Sunday, April 26, 2015

Graduation

Well, it's been kind of a whirlwind, but my graduation is at last complete.  I walked on Friday, and even though I wasn't really sure if I wanted to, I'm glad I did, and it was nice to have the support of my family and even professors who were also there.  At least, the professors I am closest to were there, which seemed like an odd coincidence.  I'm not sure how the faculty determines who goes to the convocations every year, but it was fun to see them in their doctoral robes from their respective universities.  I also found it fun to wear a robe that was so different from the gown I wore as an undergrad.  Truthfully, I had no idea until I put on the gown that that it would be different!  I'll post pictures later, but it kind of reminded me of a kimono.  :b  The hood was difficult to figure out, but it looked cool!

Anyway, since I don't have any pictures now, I will instead post some graphics that I think best describes how I felt when I graduated.

Wait -- wait a minute.  I'm...a TESOL Master?
That's right!  She can be taught! 




 And without the words!  I could not find these graphics anywhere online, so I just made them myself.  :b


I love Aladdin's expressions throughout this whole little bit.  Priceless!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why I love solo dancing but not partner dancing

A couple days ago, our ESL school had a formal dance/prom.  Being on the activities committee, I helped with the planning and decorations.  I didn't do a whole lot, honestly, mostly because this was my first time on the committee, so I didn't really know what to do.  My big contributions were stringing a bunch of balloons together (which everyone was weirdly impressed with even though it involved almost no skill o.O) and toasting the baguettes.  Both tasks forever and were quite tedious, but I was happy to earn the extra pay I received for helping with these activities.

Our theme was black and white with the slogan "A night under the stars."  Eh, not the most original, but being on a budget, we couldn't be too elaborate.  We added a bit of gold for color.  Again, not very creative, but I was impressed with what we were able to do considering our limitations!

Trash bags put to good use!  We also ended up using trash bags as table cloths because we forgot to buy some.  :b  No one noticed!

We turned out the lights so that the room was only illuminated by the Christmas lights during the dance.

That string of balloons was mostly done by me.  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY *arm flail*

Now, even though this dance was mostly for the benefit of the students, I could not help but be excited because I love getting dressed up and dancing.  I decided to wear a formal black dress, a form fitting layered dress that split in the front to show off my legs, but its most distinctive feature was definitely the jeweled sheer sleeve on one side.  It is indeed a beautiful dress, and I got tons of compliments on it.  Although other students and teachers wore prom-like elegant floor-length dresses, I think mine stood out because it wasn't a prom dress but it was definitely classy, formal, and sexy.  The moment I walked out onto the dance floor in my dress and sparkling silver heels (right after toasting all the baguettes), all heads turned toward me.  I wish I was exaggerating because it was kind of embarrassing, especially with the whistles and compliments that followed, but it was also quite flattering.  I guess I made a good choice!

The only thing I regret is that I wore too much blush!  It was an accident, but by the time I realized it, it was too late.  I would have to start over if I wanted to fix it, so I just hoped that the dark light of the room would make it less noticeable.  Blush is definitely NOT something you want to overdo when wearing full make-up as it can make you look kind of silly or clownish, so I felt quite embarrassed for making that mistake.  It's just so easy a mistake to make, though.


Anyway, onto my main topic of interest, I was of course the first to start dancing as always.  I waited a couple minutes after entering the room because I was a little embarrassed about the attention I had received just from entering, so after composing myself, I went back to the middle of the room and began dancing.  Very quickly, my colleagues joined me, seeing what I was trying to do.  As with every dance, someone usually has to start in order to get everyone else comfortable enough to join in.  That's what we did.  One of my students joined us shortly after, and eventually after about half an hour, a decent amount of people were on the dance floor which was when I first decided to take a break because when I dance, I really dance, so I was hot and thirsty already.

But oh, how fun it is to dance.  I used to be awkward about dancing when I was younger.  I was embarrassed, afraid of making a fool of myself, afraid of people staring at me or thinking I look stupid.  The day I realized that people actually admire those who allow themselves to let loose and really dance is the day I started to actually enjoy dancing.  It was also the day I realized that dancing is not about being social.  Dancing is about relieving stress and tension, about losing yourself in your favorite music, about feeling sexy and beautiful.

At least, that is what it is to me.  For that reason, I absolutely love solo dancing.  I love only focusing on my movements, doing whatever I want without restriction, and not caring about anything but the music.  On the other hand, I despise partner dancing.  It makes me very uncomfortable, and I don't enjoy it at all.  When I dance with a partner, I cannot focus only on the music and myself.  I must concentrate on specific dance moves and make sure I don't trip over my partner.  I have to worry about what he's going to do, if he'll approve of what I'm doing.  Also, it's simply too intimate for me, and I only like being intimate with someone I am actually in a committed relationship with.  Ultimately, it actually increases my stress and tension rather than relieve it, so I just can't stand it.  People are always shocked when I admit that I love dancing but hate dancing with a partner.  It's just something they can't seem to comprehend.  I try to explain it as best as I can, but I don't try too hard because honestly, it doesn't matter to me if they don't understand it.

Anyway, at the dance, I was asked several times to dance by students.  I decided some time ago that I would no longer do anything that doesn't make me feel good, so I declined each request.  I couldn't really tell them why since it was so loud in there, but many gave the typical response to rejection: "Come on, I'll teach you!  You just follow me!"  They don't know that that is the exact reason why I hate partner dancing!  I don't want to learn anything or to follow anyone.  I want to let loose and do my own thing!

I'm reminded of another thing that guys often try to do at these events.  They will actually try to have conversations!  First of all, I come to dance, not talk, and second of all, I can't hear them!  It is actually quite frustrating, and I no longer actually try to carry a conversation.  I just point to my ears and shrug to show that I can't hear them and carry on with dancing.  They can catch me off the dance floor if they really care to get to know me is what I've decided, and usually, they don't really care.

So, that's my view on dancing.  For many it might be a social thing, and that's totally fine, but that's not what it is for me.  Some might wonder why I bother getting dressed up and dancing in such a way that draws attention if attention from others isn't what I want.  The truth is that I do enjoy feeling sexy, beautiful, and desired which is why I like looking nice and dancing, but I never try to lead anyone on.  I don't make eye contact or try to catch the attention of anyone specific.  It's just to boost my own self-esteem.  I appreciate it when guys ask me to dance, but I always decline because it would go against the very reason I dance in the first place if I accept.  I know it might hurt their feelings, but I've kind of decided that it's no longer worth my own feelings just to boost the self-esteem of other people.

I wonder if others feel the same way?  I seem to have trouble finding them.  :b

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Battle graphics - part six

Continuation of the musical scene "Battle" from Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks, part of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.


I guess there are more colors in this segment than the others which is why it doesn't look as good.

And the rest:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday animation: Thumbelina

So, before there was DreamWorks, there was another animation company that used to compete with Disney films, and that was Don Bluth Entertainment.  Don Bluth films resembled Disney films so much that still today, people mistake them for being Disney films.  The film randomly selected for today, Don Bluth's Thumbelina, is no exception.  It's got that Disney vibe and tone, but it is definitely a style different from real Disney films.

This film came out when I was exactly the right age to enjoy the film.  I was six-years-old and loved princesses, especially animated ones that sing and go on magical adventures.  Thumbelina was, therefore, a favorite movie of mine.  I remember having a poster for the movie in the room that my sister and I used to share.  As an adult, I understand that it is not really that great, but the nostalgia factor alone makes me still love the movie today.  I think many girls my age probably feel the same way.



(Screencaps from DisneyScreencaps.com.)

Overview: Thumbelina is an animated musical film directed by Don Bluth and released by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment in 1994.  It was not well-received, flopped at the box office, and even won a Razzie for Worst Original Song.

Art: It's commonly mistaken for a Disney film, but it certainly not Disney quality animation.  It's fluid and colorful with good lip movements and angles.  Shading is decent.  There are also some nice scenes and backgrounds.  However, the CG effects really stick out and detract from the look of the film.  The style looks Disney-ish, but the inconsistency in how the characters look is kind of jarring.  I would never describe Thumbelina as gorgeous, but she is pretty and cute for the most part, but sometimes, she is actually quite ugly.  Same thing with her fairy prince, Cornelius, but he suffers even more.  I rarely find him to be attractive.  The other non-human characters look pretty cartoony which contrasts strangely with the realism of Thumbelina's and Cornelius's looks.  The style overall isn't really impressive.  There are no scenes that take my breath away.  It's eye-catching enough for a children's film, but on an artistic level, it's pretty lacking.






I like the stained glass window.



I like the details here.










Pretty colors!
Sound: Good quality, clear and crisp as expected for a modern movie.  I enjoyed all of the voice acting, especially Carol Channing as Ms. Fieldmouse, Gilbert Gottfried as Berkeley Beetle, Charo as Mrs. Toad, and Jodi Benson as Thumbelina.  What's interesting about Jodi is that she has a great voice, but it's not distinctive, so I never felt like I was really listening to Ariel from the Little Mermaid (perhaps her most famous role).  Is that a good thing?  I'm not sure, but she is good, very cute, sweet, and innocent.  Gottfried always makes me laugh with his obnoxious voice.  The acting was okay overall.  Not great, but for an animated children's movie, it's fine.  The music is probably what I remember most.  Barry Manilow wrote the songs, and while one of them isn't so good ("Marry the Mole"), the rest are lovely and enjoyable.  "Let Me Be Your Wings" can bring tears to my eyes if I listen to it in the right mood.  None of the songs are spectacular, though.  This could certainly never be adapted into a Broadway musical.

Story: The story is based on the original fairytale about a young girl no bigger than a human thumb.  After meeting a fairy prince, she is kidnapped and subsequently goes on an adventure to return home and reunite with her prince.  I couldn't really say what the moral is.  It's just a cute little story about a tiny girl in a big world.  The characters aren't bad or annoying, but they aren't very interesting either, not even the title character.  Thumbelina is unbelievably naive, though, believing everything she is told and willing to go along with almost anything.  When kidnapped by the toads, she actually agrees to perform with them.  Upon meeting the Beetle, she agrees to go with him to the Beetle Ball and believes that she is ugly when he tells her so even though he was just raving about her beauty.  When taken in by Ms. Fieldmouse, she agrees to marry Mr. Mole.  In that sense, I guess the film can get a little annoying, but at the same time, it just shows that Thumbelina simply hasn't been alive for very long and literally has no idea what she is doing.  Did she learn anything in the end?  To be honest, it's difficult to tell for sure, but it does seem like she grows up at least a little.  The story is cute, sweet, and innocent overall, but not much else.  It has so little depth that it actually ends up being kind of silly.





I really like this outfit!


Thumbelina and Cornelius both kind of look ugly in this picture.
Personal appeal: I love this film, but that's probably because I saw it for the first time at the perfect age.  Seeing this film makes me happy, and I never get bored of it.  When it comes to nostalgia, this film know how to create it.  It's got that prefect blend of princesses, fairies, music, and innocence that can make a movie nostalgia for a little girl.  I recognize that it's a weak film with bland characters and silly plot points, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the film whenever I watch it.



I couldn't recommend this film to anyone other than animation buffs and little girls, but I would say to anyone that does decide to watch it to not judge it too harshly. Just take it for what it is, a cute children's film with little depth but a fair amount of heart.  Overall, I give this film two peridots out of five.

Rating:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Thesis defense comic - part four


Finding parking at my university is a NIGHTMARE.  Parking is free as long as you're a student, but what that means is that it's free for all of the students to park anywhere, so it is very common to get to campus and not find a single place to park.  I'm usually good about getting to campus on the hour when people are leaving and finding at least one spot with no problem, but there have been times I drive around for twenty minutes up to an HOUR just trying to find one spot.

So, needless to say, I was very concerned about being able to find parking on the day of my thesis defense.  I arrived an hour early which was around eight.  Nine is usually when the parking lots get crowded, so I actually had no trouble finding parking.  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY *arm flail*

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday holiday - Hoppy Easter!

I am so full right now.  X(  This Easter was probably one of the more...boring ones I've experienced.  Not to say it was bad, but the only family I have in town here is my sister, so it was just the two of us which just made it...different.  No eggs.  No big breakfast.  :/

My sister came over in the afternoon.  We went to the grocery store and bought some things for the dinner we planned on making: chicken corn chowder and mashed potatoes.  It turned out great, but it also took a couple hours and made a huge mess, the biggest mess I've ever seen in my kitchen since moving here!  But it was really good, and now, we have leftovers, yay!

As for chocolate, plenty of that, too!  I had bought some to put in our candy jar, plus my parents got me a box-thing of Godiva chocolates in lieu of an Easter basket.  They gave it to me about a week ago when they were here visiting, actually, but I waited until today to open it...of course, I still haven't opened since I am still full from dinner.  Seriously, I hit the wall.  I am so full.


My sister and I also decided to play a very peaceful Easter game called Tomb Raider III.  :b  I forgot how frustrating that game is, though.  No wonder I still haven't beaten it.

Hop, hop, hoppy Easter, everyone!