Filtering by Tag: don bluth

Fancy Free

This might as well be my Valentine's Day post. The heart-shaped chocolate boxes have been rotting in stores for months. My co-workers are making dinner reservations at the posh restaurants in town. I'm not sure if love is in the air, or if that's just the inky smell of the communal copy machine breaking down. But one thing's for sure: it's the same old story for me this V-Day.

I'm certainly not complaining.

Life keeps me busy at this time of year. After moving to a new cube at work, I've been enjoying more sunshine (being closer to the windows has its benefits). In addition to work, I've been making great headway on my current manuscript, We Could Fall in Love. I've just reached 30k which, by my estimation, is the halfway point. The plot thickens. From here on out, I'll be making my characters' lives extremely difficult.

That's not to say I'm not in a romantic mood.

There are three things that I'm thrilled to be able to do this V-Day. I've been in the habit of spending each V-Day indulging in the things I love to do and I've got a solid plan this time. Check it out:

3) Belt out Don Bluth love songs.

You know by now that Don Bluth is a big hero to me. This is not a surprise. But there's nothing like the music that comes out of his films. I'm not lying when I say that I love EVERY SINGLE song. If the OST's were actually available, I'd never hit "skip" on any track.

With that said, I've narrowed down my top three favorite romantic songs from his films. This was very hard. The sacrifices I make for you guys.

If you gave me the time, I could spend decades singing the praises of The Pebble and the Penguin. But my most favorite part of this movie is, well, Hubie's existence. HUBIE. I'm a pretty big fan of beta males (aka, the strong and kind male characters that DON'T throw women against walls or exude macho / stalker attributes).

Hubie's totally beta. He's a clumsy, sensitive penguin who is hopelessly in love with Marina. Throughout the film, he learns how to stick up for himself (and how to throw a mean punch), but doesn't change who he is inside (Don't even get me started on Marina. She's so cool). I happen to think that this song is pretty gosh darn romantic because he finds the courage to share his thoughts and feelings with the girl he loves.

Rock-A-Doodle is another bizarre gem I grew up with. I don't have an ear for Elvis (I really don't, sorry), but the songs from this film had me singing along nonetheless. In this song, Goldie realizes that she's fallen in love with Chanticleer - despite hating him in the beginning for stealing her spotlight. I remember being enthralled by the setting, while at the same worried that Chanticleer and Goldie would lose their balance on the swing and plummet off the building (I mean, who wouldn't be worried?). I also got really thirsty for milk. Totally romantic, I know. 

Guys, I'm dying. Thumbelina my favorite Don Bluth film. It's almost one of my top favorite films EVER. I should also probably mention, while I'm at it, that Prince Cornelius is my favorite animated prince. 

No shame. 

Anyway, "Let Me Be Your Wings" takes the cake for romantic in my book. First of all, Prince Cornelius has a pet bumblebee. Which is basically the fantasy equivalent of a motorcycle. Secondly, who wouldn't want to dance in midair, on water, or on top a giant pumpkin? Sign me up. The lyrics are sweet and full of promises that both Thumbelina and Prince Cornelius try to keep in the midst of their respective struggles. Plus, plus, plus! The finale, guys. The finale at the end of the movie makes me sniffle. A happy sniffle. 

2) Play otome games.

What is an otome game? Woo boy. Generally, it's kind of like an RPG, but usually has a female main character that ends up developing a romantic relationship by the end of the game. They usually come in the form of simulation games or visual novels, and I think they're a lot of fun because it's like reading a book (with good-looking anime guys, but you know, still book-like).

Amazon has a REALLY BAD selection of them, so when I got my iPhone, I couldn't wait to try them out.

If you mean agent rejections, then yes, hugs work.

My favorite one so far involves my main character finding out that she's actually the daughter of Japan's Prime Minister. Since the Prime Minister is always being threatened by rebels and other such troublemakers, my character is assigned a (handsome) bodyguard to protect her until the latest threat is over. Fun stuff. Also makes me want to write a more politically-driven story. Maybe.

As a writer, I also find these games to be fun because each guy has a different personality, from how he looks, acts, and speaks. It's kind of a wake-up call for me to make sure that my own male characters are well-crafted.

1) Use my miniature claw machine.

The truth: this claw machine actually belongs to my brother. But he left it at home when he moved out. So now it's mine.

What are your plans for Valentine's Day? Do you have a favorite Don Bluth film? Better question: do you also have a miniature claw machine? 

Men of Honor

It's officially 2011, and I feel as if the fresh air of the new year is filling all the spaces in my body with renewed energy as it tumbles into my lungs (except for that nasty headache from staying up way too late. Well, that, too, will pass). In order to celebrate, I thought I'd post a small list that probably won't end up changing, even with the new year.

The list consists of the top most influential men that have inspired me or, at the very least, helped shape my crooked brain into the shape it is now. Why men? Oh, I don't know. I thought it would be fun. I'll make a women one too, down the road.

These guys are in no particular order!

1. Mervyn Peake
It all started with my bad habit of wandering library stacks. I still lose track of time when I see all the books lined up so prettily, teasing me with their spines as if batting their eyelashes. In this discovery, it was actually a DVD that caught my eye, leading me to find illustrator and author Mr. Peake. The DVD was called Gormenghast, a BBC adaptation of the first two novels in this Titus Groan series. I fell in love with the strange world of an endless, ruinous castle with a full cast of odd characters living within it. It's more complicated than that, I assure you. He died before he could finish the series. 2011, though, is an exciting time for him because I've heard tell of a re-release of the series with all new illustrations (why couldn't I wait?) and the fourth novel, supposedly written by his wife after his death, in order to provide some kind of closure to the wondrous story he created. I can't wait. I'm on pins and needles.

2. George MacDonald
Okay, so I know that some of you are already familiar with him. It's been a few years since I stumbled upon him, but in the past few months I've finally obtained a bunch of his books to read. That explains all of his not-so-subtle appearances lately, haha. You know, some people say that Emerson's writing is so good that you can randomly open up a page, place a finger anywhere, and find that the sentence you've chosen can stand completely on its own. Well, I feel that way about MacDonald's writing - and he's writing stories! Graceful stories, full of sharp imagery, gentle humor, and wit. You can find a lot of his work online, and I strongly suggest you seek him out. He's rather unsung, but known by many who just seem to be into reading these sorts of things.

3. John R. Dilworth
I tend to consider the days in which Cartoon Network showed about six of the same cartoons everyday (like the PowerPuff Girls and Johnny Bravo) to be the "golden age." I highly doubt I'm the first to call it that, haha, or call anything that. However, it's safe to say that the cartoons of this time inspired me greatly. My favorite, though, will always be Courage the Cowardly Dog. Specially trained by Blue's Clues by always searching for Snail, I equally relished finding all the cameos Dilworth made in his own series. He was "Dilly," a little yellow man who would only appear in family photos or giant billboards in each episode. Just a picture. But my brother and I would always point at the screen and shout, "There's Dilly!" We'd get mad at each other too if one of us saw him for that split second and the other didn't. I've only just begun to explore Dilworth's other creations, but I'm glad to see that they are just as zany as Courage. Check out his short called, "Rinky Dink." You'll get a nice feel for his style, I think.

4. Don Bluth
Where do I begin? Perhaps I'll start by saying that Mr. Bluth had been an unconscious influence on me from when I was a tiny pup. I say unconscious because, when you're a kid and you're drooling over Rock-a-Doodle, you don't instinctively reach for the back of the VHS case to scan the credits. The movies I loved most, in the end, were not Disney films. It was his that stuck with me over the years. I can make a giant list of the films, but as I've noticed, people like to spend time mulling over each one because - let's face it - every one of his movies struck some kind of chord in each of us. I'll just say that if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Thumbelina. I'll be completely head over heels for it even when I'm ninety and half my brain is gone. Bluth's amazing sense of character and animated beauty and charm grace every movie. Each scene acts as a soft shard that sticks to the back of your skull, glimmering every once in a while so you can see the sparkling reflection again. I can't thank him enough for a lifetime of inspiration, haha.

5. C. S. Lewis
I don't remember much of my parents reading to me when I was little. I'm sure they did it. Perhaps I was too busy daydreaming to store up those memories. The only time I do recall sitting against the bed, digging my toes into the carpet as my mother read, was when she read my brother and I the Chronicles of Narnia. Because of this, I get the major case of the warm fuzzies whenever anything Narnia comes my way. My actual favorites in the series are all the books that aren't popular (my curse? I don't know). The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair took me to amazing places. Oh, yes, and I loved the Dawn Treader movie. I will continue to rally for all the books to make it on screen. There is not one that doesn't deserve it (and they better hurry up - those actors are growing so fast!). Aslan is pretty cool. I think he's a favorite character. He makes me smile. He feels very familiar, like an old friend.

6. Percy Shelley
Ah, the great optimistic poet. I really hated him in high school. Although I love English with all my heart - and can't imagine having studied anything else - I mentally blocked a lot of the literature classes I took in high school. Bad memories. I think now it was merely the atmosphere and the teachers that ruined it and caused my mind to shut out such creatures as the Transcendentalists, haha.
I went into my college Romanticism class saying, "I hate Shelley. I'm going to hate him again." Now, I believe I must have been spoiled by a really bad group analysis of "Ode to the West Wind." However, as soon as we started learning about him, I became intensely curious. I ate up his biography like it was candy floss. My college professor once told me that Shelley used to write cute little notes and put them in balloons. He would tie them up and send them off into the world for people to find and read. To this day, no one has ever found one of these notes. I kind of want to go on an adventure to see if these precious notes could be plucked from the knots of an old tree or found floating amongst all those lost messages in bottles on the wide open sea. It may be a fruitless wish, but it feels incredibly romantic.

7. Conrad Veidt
Ah! The only actor on this list - and an old one! Truth be told, Veidt is still a new influence for me. My mom and I got a old horror movie collection about a year back, and we sat for a few days straight and watched all the black and white films. It was so much fun and not so scary. We found a lot of movies we liked. As for me, I was entranced by an old German silent film called The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Man, is it wonderful. Veidt plays a somnambulist (or sleepwalker) named Cesare who is being used by the eccentric Dr. Caligari to commit murder and other violent acts. This film goes much deeper, but Cesare quickly became my favorite character. My eyeballs were glued to his thin, ghostly white form whenever he slinked into a scene. After being exposed to such a character, I made an interesting promise to myself: I would try, as much as I could, to make odd, quirky men appealing leading males or love interests. Yes, it really did spring from this movie. It was like the trigger, haha. Then again, I'm not that into those Alpha males you find in the supermarket romance novels. I like a little more depth and a lot less aggressiveness. I find Veidt fascinating and I'm looking forward to discovering more of his films in the future.

8. Tetsuya Nomura
How could I think of closing out this list without a longtime Japanese influence? Hands down, Nomura has been inspiring me for a long time. His artwork makes my jaw drop, and his skill with characterization and story is wonderful. I spent many lunch periods in high school debating with my friends about how many people it would take to defeat Sephiroth in a chess match or singing terribly the lyrics to "Simple and Clean" from Kingdom Hearts. So, yeah, bring on the nerd - if I haven't done so already. I'm a big Final Fantasy geek. College had taken a lot of the energy and hype out of me - Zidane was replaced with Walt Whitman and Tonberries were not so dangerous anymore when placed side by side with a paper deadline. Nowadays, I feel that I have more time but am not handling it well enough to fit these games back in. But they deserve the attention. I keep rooting for Nomura and hope for better and better things from him. He's grown in the company and I know he still has much to offer.