Thursday, February 3, 2011

C'MON, GET HAPPY! These songs make me dizzy-silly-spinning-gleeful-joyous. Volume 1!

Deviating entirely from the usual tone of this blog, I bring you HAPPINESS. I'm the kinda person who can't go anywhere without my iPod earbuds firmly inserted in my ear. I don't drive, so I walk places. I've been getting cabs all winter because it's cold and unfortunate outside, but also because the cats ate my headphones, and until I get new ones, I just don't have the ambition. Music is freakin' awesome at making me want to move.

Dancey songs with a high BPM are good for keeping your pace quick. "Emo" songs? Not so much. But by far the best songs for putting a literal spring in your step are the ones that make you smile. Here are a few of mine. Featuring some YouTube so you can listen along*. Also I warn you, I sound like a gushy teenager for most of this. But it's happy, okay? Just deal with it.

*the official videos have ads before them! I'm sorry!

#1. Ever Ever After - Carrie Underwood

Unafraid, unashamed - there is joy to be claimed in this world.

I love Disney songs edited with Disney footage :D Hence choosing this video.

"No wonder your heart feels it's flying, your head feels it'spinning. Each happy ending's a brand new beginning." I actually tear up. A lot. Nothing makes me feel like a silly little girl like "Ever Ever After" does. Written for Disney's Enchated, one of my favorite movies, the whole song is upbeat, with cute lyrics, and it's guaranteed to make you move faster - hell, to make you wanna run. With your arms out like an airplane :D

#2. Be As - Prozzak

If there is a way that you and I could both be free, have a little understanding and we will be.

You guys know me. I am not a "kumbaiyahhhh everyone love everyone! Hold hands and sing!" kind of person. And that's pretty much what this song is. Yet, it's on the list. So, let's flashback to elementary school for a moment. In grade 6 this song made me deliriously happy. Prozzak are (were?) the most ridiculous cartoon band, ever, but I loved them, and still have a lot of their music on my iPod, because it's all dancey and uptempo and just awesome. This song's got that catchy Prozzak sound coupled with lyrics that have a message, and that makes it classic for me to get happy. And they're called Prozzak, so... wasn't that their intention?

#3. Must Have Done Something Right - Relient K
We should get jerseys 'cause we make a good team. But your's would look better than mine, 'cause you're out of my league.

And I know that it's so cliché to tell you that everyday I spend with you is the new best day of my life.
This is one of the few cheesy, love-y songs that I loved and listened to religiously even when I was single (I'm the bitter kind when it comes to love songs... well, not anymore, but for the 20 years I was single LOL). Pure pop-y goodness with vocals typical of the genre (happyemo? I don't know much about music /facepalm). This song is just CUTE. There's no other word. Cute, along with uptempo, and 100% infectious. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

#4. Here in Your Arms - Hellogoodbye

I fell in love, in love with you suddenly.

Yeah, it's a love song. But it's unique musically, and it gives me the tingles. The chorus is pretty much yelled - and you'll want to yell along, too.

#5. You Can't Stop the Beat - Hairspray

You can't stop my happiness 'cause I LIKE the way I am.

This song is an all-in-one workout. Try to sing along without losing your breath - I dare you. I know every word and I still end up tongue tied. "You Can't Stop the Beat" is the absolutely EPIC climatic finish to the musical "Hairspray", and the 2007 movie version is my favorite of the song. It's a god-darn ANTHEM. And it's impossible to be in a bad mood after listening to it. If you don't want to listen to me, these are the highest-rated comments on the video:

#6. That's How You Know - Amy Adams

Does he dedicate a song with words meant just for you?

I FOUND THE SCENE ON YOUTUBE. Look for the little old men with yellow flowers! *high pitched squeal*

This is also from Disney's Enchanted. That entire movie slaps a gigantic smile on my face that I just can't shake. It's got a few cute little songs, but this one is the most cheerful, precious number going. I have to say this is one song on this list that is definitely better in viewing it in Enchanted, but when I'm going for walks, I can picture all the sweet li'l moments in the movie, and I always walk a little quicker.

That's it for volume 1. HappyHappySINGSING Volume 2 will be next week! : )

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

3 posts in a week was a fail, but hey, I tried!

Well, I challenged myself to update 3 times between last Tuesday and the one that just passed. I updated once. That being said, it was a fairly long and quality post, so I was still kinda-all right with my failed attempt. I'm going to re-challenge myself, but with less lofty expectations. Can I update twice before next Wednesday? With legitimate updates, not just these info-posts? I think I can.

So the challenge is on.

Thanks to everyone who keeps checking in and reading. And commenting! Comments are fantastic. You guys are just plain swell.

: )

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I don't know your kid - my (longwinded) thoughts on censorship.

One thing I've come across in two of the jobs I've held (movie theatre, video store) is parents who want to censor their children, but don't really know how, and seek my advice in doing so.

 I need to say: I'm not a fan of censorship. I believe that people reach a certain age (and not necessarily the "18" the government and film board believe) where there's just no sense sheltering them anymore.

The problem is, that age varies depending on the individual. For example, I was never censored in what I watched/read/listened to. I used to get ridiculously scared when someone would get stabbed or hacked in movies, and mom would consistently repeat, "It's not real, you know." It took me a few years to catch on to this fact, but eventually, I was fine with violence and gore and "scary" things.

 As far as language went, where I live, everyone's got a foul mouth on them. In most cases, far worse than anything you'll hear in the movies. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I swear like a sailor. It's not ladylike, it's not polite - but I just plain ol' don't fucking care. I know when it's inappropriate to curse. I don't do it at work (at least, not around customers), I don't do it around the elderly, I don't do it around small children. So I don't consider it a problem. My filthy mouth has nothing to do with movies or television or rap music (LOL always the scapegoat, right?), it was environment and the kids at school and basically every other factor.

I wasn't even censored from "sexual content". This seems to be the one thing parents who censor their kids are concerned with, and I agree with them, for some reason I can't put my finger on, though I don't necessarily know if it's the right thing to do. I was allowed to watch movies with sex scenes. I didn't grow up promiscuous; far from it. I was actually the most moralistic person I knew, and still am. There was not and never will be casual sex in my life, I understand the consequences as well as the value of having a solid relationship if you're engaging in such things. No one will ever call me a slut. I won't get a disease. I won't get pregnant from a one night stand. I'm not saying that this has any relation to the fact I wasn't treated as a child and was never taught that sex was dirty or wrong, I'm just saying, it's possible. 

I've known plenty of over-protected children who have grown into one of two things:
1) Socially awkward young adults or
2) Rebellious young adults who make poor life decisions.

The former is preferable to the latter, but neither are the ideal. In 6th grade I had a silly little website. I'm talking pre-Piczo days. It was an Angelfire site, all text, not a single picture. On it I mentioned my friends - by first name only. One of my friends had a ridiculously common first name. Not only was it a common name, but the most widely-accepted spelling of said name. Anyway, I remember her parents contacting me, referring to it as "this so-called website" and telling me I had to take her name off of it or they'd take legal action.

Yep, they email-intimidated an 11-year-old girl because their daughter, whom they'd named something that a dozen girls in every grade are named, was mentioned in passing on my website. Looking back, it was a lulzworthy event, at the time, I was terrified.

Long story short, their little girl they worked so hard to protect got pregnant and had a kid in high school. Again - I'm not saying there's a direct correlation. Maybe it would've happened either way. But my point is, their extreme protective measured didn't prevent it.

This has just been my personal experience - I was uncensored, unsheltered, and turned out just fine. Anyone who tries to argue otherwise would only cite my lack of post-secondary education, which is something that is all about the $$$$ and has nothing to do with my un-censored upbringing, thankyouverymuch.

Video games are a hard point. The Call of Duty games are ridiculously violent, come with a 17+ rating, but the majority of parents let their kiddies play them. My 10-year-old brother loves them. They've got bad language to match the violence, too. Despite this, my brother isn't a senselessly violent kid; he knows the violence is just a game, and such bizz doesn't fly in real life.

I think it's an intelligence and awareness thing, at the end of the day. Disturbed people who watch violent movies or play Grand Theft Auto might go out and kill someone, however not only are they the minority, but if you're that messed up mentally, if it wasn't the movie/game/song/book that triggered your outburst, something else eventually would've been your breaking point. There's no sense blaming media and pop culture.

That being said,  I don't doubt for a moment my kids will be smart (because I won't mate with anyone who isn't at least as intelligent as I am, I have a very low tolerance for stupidity, in case you can't tell haha), and if they mature at the rate myself or my siblings did, I will treat them as my parents treated me: a human being with real thoughts and opinions, capable of discerning what is real and what isn't, what is acceptable and what isn't, who can watch a movie like Boys Don't Cry or Law Abiding Citizen and be able to handle it, comprehend it, and discuss how it made them feel.

I should mention that, in case you think I sound crazy, I'm not talking about eliminating boundaries for little kids. 10 and under is a whole different ball game. But once you're 11 or 12, you're capable of so much more mentally, and have been exposed to your fair share of how un-pretty the world can really be.

Last year, a woman called looking for recommendations for a horror movie for her 11-year-old daughter. I initially jumped to movies like The Grudge or The Ring. Silly little thrills with minimal violence and language, and no sex. I also mentioned PG-rated titles like The Sixth Sense. She deemed all too scary, and The Sixth Sense, "Had that scene where the boy was a ghost and missing part of his skull for a second, didn't it? Not until she's at least 13!" Had the movie been released in 2010 instead of 1999, her daughter could've went to movie theatre and seen it herself without an adult. That case just seemed a little extreme for me.

You get the other end of the spectrum where people think Pirahna is appropriate for their 9-year-old. Some movies are just filled with gratuitous nudity and gore and language that aren't conducive to the plot, and although a 14 or 15 -year-old would see the entertainment value, it's just exploitation for smaller kids. But what can I say? I don't know your kid. S/He might be insanely mature, who am I to judge? I can only warn.

Which brings me full circle to the top of this blog; sometime, parents ask me to be the deciding factor. Sure, I've seen most of the movies they're asking about. I know what's in them. But how do I know if a movie like, say, What Lies Beneath is going to meet their standards? My sister and I were 12 and 9, respectively, when we watched that movie - every weekend, I might add, we loved it. It's not overly-objectionable, but what if I say it's perfectly fine, and it turns out I ended up with helicopter-Mom who thought The Sixth Sense was inappropriate for a kid going on 12?

Parents, don't put me on the spot. I know what kind of movies I'd let my future kids watch, depending on their maturity. I know people in high school who shouldn't be watching certain movies because they're so immature. And yet my brother sat through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with me when he was 5-years-old, and was no worse for the wear - in fact, he loved it. I don't know a damn thing about how you raised your kid. I don't know what your values are -vs- my own.

The only thing you can really do is sit down, watch the movie first, and decide for yourself. Or go on IMDb and read their Parental Advisory pages - it has every detail in each category (sex/nudity, language, violence, scary/disturbing images) written out, just the facts, totally unbiased, so you can make the call.

However, as any kid will vouch for - if there's something they really want to see, and you're not letting them. They'll find a way. Just keep that in mind.

I could go on a completely separate tangent in literary censorship (not a day goes by I don't feel terribly for what Judy Blume went through), but that's another rant for another day.