someone who struggles every single day with countless mental and physical issues. I often feel like life is always an uphill battle for me. I’m often tempted to just give up, but luckily I always manage to find at least a little bit more of a fighter deep inside of me.

I must say Miley does a fantastic job of vocally emoting the feelings being sung about in the song. If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics of the song, I would like to encourage you to listen to it below and really let the lyrics sink in:

Crushing on Kylo Ren

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Today my husband and I finally went to see the new Star Wars movie. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, not nearly as into the series as my husband has always been, but I don’t mind these new episodes too much so far. Part of it is that I like having a strong female Jedi lead (even if she does seem to be lacking a bit in backstory from my point of view). But my favorite part of the new series so far is Kylo Ren. From the first time I saw his profile, he immediately reminded me of the character Severus Snape from Harry Potter, whom I love. I’m not sure why he reminds me of Snape so much, maybe the dark hair against white skin, or the black robes, or the constantly simmering anger, or the emo vibes, or the deep monotone…

Anyhow, getting to see so much Kylo Ren in this new episode was a treat 🙂 I was really happy when he crushed his helmet, so we could see his face more. Before seeing this latest installment, I had seen all kinds of claims about it online and heard many, many complaints. Some of the complaints, about plot holes, cinematics, character flaws, etc. might actually have some credence, but the outlandish claims that this new movie is feminist or even communist propaganda seem really, really off to me. Especially the communist claims I’ve heard from some alt-righters online. Even the feminist claims seem seriously messed up though. Just because we have a female lead it is overly feminist? I don’t get that at all.

5 Observations About the Movie “Jurassic World”

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Spoiler alert!

First off, of course I don’t think “Jurassic World” is as good as “Jurassic Park”. Being that “Jurassic Park” is a beloved classic from my childhood with warm memories attached to it, it would be darn near impossible for any sequel to match the emotional impact for me. So, I am not judging “Jurassic World” in direct comparison with the original movie, although I may make some casual observations about the direction some aspects of the film franchise have gone.

1) “Jurassic World” did have some awesome special effects and cool fight scenes. I especially enjoyed the Indominus vs. T-Rex scenes. I did find it a bit abrupt how the Mosasaurus brought the battle to an end, but it was still cool. That was by far the best part of the movie for me, probably followed by the scene where the Indominus is trying to break open that gyrosphere the kids were trapped inside or when the kids come across the ruins from the original Jurassic Park.

2) I didn’t care for Claire, the heroine of this latest film. I read an article online after seeing the movie about how Ellie Sattler from the original movie was a far stronger female character and someone kids could really look up to as a role model, while Claire is kind of wishy-washy and boring. I must say I agree.

3) I liked Owen’s character, but I didn’t buy the romantic relationship between him and Claire. That whole thing felt forced to me, perhaps because as I stated above, Claire seems like such a two-dimensional character without much depth.

4) As for the kids, I liked the younger kid (Gray) but didn’t care much for his older brother (Zach). Zach just seemed sort of boring and forgettable to me. I did like the one scene that showed a bunch of the tourists (mostly kids and teens if I remember right) playing on their cell phones instead of paying attention to the dinosaurs they came there to see. That pretty much sums up society today.

5) The whole Indominus is part velociraptor twist didn’t really come as the great surprise they seemed to think it would be. Personally, I think it would have been cooler had it been revealed that the Indominus had been spliced with some human genes. At one point I thought that might be the case since the creature started showing signs of logicial or manipulative thinking to confuse and trick its keepers, or when it was revealed that it was killing for sport and not for food.

Thank you “Fifty Shades of Grey” for making my life look great

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So today I decided to go see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Tuesdays are bargain day at our local theater so I figured it would be the best time to go if I bothered to see it. I didn’t want to drag my husband to the movie because he hated the Twilight series for having no plot…and the Fifty Shades series makes Twilight look downright complex. I skimmed through the first two books of the Fifty Shades series and made it about halfway through the last book, so I did have an idea of what I would be in for with the movie.

First off, let me say that some of the others who showed up for the movie kind of surprised me. As I expected, there were groups of women, a few couples and quite a few single women like me there (this is the first time I’ve gone to a theater all by myself and that was actually kind of liberating in a way). What surprised me were the few single men (because this is billed as such a “chick flick”) and the 70 & 80 year-old women who came, one of whom (an adorable little old lady) sat right beside me. For a moment I felt like I was seeing the movie with my grandmother and that kind of threw me off balance a bit!

Anyhow, as I watched the movie, it was pretty much what I expected, a somewhat tamed down version of the book. Although I do understand why many women don’t like this series and think it encourages stalking, unrealistic expectations and domestic abuse, I don’t feel quite that strongly about it because there is consent. Anastasia may seem stupid in many ways and definitely makes some questionable decisions, but she is a consenting adult. She has quite a few chances to walk away and doesn’t do so. I know she seems innocent (maybe too much so for living in today’s world) but she does know what she is getting into, especially once she is given that contract to study.

As for Mr. Grey, I can see some of why the character is appealing to some women. He is rich, good-looking, can be sweet at times and represents a sexual fantasy fairly common to both sexes (that of being dominated or dominating someone else). Those aren’t the things that bother me. He is undoubtedly somewhat stalkery and controlling…but again, Anastasia’s character chooses to allow that to have him in her life. What truly bothers me about Mr. Grey’s character is how he is so messed up from his own abusive history that he wants to actually hurt women. He wants to cause pain. To me, there is nothing sexy about that. I know that there are those who like the BDSM lifestyle and enjoy a certain amount of pain…but I doubt that most true BDSM practitioners would want to cause pain to someone who clearly does not enjoy it or go beyond their partner’s pain threshold. I can see why the BDSM community hates this portrayal of their sexual fetishes.

As the movie neared its end I was surprised to see women in the audience around me crying. I sat there and wondered why they were crying. Were they frustrated and annoyed like me because Anastasia wouldn’t just say the safe word or yell stop? Were some of them victims of abuse in the past and this triggered that as they saw Anastasia cry miserably in pain? Were they simply feeling sad that Grey’s character was so messed up emotionally? Did they feel for Anastasia’s character, who clearly felt humiliated and heartbroken because the man she loved carried so much pain that he had to make others feel that pain? After the credits started, I heard cries of “is that it?” and “what the heck?” from others in the theater. Guess they hadn’t read the books.

As I got in my car and drove home, the main feeling I had was that I am so THANKFUL to have a husband who is not emotionally or mentally messed up like that. I’m glad that my husband has never once wanted to hurt or humiliate me. In fact, if anything, he would do anything in his power to prevent me pain or to take it away when I am suffering. So thank you Mr. Grey. You made my husband look even more wonderful and made me deeply thankful for what I have. You made me realize how strong I am because I never would have put up with your crap in the first place (had I been Anastasia that would have been one short book!). In the end, I guess fantasies are ok and maybe fun to indulge in to an extent, but nothing beats a good reality!