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These are just random topics that I thought I'd write about. Hope you enjoy!

My Little Pony: The Movie

10/10/2017

Today we watched the new My Little Pony Movie. It was pretty entertaining to me. I liked it. But maybe I'm biased. I used to love to watch the original My Little Pony Saturday morning cartoons in the 80s.

My favorite character is Twilight Sparkle. I feel like many of the struggles she goes through are similar to mine. Not so much as trying to save the world from an evil villain, but just the everyday struggles. She is the lovable main character who you love not because she is perfect, but because she is imperfect, and I think she strikes a chord with the common person.

Being the warrant Princess of Friendship, you watch her lead her band of ponies through trials and tribulations without force or coercion. But just by being her, who she is, and what she means and represents to her fellow ponies, they support and love her through it all.

I enjoyed watching her put up with the crazy and not-so-smart things the other ponies did that got them in trouble. This made me realize that it is a natural part of working as a team. Sometimes team members may act impulsively and wreak havok for the whole group. Being a leader doesn't always mean that every team member will and should be forced to follow you to a tee. Being a leader is more like being the guide and the inspirer, rather than lording over everyone.

My favorite part of the movie was when Twilight fell from grace. It wasn't because I take joy in other's misery. It was because I saw myself in her again. I too have made bad decisions that caused a huge setback for me as well as others. But watching this wonderful leader make a mistake made me realize that you don't have to be a perfect saint to be a good leader, or even a good person. We all make mistakes, our teammates, and even our captain. But mistakes and all, when we truly weigh the benefits of the people we care about, we realize that we can forgive and continue to love and support each other.

Aside from the philosophical aspect of the movie, I enjoyed some of the new characters. The evil Storm King was hilarious in his villain role, almost Dr. Evil-ish. The sneaky little Capper reminded me of Lando Calrissian from Empire Strikes Back. I loved how Kristin Chenoweth added her cute little snortle laugh for the Princess Skystar character. She is always a hoot in any show.

The music from this movie was definitely notable. It was such a pleasure to hear the lovely singing voices of Emily Blunt and Zoe Saldana. I think it is wonderful that these actresses can also share their singing talent. Sia, of course, was a fun addition to the movie. I loved her cute pony voice, and the artist rendering of her as a pony was pretty on pointe, too. Her song "Rainbow" is one that I'll listen to quite a few times. And, back from his beautiful scores from Friendship Is Magic, we have the awesome composer Daniel Ingram to thank for the My Little Pony Movie soundtrack with a nice mix of styles of songs for the different characters. My favorite was "Open Up Your Eyes", performed by Emily Blunt.



The Lego Ninjago Movie

9/25/2017

Jump up, kick back, whip around, and spin!

We just went to see The Lego Ninjago Movie today. As an adult, I'd say it was decent. They did well to put good ol' Jackie Chan in the movie. It gave it some decent humor that might have been lacking if he wasn't in it. I did like the voice-over acting and animation of the two main characters: Lloyd and Lord Garmadon. The story was mostly about them and their relationship, with the B story being the development of the ninja skills of the rest of the ninja team.

I haven't watched much of the Ninjago TV shows, but I'm sure there are differences in style. The animation of the lego pieces in both is definitely different. I feel like the TV Ninjago shows are more cartoonish, whereas the Lego Ninjago Movie animation was more realistic-looking lego pieces. The voice-over actors are also different.

I do remember in the TV shows, I really liked the character Zane, who is supposed to be a robot. He reminds me of Data from Star Trek Next Generation or Spock from the original Star Trek series. But in the movie, Zane's character didn't seem to have as much lovableness. His voice was a little too robotic and his personality too computerish.

I have read a tiny bit of the Ninjago books, which seem to have quite a bit of positive teaching of discipline and personal development when becoming a Ninja. I found the books to even be somewhat enriching. The Lego Ninjago movie did seem to have a little bit of that in it, teachings from the Ninja Master, Sensei Wu, but it was more of a secondary part of the story. The main part was about the father-son relationship between Lloyd and Garmadon.

As far as language, it was pretty clean. It did have a scene that had childish derisive remarks about someone smelling like stinky butt. Other that, it was fine.

Overall, I thought it was much better than the previous Lego movie, which was Lego Batman. That was one of the few movies during which I actually fell asleep at the movie theater. Lego Ninjago was quite an improvement over that, but not quite as awesome as the first Lego Movie ;-)

One last thing I want to add is that a few years ago, my brother had shown me some YouTube videos of this guy named Greg Patillo playing crazy beat-boxing flute to the Inspector Gadget theme and the Axel Foley theme. I was amused and pretty impressed, especially since I played flute in band and orchestra in highschool. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he did some of that cool beat-boxing flute music on the Lego Ninjago Movie soundtrack. Good for him!



Edible Larvets and Crickets

8/27/2017

A couple of years ago, when we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History. It was pretty cool, and the kids enjoyed it very much. Before leaving, we ended up getting a couple of souveniers. They had edible bugs for sale there. We picked up a pack of cheese-flavored larvae and sour cream and onion crickets. They bugs appeared to have been freeze-dried and then seasoned.

When we got home, the kids tore open the little boxes of edible bugs and dug right in. Again, I chickened out and didn't partake in either one of the bugs. But it turned out that our daughter liked the cheddar worms and our dog liked the sour cream and onion crickets. Blech!

We went back to the Burke Museum this year, partially because our daughter likes museums, but also for more bugs. She got the cheddar larvets again. And continues to ask for more. But I really don't see myself stocking up on those grubs. It was just a fun, almost sciency experience for the kids.

"Slimy yet satisfying!", says Simba about the grubs he ate on The Lion King.



    




Bunch O Balloons Instant Water Balloons

8/27/2017

Enjoying the last few days of summer, today the Daddy and the kids played with water balloons outside. They hadn't played with water balloons since last summer. But Daddy had a big stash of them somewhere in the house. We looked all over for them. Finally I found some regular 5" balloons. That's what I used when I was a kid, so I thought they would work. No, Daddy said, that would take too much work to fill them. I was confused. I wasn't sure why he needed special "water" balloons and why he couldn't just use regular small balloons and fill them with water.

Then I remembered where he had stored the special water balloons last summer. When he found them, he pulled them out and began to fill them. That's when I reallized why he didn't want to use my stash of 5" regular balloons. These special water balloons, called Bunch O Balloons Instant Water Balloons, can be filled with a water hose 35 balloons at a time! And they are also self-sealing. Whuuuut?! I was amazed watching them being filled.

Each pack comes with 3 bunches of balloons. Each bunch has about 35 little (about 4") balloons. Each balloon on the bunch has a skinny straw attached to it. All the skinny straws in the bunch are attached together to a round plastic adapter that screws onto your garden hose. When you turn on the hose, it begins to fill all the balloons in the bunch altogether at once. When they are about 3 or 4 inches in size, you give the hose a downward jerk (shake) and it causes the filled balloons to detach from their straws. My husband used a large plastic bin to fill and catch all the little balloons.

He continued to fill all 3 bunches that came in the one pack. That made about 100 water balloons. After that, he and the kids grabbed the balloons and began to throw them and break them. They didn't throw them at each other because they remembered how much it hurt last summer when they tried that. They just threw them against the deck. You do have to throw them with some force in order to get them to break.



Gallium Family

8/24/2017

My husband got some liquid metal, Gallium, which melts into liquid around 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) or so. It comes in test tubes with solidified gallium metal. You can heat it up by putting the test tubes in a hot water bath, being careful to keep all water out of the test tubes. Once the gallium is liquified, you can pour it into molds. My husband then puts the molds in the freezer to set for a little bit. When you take it out, the gallium has solidified, and you have a cool metal figure.

For the cute little metal family figurines, he used a Sculpey Family Tree Mold. It includes a mom, dad, daughter, and son. I had originally gotten this mold to use for clay, which I did a few times. But it was cute to make the little metal family. The figures have stayed solid at room temperature. But when you touch them, some of the metal does rub off onto your hands. It is supposed to be non-toxic. But I still have everyone clean their hands after handling the metal.




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