Why I walked out of Beauty and the Beast (2017)

So here’s the thing: Beauty and the Beast (1991) is my very favorite movie. And Beauty and the Beast (2017) is the first movie I ever walked out on.

I’m not that proud of it. I wish I could have sat through the rest of it, but everything up to the point I walked out (when Belle snuck into the West Wing and subsequent conflict from that) was just Too Much, if that makes any sense. It probably doesn’t. Probably I’m just too nostalgic, or too much of a purist, or Too Much myself. But this film is trying so hard to play on viewers’ nostalgia, and to remind viewers of the 1991 original, that I can’t help but think it fell into its own trap. Every attempt to remind us of the animated film reveals what it really is: a pale, cold imitation.

But almost from the very start, the movie was distracting. The prologue’s narrator put the emphasis on the wrong words so often it threw me out of the movie. Emma Watson’s voice, autotuned or not, lacks any of the warmth of Paige O’Hara.  (And she still does that weird stuff with her eyebrows.) That’s something I could say about the “whole” film: it has no warmth, no joy. It’s trying so hard to be like the original that it doesn’t bother trying to do its own thing.

Mind you, I did like the things that were different, the brief flashes of something original: that the castle was locked in eternal winter, and the enchanted objects becoming more inanimate as the rose wilted. I like that Maurice worked in delicate clockwork rather than being a kooky inventor, and that they kept part of the original fairy tale’s reason for the Beast demanding a price from him: he stole a single rose. I thought Gaston and LeFou were quite funny.

But there was so much else wrong that I couldn’t keep my eyes on the screen from sheer embarrassment. Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson’s accents didn’t do them any favors. The costumes were trying so hard to be Realistic that they fell into this weird uncanny valley of fakeness. As much as I liked the original stuff, the movie aped the animated version so often that it distracted me. Every time they repeated a line from the original, I got jerked out of the movie, and they did it often.

In the end, I just couldn’t stand it. Maybe the second half of the movie was better. Maybe it improved. Maybe the ballroom scene had that sheer awe and love of the animated version. (I doubt it, going by the promo pics of it.) But honestly, I think the whole thing was a calculated money-grab, playing on viewers’ nostalgia to get them into theater seats.

But that’s just me, I guess.

General Life Update No. 2

Hello. Been a while, hasn’t it? I assure you that I haven’t evaporated, but my life has been in a slight upheaval the last couple of weeks, hence the not-posting.

I quit my job last week, for one. It was changing to something I wasn’t comfortable with (something more high-stress and thus probably panic-attack-inducing), so. Yeah. Hopefully the temp agency will find me another placement soon.

I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been doing a lot of stuff, because my life has (once again) been taken over by a new video game. This time it’s the latest in the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons series, Trio of Towns. I’ve already made it to year 2 in-game and I’m having a lot of fun. There are goals to meet and so on so it’s keeping me entertained. I think I’m probably playing it a little too much, but oh well. At least I’m having fun.

I haven’t been doing a lot of things, to be honest. I almost don’t want to do a mid-month report on my goals because I feel like I’ve done next to none of them. At first it was because I didn’t have time due to my job and its weird hours, and now it’s just because I’m lazy.

…I’m probably being too hard on myself.

Things: I have seen one and a half movies this month. Half because I got too disgusted with the new Beauty and the Beast to sit through it to the end. You might want to expect a rant on that subject in the near future. If I can convince myself that being angry for the hour or so needed to bang it out is worth the stress.

Nevertheless, I am still here. I will be posting again soon. I hope.

Bullet Journal: Week One

It’s officially been a week since I started my bullet journal, and I must say that thus far I am enjoying the journey. Already I find that I am keeping better track of my life. I like the winding down that my bujo affords me every night as I go over what I accomplished that day and reflect on the things that make me feel good about myself. The bullet journal is making more attentive about my everyday life, which I am grateful for.

I love the bullet journal format. While I don’t think I’m using the daily log to its full extent, I still like that I can use it to come up with a daily to-do list. Marking things off with an X through the bullet gives me a sense of accomplishment, and being able to move things forward to another day helps stave off those feelings of disappointment in myself.

The monthly and weekly modules I created for myself are also helping me a lot. I find I’m eager to keep up streaks on my monthly habit tracker, and that I’m watching my spending now that I’ve limited myself to a single spread for my expenses. I am also immensely grateful for the self-esteem journal my therapist encouraged me to include in my bujo. It makes me reflect on the positives of every day, which is something I sorely need (especially now that I’m tapering off one of my meds, with all the delightful side effects that entails).

Overall, I’m greatly enjoying my bullet journal experience thus far. I think I’ll be able to keep it up for this month and hopefully beyond.

Linked here is a photoset I posted on Instagram of the first week in my bullet journal. Let me know what you think in the comments!

March 2017 Goals

I did my February round-up yesterday, which means it’s time to post a whole new set of goals for the coming month! Without further ado, here are my  March 2017 Goals:

  1. Keep up with 3 soda days/week. Try to cut back to just 3 sodas/week.
  2. Seriously start exercising twice a week. Either walk (at the mall or the park) or do the recumbent bike.
  3. Eat better. More fresh food, fewer microwave options.
  4. Bullet journal: keep up with it all month. Keep up with the handwriting practice. Do #RockYourHandwriting every day.
  5. Writing: write 1k. Finish those flash fics. Prep for Camp NaNo.
  6. Reading: finish a damn book.
  7. Movies: watch 10 movies, 5 of them new to me.
  8. Television: keep up with Steven Universe. Seriously catch up on Doctor Who. Everything else is a bonus.
  9. Baking: bake macarons, that’s all I ask of you.
  10. Video games: new games this month. Play them. Figure out the whole LP thing.
  11. Knitting: finish the blanket; work on the scarf.
  12. Practice ukulele twice a week or more.
  13. Keep up with one blog post/week. Two if possible.
  14. Figure out student loans and what’s going on with them.
  15. Save $400 if still employed. $200 if not.
  16. Visit brother and SIL. Figure out if we’re doing Night Vale again.

I’ve once again tried to sort of lower my standards, so I actually have a chance at achieving some of these goals. For example, I’ve learned that I never know what’s going to catch my fancy with video games, but that I’m drawn to the newness of some games to me. So the goal there is to play the new games I’m getting, since they’ll probably capture my attention better. I’m hoping that shooting a bit lower will improve my success rate this month.

What are you planning to get done this month?

February: Goals Round-up

Another month has gone by, which means it’s time to go over my monthly goals and see where I measured up. While I didn’t do spectacularly this month, I still got some stuff done. Let’s get started, shall we?

  • Stick to 3 sodas/week. Try to limit caffeine as well.
  • Exercise 2 times/week. Either walk at the mall or half an hour on the recumbent bike.
  • Eat less junk food, and more fruit and veggies.

I did about half of these. I did a good job with soda, and I exercised a little, and I’ve started drinking fruit smoothies. On the other hand, I had more microwave and non-Subway fast food that I care to count, and I really fell off the wagon (again) with exercise. I’ve set basically the same goals for March in this arena, so let’s hope that I improve.

  • Write 1000 words on whatever. Probably The Oupost.
  • Try the flash fiction course again.

I wrote about 1700 words this month, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. All these words were on my flash fiction stories, mostly from writing and rewriting the beginnings. I need to pick up work again on these stories, before I lose my enthusiasm and have to start over again.

  • Read at least two books, one of them new.
  • Watch 10 movies. Make time for movies in the morning.
  • Knitting: seriously finish up the blanket. Start working on the lace scarf again.
  • Baking: make macarons again, really really. Maybe bake Dad a coconut cake for his birthday.

First half of the hobby goals here. I once again failed to finish any books this month, which I believe is as much a time management problem as anything else. Even when I picked an old favorite as an “easy” read, I still didn’t quite get around to finishing it. I did, however, start making time for movies. I watched nine different films this month, ten if you count seeing La La Land again. I have high hopes of meeting and perhaps exceeding my movie goal next month. Knitting did not happen, not even a little. I avoided making macarons again, but I did bake that coconut cake for my dad’s birthday. All in all, it’s about halfsies with these goals.

  • Work on the Disney puzzle. Put down at least 100 pieces.
  • Video games: Get back into Pokemon Sun and maybe Story of Seasons. Work on Calliope and Illien, my Animal Crossing towns. Post on my AC blog some more.
  • Catch up on Doctor Who. Start catching up on Agents of SHIELD. Finish up with Sherlock. Keep up with Steven Universe.
  • Update blog once a week, but twice a week if I can manage. Life updates, DW reviews, movie reviews. Whatever stuff. Tweet 10 times (instagram crossposting does not count).
  • Practice ukulele for actual this time, twice a week. Learn 5 chords. Learn two nursery songs.

I did not put down 100 pieces on the Disney puzzle. More like 15. Maybe. Video games were, as I described in an earlier post, kind of taken over by Terraria. I haven’t even managed to stay totally caught up on Steven Universe, to say nothing of all those others. Ukulele happened a little bit, but then tapered off into nothing. In fact, the only thing out of this little grouping that I did manage to do was update my blog semi-regularly, and even that was a near thing.

  • Visit brother and SIL again, either with my parents or without.
  • Make first student loan payment if my consolidation application goes through.
  • Save $400 if still employed. $50 if not.

I did visit my brother and SIL (and their adorable new puppy!) with my parents a couple of weekends ago. Yay for that. My consolidation application on my student loans just went through yesterday, so I did not make that first payment, but at least that’s due to circumstances beyond my control. And even though a debit card snafu made gradual saving impossible, I still put away $400 this month, because I thankfully still have a job.

I won’t say I did spectacularly this month, but I didn’t do too bad, either. I got some things done, even in piecemeal ways, and I celebrate that.

What did you get done (or not get done) this past month?

Bullet Journal Beginnings

This past weekend I bought, as I am wont to do, a notebook. The notebook turned out to be unlined, dashing my hopes of making it a gaming diary. And then I had a thought, and that thought was, “Why don’t I try my hand at a bullet journal?”

This is not the place to come if you want an explanation of what a bullet journal is, and how to make one. For that I recommend bulletjournal.com and maybe also this Buzzfeed article, and Boho Berry’s Bullet Journal 101 series. I think I’ve got a handle on what it is and what I can do with it, but only just. It’s basically a journal-slash-planner thing. You create yearly, monthly, and even weekly overviews, which you use fill in with tasks and events and appointments. Then you keep a daily log, which you use bullets of different styles to fill in so you know what you’re looking at with a glance. The daily log can be a to-do list, but it’s also where you can record notes and thoughts and quotes and basically anything you can think of. I’ve fiddled with the format for a few days and I’m really enjoying it.

What I’m really drawn to is the customizability of the bullet journal. It doesn’t have to be a straight planner/journal. You can use it to track all kinds of things. In my soon to be personal bujo (the popular abbreviation for it), I’m planning pages to track my daily habits, my spending, and even a little self-esteem log suggested by my therapist. I’m excited to get started on my bullet journal journey, even if I don’t half know what I’m doing.

I will own I’m also attracted to the pretty touches people add to their journals, which you can see if you take a traipse through the #bulletjournal tag on Instagram. I like the colored pens and markers, and the washi tape and fancy lettering. (I’ve even started doing some handwriting drills to make my lettering neater.) I’m not a very artistic person, but I’ve been told I have a decent design sense, so that’s something, isn’t it? At least I think it is. I’m willing to try anything out, and if I make a mistake, oh well. It happens.

All that said, what I’m really hoping to get out of the bullet journal system is consistency. I used to write journal entries every day. I did it for about seven years straight, almost never missing, and then my depression got the better of me and I stopped. I’ve tried to get back into it, but never been able to. The bullet journal seems to me a way to journal without worrying too much about time commitments; it only takes about ten minutes to fill out bullets of what I did today, and what I plan to do tomorrow, plus any notes along the way. More than anything, I hope my bullet journal journey gets me back in the habit of recording my days, so I don’t lose the memories of the fun stuff that happened.

Do you journal at all? Have you tried bullet journaling, or wanted to? Let me know in the comments below.

(Note: I start my proper bullet journal this coming Monday; I’ll be sure to share pictures after I’ve made it through my first week!)

February: Mid-Month Progress Report

So it’s (well) past mid-month, which means we’re due for an update on how those monthly goals are coming along. Last month, as I’ve discussed before, was something of a misfire. I got some things done, but not all of them. This month thankfully seems to be going better, though there have been some falters here and there.

In the Healthy Living category, things are going fairly well. Well, decently well. I’ve actually managed to keep up with my soda goal! I’ve stopped making excuses to buy a Coke at work, and that’s helped enormously. I’m kind of cheating by having soda “days” rather than a set number, but I haven’t had more than two in a day since the month started. I decided to throw the caffeine limit out the window. On a “bad” day, I probably don’t consume more than 100mg, which is well below the daily recommended limit. I’m fine with that. Exercise and junk food eating have not been such a success, but I hold out hope that I will one day get my crap together.

Writing-wise, I’ve been working, as I said in my last entry, on Holly Lisle’s flash fiction course. At the moment I’m redrafting my story beginnings, but I think if I total all that up I’ll hit 1000 words  with ease. And maybe work on finishing my stories as well.

Reading and all the other stuff: well, I think I’m going to finish one book this month, at least, but it’s probably not going to be The Name of the Wind. (It will be Beauty, by Robin McKinley.) NotW has been progressing slowly ever since Kvothe, our hero, basically discovered girls (well, one girl) and his obsession with her is more than a little grating. Luckily, the plot seems to be thickening, so maybe I’ll get through it after all. I haven’t watched as many movies as I would like, but I have a three-day weekend this weekend, so maybe I’ll tear myself away from Terraria long enough to watch a few.

Speaking of Terraria… last month, it was Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and this month it’s this. I bought Terraria for the 3DS on a whim last Saturday. It is now Thursday as I draft this, and I am both frustrated and hopelessly addicted.  Frustrated because I can’t seem to make much progress in the 3DS version, and addicted because I went and bought the PC version as well, and I’m having too much fun to stop. Terraria is a sandbox game in the same vein as Minecraft, but with a much bigger vision. There dozens of monsters and tons more crafting options, and that’s just the start. It’s a lot of fun and despite  my mediocre progress, I’m really enjoying it.

In other news: I baked the cake for my father’s birthday, though it didn’t quite turn out the way I’d hoped. Here’s a picture of it, with my not-so-flattering commentary. I haven’t been saving money thus far because I had a little fraud incident with my bank account and couldn’t access my funds online, but I plan to save the whole $400 in one go after I get paid this week. I practiced ukulele the first couple weeks, but last week was a bust. I haven’t been knitting at all, much to my chagrin. Other stuff’s been going on, but I think I’ll cover all that in another post.

I can’t think of anything else that really warrants updating on. Despite my fits and starts this month, I’m actually quite proud of my progress. It’s nice to see that I can do things if I put my mind to it, even if those things include playing too many hours of a video game.

How’s your month been going?

General Life Update No. 1

So what have I been up to since posting my February goals? I know you’re all dying to know. On impulse I want to say “a whole lot of nothing,” but that’s 1. being too hard on myself; and 2. not true.

I have been working towards the completion of my goals, for a start. I’ve been practicing ukulele. I’m working on the Disney puzzle. I’m still reading The Name of the Wind and I started rereading Robin McKinley’s Beauty so I can actually finish some books this month. I’ve even managed to watch a couple of movies, and I’m planning on seeing another this weekend.

Perhaps the biggest thing going on in my life right now is my retry of Holly Lisle’s flash fiction course. When I tried the course back in December, I was taking it week by week. I quit sometime in the middle, when I lost faith that my ideas were any good, and also in my ability to find my way to endings I couldn’t yet predict. (I had just joined Holly’s site, so the lessons were only available at one per week.)

Now that I’ve started over, I’ve got access to everything, and I’ve gone over all three lessons before starting. I’ve reused some of my ideas from the first go round, and I’m trying not to let myself fall into the trap of not believing in myself. I have beginnings written for all five fics, and while they need work, they’re decent starts. Some of them need tightening up to bring down the word count (I’ve only got 500 words total to work with), and others need a little more detail added to establish things. Nevertheless, it’s a start. And it’s more than I had when I started, which was nothing.

I have also been playing video games, though not necessarily the ones I listed in my goals. I’m doing dailies in Animal Crossing, at least in one of my towns, anyway. I also started playing the copy of Ocarina of Time 3D I bought a couplefew weeks ago. I haven’t even entered the first dungeon yet, so I don’t know how it’s going to go. I have internet guides to help me, at least.

I can’t think of much else to update you on, so I’ll leave things off here. What have you been up to lately? Feel free to share in the comments!

February 2017 Goals

It’s a new month, which means a new set of goals to shoot for. I’ve aimed a little higher in some areas and lower in others, but I think my goals for this month are achievable. Hopefully.

  1. Stick to 3 sodas/week. Try to limit caffeine as well.
  2. Exercise 2 times/week. Either walk at the mall or half an hour on the recumbent bike.
  3. Eat less junk food, and more fruit and veggies.
  4. Write 1000 words on whatever. Probably The Oupost.
  5. Try the flash fiction course again.
  6. Read at least two books, one of them new.
  7. Watch 10 movies. Make time for movies in the morning.
  8. Knitting: seriously finish up the blanket. Start working on the lace scarf again.
  9. Baking: make macarons again, really really. Maybe bake Dad a coconut cake for his birthday.
  10. Work on the Disney puzzle. Put down at least 100 pieces.
  11. Video games: Get back into Pokemon Sun and maybe Story of Seasons. Work on Calliope and Illien, my Animal Crossing towns. Post on my AC blog some more.
  12. Catch up on Doctor Who. Start catching up on Agents of SHIELD. Finish up with Sherlock. Keep up with Steven Universe.
  13. Update blog once a week, but twice a week if I can manage. Life updates, DW reviews, movie reviews. Whatever stuff. Tweet 10 times (instagram crossposting does not count).
  14. Practice ukulele for actual this time, twice a week. Learn 5 chords. Learn two nursery songs.
  15. Visit brother and SIL again, either with my parents or without.
  16. Make first student loan payment if my consolidation application goes through.
  17. Save $400 if still employed. $50 if not.

It’s quite a lot of stuff, to be honest. But I’m determined to make at least some of it happen, so I’ll keep you posted on what I get done and what I don’t.

What are some things you want to get done this month?

January: Goals Round-up

It’s the end of the month (you may have noticed). I thought I would do a round-up of my goals for the month and just talk my way through what I accomplished and what I didn’t. Let’s take it point by point:

  • Cut back to three sodas per week.
  • Walk four laps at the mall twice per week. Even with work.
  • Stop buying microwave lunches. Get Subway instead, but no chips or drink.

These three were my “healthy living” goals for the month. I can’t say that I did great on them, the soda in particular being difficult for me, but I did improve in small ways. I am trying to cut back on my soda consumption and I did a fair-ish job at it this month. Going to California halfway through the month put a little kink in that plan, but I think I managed to get back on track after we returned home. Exercise was another sore point. I only managed to hit my goal activity level last week, unfortunately, but hopefully that’s a signal of things improving more as we move into February. As for eating less microwave food, I did a fair job, I think, only buying those types of lunches four or five times for the whole month.

  • Write 1k for the month. Possibly on The Outpost.
  • Finish flash fics if they’re not already done.

Writing progress: I wrote 1200 words for the month, all of it on The Outpost, my TRON fanfic. I did not work on the flash fics even a little bit. My enthusiasm for that little project kind of waned when I hit a roadblock on it back in December. I’m going to attempt the course again next month, so we’ll see what happens with that.

  • Read two books, at least one of them new.
  • Watch eight movies, at least two of them new.
  • Write one movie review for the blog.

I didn’t even get through one book, but in fairness, the book in question is Pat Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, which is 700ish pages long. I’m hoping to finish it early next month and move on to some easier to get through books. (That’s not a knock against NotW, btw. I think it’s brilliant. It’s just… very long.) I also failed spectacularly at reaching my movie goal, except for the part where I did see two new movies– Hidden Figures and La La Land. Now if only I had written a review of one of them for the blog… though I suppose my five-review round-up early this month counts as a movie review.

  • Try to visit my brother and SIL once.
  • Baking: bake macarons again, this time a flavor from the Hermé book. Bake cookies.
  • Practice ukulele twice a week. Learn two nursery songs.
  • Work on the Disney puzzle.
  • Start the new blog (Scribe the Sky). Post at least once a week.
  • Watch four episodes of every show I’m behind on. Keep up with others.
  • Beat Pokémon Sun. Play more Story of Seasons.
  • Clean and dust room. Decorate like you’ve been meaning to forever.

Okay, a lot to cover here, except not because I didn’t do more than half of it. I visited my brother and sister-in-law this past weekend, check. I didn’t accomplish any baking this month, but in fairness, I have been working six days a week, and things like macarons take some planning and forethought. That I don’t have time for.

Ukulele practice just did not happen. Neither did working on the puzzle. New blog? Happened! I even posted once a week! Go me! I unfortunately did not start catching up on the shows I was behind on, and I barely kept up with the ones I wasn’t behind on. Whoops. Also whoops: instead of playing Pokémon or Story of Seasons, I bought a new copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and started a new town. Go me?

I kind of cleaned my room, which is to say I cleared away boxes and stuff, but didn’t really deep cleanse. I also started decorating my walls, after living here for only three years. [showing here]

  • Figure out payments for student loans.
  • Save $400 if still employed. $50 if not.

I have not really done the first. I looked at it today and I think I need grown-up help. I also kind of did the second? I saved $300, but did not save that last hundred because I had a short paycheck the last week of the month, thanks to going to California and then getting spectacularly sick.

All in all, I had a fairly productive month, I think. No, I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do, but I’m learning to be Okay with that. It doesn’t really matter in the long run. I still got some things done, and that’s better than nothing.