Well, I think it's safe to finally say that we have a Christmas tree. After we went to Disneyland and saw all the holiday stuff, it put us in a bit of the Christmas spirit...although World of Color kind of put a damper on that, which reminds me there was another segment I sort of wanted to mention. They did one to an a cappella arrangement of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies and the Russian Dance from the Nutcracker, but all the visuals for some reason were from the Dance of the Hours sequence of Fantasia. It's possible that they just wanted to mix it up and be different, but the way Disney's been doing stuff these days, it's hard not to suspect that they just forgot that there is animation to those dances in Fantasia, but the hippo, ostrich, and elephant ballerinas were not a part of it. Then again, maybe they thought, "It's a ballet! We should have ballet dancers." I don't know.
Anyway, we were feeling the Christmas spirit, so that night we came home and ordered a Christmas tree from the Target website. We found out that they had the Virginia pine in a six-foot size which is even more what I wanted (I wanted a tree just a liiiittle bit taller than me)! So we ordered it, and it cost less than the 6.5-footer, and it was 30% off. So we still have some money to put toward the Snorlax beanbag chair fund. ...Or we might have spent it all on overpriced holiday food at California Adventure.
Anyway, even though we saved money on the tree itself, we were still thinking we ought to save money, so we went with standard shipping, which means it's not scheduled to arrive until Tuesday. But! since it was shipped from just a few cities over, it came yesterday!
So after work, we opened the box...and it was the right tree! Huzzah! So we set it up immediately, and then we pulled out all the plush toys we wanted to decorate it with (we technically have some Christmas tree ornaments that were given as gratuities at various annual passholder events a couple of years ago, but I don't know where they are; Athena knows but she doesn't care, and frankly neither do I, they're not that great). And now it is a winter woodland extravaganza! I do think it would be a good idea to get some more sparkly decorations to reflect the lights better, but for now it's plenty festive already.
Now we just need to get some nice Christmas music to listen to. But I'm not sure if we would listen to it much, but anyway, I really like the idea of having our very own Christmas playlists tailored to our own tastes for once. Why don't we already have one, you ask? ...I really couldn't say. Apathy, most likely. We used to have two Christmas CDs that we listened to a bunch at Christmas time, but since the move their whereabouts remain unknown. And it would be nice to branch out. But we're still a little wary of spending extra money, so we'll see if we actually go through with it.
Today I'm thankful for finally having the right Christmas tree, having it all set up and adding Christmas cheer to our home, finally catching that Pinpuku (I knew there had to be a trick to it!), fast shipping, and our schedule being light enough that we can take some time off next week and hopefully stop having colds.
Before I get to talking about World of Color, there was one other thing that happened at Disneyland yesterday that I wanted to talk about. Gaston went to renew his annual pass, and we talked to the cast member at the ticket booth for a while. She said something about it being the most magical place on earth, and I did my usual, "Nnnn, I dunno," thing, and Gaston kind of agreed, so she asked us what would make it more magical. Immediately, Gaston said, "A day without strollers, for one," beginning our commiseration about strollers, in which we found out that the proliferation of strollers at the parks is even more insidious than we thought.
So here's the thing. Strollers are usually fine in their place. But they take up a lot of space, and Fantasyland and Adventureland have both basically become stroller parking lots--they're all over the place. Like cockroaches, only big and more in the way. And as grumpy as we are, we tend to complain about them. We especially complain when there is a child in the stroller who is clearly old enough to spend the day on his or her feet, because they're so tall it looks like they'd be more comfortable walking. Either their knees are pulled up to their faces or their feet are dragging on the ground.
Gaston mentioned this phenomenon to the cast member at the ticket booth, and she told us that there are people who use the strollers as a prop to help "convince" cast members that their child is still only two years old, and therefore is entitled to free admission. Apparently this happens when the child appears to be as old as six. And for the time being, there's not a whole lot the Disney cast members can do about it. My idea is to impose a height limit--find out how tall the tallest just-turned-three-year-olds are (our sisters are always talking about how their kids and their friends' kids are in the such-and-such percentile, so we know people are keeping track of these things), add two inches to that, and if the kid is taller than that, no free admission. I think it's a fairly merciful way to do it. And since they're always pushing the annual pass idea onto people, it wouldn't hurt to have a child rate (ages 3-9) for those, either. Maybe I'll get to take another survey someday...
Anyway, World of Color. They had a new show for the holiday season this year and...it was actually fairly decent, but a little low on energy. The first half was pretty much just super fancy music videos, played on screens made of water, to the tunes of various popular secular Christmas/winter songs. Gaston loved the selection because it was a lot of his favorites. We wondered about the concept, because when you're watching a show called World of Color, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" maaaaay not be the best choice. It was a pretty colorful white Christmas, though. They had a cute princess montage to go along with "Baby It's Cold Outside," which was...just... Like I said, the montage was cute, but Disney princesses get a bad enough rap as it is--can we maybe not tie them with a super rapey song? In Disney's defense, they did change the lyrics to make it a little less rapey, rewriting lines like, "Say, what's in this drink?"
But I digress. For the most part, they did at least choose scenes from Disney movies to match the lyrics of the songs, so they seemed to be more in sync, but they weren't really "there" until they did this really cool segment that started with Goofy saying something about decorating for the holidays, and then they played some rock music, I guess? And used lighting effects and timed the fountains to go with the rhythm of the music, so it all worked together really well. And, since the water show takes place in front of the Ferris wheel and the roller coaster, they also timed lights on both of those to look like a string of Christmas lights and turn on and off and change color with the rhythm. It was super awesome.
...And I think that's most of the stuff worth mentioning, except that the ending was kind of confusing. They did "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and made it very finale-like, and then they shut off all the lights in a "the end" kind of way, and the street lights came back on...but the fountains and music were still going. That was okay, because sometimes the nighttime spectaculars have a kind of "post-show" for people to look at as they slowly make their way out of the viewing area, but then that song ended and they did another song. It was like, "Okay, is the show over or isn't it?" And then that song ended, and the announcer said, "Thank you for joining us!" So I guess that's when it was over over, but man, it was weird. Is it their way of training people to stay for the credits or something? I don't know. It was just confusing. And I was worried that I missed something, because when the street lights came back on, I stopped paying attention, but then I realized that stuff was still happening. Just like this paragraph. I think I'm done writing it, but then I have to add something else. I just don't know when to stop, a lot like that show.
Okay, stopping now. Today I'm thankful for meeting our work quota for today, encouraging emails from our editor, getting our package much sooner than expected, getting to have lots of delicious pizza last night and today, and the hope that one day people will develop consciences and stop lying about their kids' ages to get them into Disneyland.
We have returned! And unsurprisingly, we are exhausted. Disneyland was fun as usual. We saw Viva Navidad again, which continues to be one of the best things they're currently doing. This year, in addition to Viva Navidad, they're celebrating even more different cultures by inviting different performing groups to come...um...perform. We didn't even realize what was going on until we were walking away from the Viva Navidad area and heard some different music coming over the speakers.
We kept going and ran into a stage where they had a group called Blue13 performing Indian dances for Diwali (that W is pronounced like a V). Of course, we're uppity, so we couldn't resist joking about how offended we were to be wished a happy Diwali. We took it in both directions. We could be offended that they were trying to impose their beliefs onto us, or we could be offended that they're not acknowledging all the other holidays that are celebrated this time of year. But really it went like this:
Athena: [in an offended tone] They wished
me. A happy. Diwali.
Gaston: Were you offended?
Athena: [cheerful] No.
The truth is, it was awesome. The dancing was fun, the costumes were beautiful, and we love learning everything about everything. And they taught us all some moves so we could join in their big Bollywood finale! And I am not a competent dancer, so I could not do them very well, but it was fun anyway.
Later wanderings led us across the path of Mostly Kosher, which I am kind of afraid to try to describe by myself, so here, have a link
. They were a lot of fun, too, and I loved that fiddle.
But anyway, we now have some pizza from Pizza Hut getting cold, so we're off to dinner! I'll have to talk about the new World of Color later.
Today I'm thankful for finishing our translation of Nekogahara 2, having some pizza to eat, getting to see Blue13, getting to see Mostly Kosher, and getting to see Viva Navidad.
Well, Gaston has called and is on his way down here for another trip to Disneyland! He called on Thanksgiving to let us know he would be coming this week, but he didn't tell us what day. We did suspect it would be Wednesday, because Gaston has the uncanny ability to choose his Disneyland visits for the days that Farley will not be around, and that's when Farley is off this week. But we can never be sure, because whenever we plan for something to happen a certain way, inevitably it happens differently.
But the point is, we don't want to miss Review Rednesday! So it sort of turned into a late Reviewsday, but here is our review of Missions of Love 13! Spoiler level: I don't know if it's possible to figure out anything
that happened in this book based on this review, so...mild.( Missions of Love volume 13Collapse )
And that's it for this week! As for new releases, this week we have...nothing! That's right--nothing we translated came out this week. Unless the dates were done wrong. And it's looking like (unless we're missing something) we don't have another new release next week either. There will be one release the week after that, and then there won't be another one for a whole month! And that all means that I won't be speeding up the rate of review posting. And that
means that if you want something to jump ahead in line (like Fire Force or In/Spectre), you should speak up!
Tune in next week, for the eighth and final volume of Devil Survivor!
Today was fraught with danger! ...for our finances. And it wasn't really that fraught; we just started getting funny ideas. See, what happened was, we got an email from GameStop, and it was all, "Hey look, we have Pokemon merchandise! We know you waaaaaaant some!" And we were like, "Of course we want Pokemon merchandise, don't be ridiculous!" And this is not even entirely true; we do want Pokemon merchandise very badly, but only very specific merchandise. Namely, a life-sized Rowlet plush.
But they had a fancy game guide or something in the pictures that made me think, "We should click on the link to see what that thing is all about." So we clicked on the link, and it showed us all their shiny Pokemon toys. And most of it was related to the card game, so we were like who cares, and we were just going to get to the end of the page and, now that we had an idea of what they had and we could walk away with our curiosity satisfied. But by the end of the page, they had shown us a Popplio plush and a Litten plush...but no Rowlet! So naturally we had to keep going until we got to it...on the last page of 26. For goodness sakes. And it wasn't available online anymore, so I guess they moved it to the back because they were sold out. Also, it wouldn't tell us the dimensions, so we flipped the table and yelled about its uselessness.
No we didn't, we went to Amazon Japan because we knew they would be more helpful. And sure enough, they told us that the plush was...too small. I mean, little versions of little Pokemon can be extra cute because littleness automatically makes things cute (this has been a true fact since before Sei Shonagon wrote The Pillow Book about a thousand years ago (she has a list of things that are adorable, including "anything little")), but it's not what we want. We want a life-sized one.
Guess where you can buy a life-sized Rowlet plush! If you guessed Amazon Japan, you're right! ...There are probably some other places that would be right, too. For example, the ideal situation would be if we could go to the Pokecenter in Japan, where they would be sure to have one. And I think our dreams of doing that played a large part in our having the self-control to say no, not now. Well, that and the five thousand yen price tag. And the fact that of course it had the "often bought together" picture with the life-sized Popplio and Litten, and wouldn't it be SO COOL to have all three? But a hundred fifty dollars (plus shipping) makes it a lot easier to say, "Yeeeeah, maybe not now," than fifty.
What really tested our resolve was something ever so slightly more practical. I mean, we would probably get a lot of use out of it, but we don't necessarily need it. GameStop, through ThinkGeek, is selling the Snorlax beanbag chair. And we thought about it and were like, "You know...that would make for a nice place to sit for gaming..." And then we started getting really funny ideas, like, "And we just cleared a space for it that's going to remain unoccupied for a while..." And it got even worse by adding, "And we just got a hundred-forty dollars back from returning that Christmas tree..."
And now we're genuinely torn between getting a Christmas tree and getting a Snorlax beanbag chair.
The most probable outcome is that we'll just keep distracting ourselves with work and video games and continue to lead a bland, colorless, Christmas-tree-and-Snorlax-less life. And then we start working on Land of the Lustrous, so at least we'll have some sparkle. After we cross four other things off our list.
It's really not as bleak as all that, silly! (<--the "silly" is directed at ourselves) We like all the things we're working on! And Athena caught an Itomaru today. We didn't even know we were missing that one! And my spinning kit came yesterday, so there may be crafting on the horizon. ...Assuming we can pull ourselves away from the Pokemon. (The real danger of working on a series that we know is going to an adapter: "Wow, that translation is awful! It doesn't even make any sense!" "Who cares? It's not our problem. Let's go play Pokemon!" "... ... ...Okay!")
Today I'm thankful for having a lovely chat with our sister on her birthday, getting to joke(?) about spending our life savings on Pokemon, finishing our first draft of My Monster Secret, catching an Itomaru (we think that one's from Gold & Silver), and getting a payment this week.
The Christmas tree saga continues. We went to Target today and got in a surprisingly long customer service line. I guess it being the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend means a lot of people need to make sure things are just right for Christmas. When we got to the front of the line, we dealt with someone who was either very new or very frazzled or very both. We explained the problem and it didn't seem to quite register, but she did figure out that we didn't want the tree that we got. So she refunded us all our money, and we asked her if they happened to have another one of the model on the label. After asking a coworker how, she looked it up and found that, not entirely surprisingly, it was out of stock. So we accepted the refund and left. Our next plan is to check online and see if we can get the one we want, hopefully at the price we paid (which was half off).
In the meantime, Gaston should be coming for a trip to Disneyland sometime this week. If he hadn't called to warn us, we would probably be going tomorrow anyway, to take advantage of people (hopefully) being worn out from Thanksgiving, leaving the park relatively empty.
Other than that, it's pretty much just work and Pokemon. We do think we should finish up Ace Attorney 6 at some point...
Today I'm thankful for at least getting our money back, getting to go out for Joe's Italian Ice as a consolation prize, Pizza Hut sending us a surprise discount coupon that turned out to be for 50% off (we're saving it for after we wear ourselves out at Disneyland), remembering that we have a heater, and customer service representatives.
Decided not to neglect LJ today. The Christmas tree situation is moving forward, but the only thing that's happened so far is that we now have plans to go back to Target tomorrow. Tadah!
We did in fact spend most of last evening staring at the 3DS. I thought I could talk about Pokemon some more, because I remembered having more to say that I didn't say last time, and then I couldn't remember what it was, but as I was typing I did remember, so let's see if it's any interesting. The other problem with coming back to Pokemon after so long is that now we have very little idea which Pokemon are new to Sun & Moon, and which Pokemon showed up in previous games. Of course we recognize all the ones from Red and Blue. We even memorized all five versions of the Pokerap back when we watched the anime in the late '90s. Of course, that's not really helping us to remember the English names. We came across a Diguda, and if took days for us to remember that it's Diglet in English. ...It is Diglet, right?
And we some of the ones from Gold and Silver, but we never knew the English names for most of those. We do know that Sonansu became Wobbuffet, which doesn't make for nearly as funny a joke in the English dub of the anime. I don't even know if I can explain it. But basically, for anyone who remembers this part of the anime from over ten years ago (or maybe it's still a thing? I really don't know), whenever Team Rocket would be saying something or commenting on something, Wobbuffet would chime in with a "Wooobbuffet!" And we would imagine what that would sound like in Japanese, and be like, "...Yeah, that's a lot funnier." Because Sonansu basically means, "Yeah, that's right!" And this would probably be a lot better if I could think of any examples of this happening, but unfortunately, I cannot.
Anyway, as for all the other Pokemon we've been seeing, we just don't know. Okay, I'm pretty sure the starter Pokemon are new to this game. Maybe one day we'll look them all up and find out, but for now, we just want to see all the Pokemon as we encounter them in the game. And that of course brings up the problem of Sun-only Pokemon. We're always checking the Pokedex to make sure we're on track for catching all the Pokemon, but whenever there's a gap, we don't know if it's because we missed one or if it's because we can't get that one. I wonder if there's a list somewhere of all the Pokemon that can only be caught in Sun and all the Pokemon that are unique to Moon, but that only lists the numbers, without even the names or anything else. That would be helpful.
Today I'm thankful for getting some roll cake and frosted brownie bites at Bread Day, having plans to resolve the Christmas tree issue, finally getting to talk to people about what the plans are for church on Christmas day, catching some new Pokemon last night, and Page being super cute in her heated cat bed.
I'm trying not to be too sad about today, but it's hard not to be disappointed. Remember back on Monday, how we went on that long(?) quest for a Christmas tree, and we eventually tracked down the perfect one, and we were so excited? And then we spent Thanksgiving cleaning our apartment so we would have a place to put it? We spent even more time cleaning today, sweeping and mopping our hardwood floor so it would be ready for the tree. It was pretty tiring, because I am out of shape. And then, finally, we were ready to set up our tree! And we were so excited!
We had already pulled the box out of the corner in the hall, because I needed to sweep and mop there, too, so we moved it out of the way to the living room, where I'd already swept and mopped. So we went to the living room and got to work opening the box...and noticed that the box had been opened before and retaped. I thought oh, maybe somebody just opened it to see if it's what they wanted or something, and then closed it again because either it wasn't what they wanted or some other reason that may or may not have made any sense. But when we got the box open, sure enough, the tree inside was not the one we bought.
...Okay, technically it is the one we bought, but not the one we paid for. ...Okay, so we did pay for it, but it wasn't the one we thought we were getting. The point is, somebody had opened the box, removed the Virginia pine with lights pre-installed that we thought we were getting, and replaced it with an unlit six-foot Alberta spruce. Athena looked it up and discovered that it was the least pricey of all of Target's Christmas trees, so clearly somebody had traded them in an attempt to get a deep discount. An attempt which apparently succeeded.
Anyway, we called the store and they said all we have to do is bring it in to the customer service desk and they'll solve the problem for us, so we'll be talking to our friend tomorrow to see about making that happen. But in the meantime, we thought we were going to have a festive Christmas tree in our living room tonight, and now we do not. It's hard not to be disappointed. But on the other hand, we were probably going to spend the evening staring at a 3DS anyway.
Today I'm thankful for having a clean living room, honest people, the rain we got today, the rain waiting until we got home from the store, and still having our receipt from when we bought that tree. (There's also the idea that the tree we got would like a nice home, too, so we might decide to keep it. I don't want to leave the Alberta spruce out in the cold, but I also really wanted a Virginia pine.)
People who follow us on Facebook may have realized that I'm still thinking about Moana. In fact, that post I made today kept me up last night, as I tried to come up with just the right wording. Looking at it that way, though, it does seem a little unfair. If I have to be that careful about my selection of words to make sure all four of the movies fit the criteria, obviously they're not that similar, right? Well, maybe not, but they're similar enough that it seems like there's either a major lack of effort to come up with new story ideas, or somebody is just waaaaaay too enamored with certain tropes. Considering the repeated occurrence of the Buzz Lightyear trope, it's probably either the latter or a bit of both.
It just makes me think of Gaston's reaction to the news of a live-action Disney Little Mermaid movie, which was, "Well, the good news is, Disneyland is almost finished, because there is no imagination left in the world." And Athena's pointing out that not everyone will know the significance of that remark. See, as Disneyland has told us countless times throughout the 60th anniversary celebration, Walt Disney once said that Disneyland will never be finished as long as there is imagination left in the world. This is a main theme of Mickey and the Magical Map, the Disneyland Forever fireworks show, and World of Color: Celebrate.
It also occurs to me that not everyone follows us on Facebook, so here's the post I made there:
Despite protests from her family, a plucky, determined, but inexperienced young woman sets out to achieve a purpose, and must enlist the help of a world-wise, jaded, and reluctant man to aid her in her endeavors. Is this the plot to:
The answer, of course, is E) all of the above. (And one of our friends commented to let us know that it is also the plot to Finding Dory.)
It's just bothering me, because we read a review of The Princess and the Frog once, where the reviewer only watched it after seeing Tangled, which she saw because of all the hubbub about how they sexistly increased Flynn Rider's role in an attempt to attract a bigger audience. Do you not see that you're playing right into they're hands!? The scandal itself brought a bigger audience, for goodness sakes. But I was talking about the Princess and the Frog review. Naturally the reviewer loved it, but the reason she didn't see it before (you know, when it would have counted) is that she didn't want to see another cookie cutter princess movie. Now Disney movies are more cookie cutter than ever, but everybody loves them! Apparently cookies made from cutters are exactly what audiences have wanted all along.
On the other hand, it does occur to me that maybe the pre-Tangled Disney movies are more formulaic than I realize. Maybe it just so happens that they had all the elements that made it so I didn't care if they were very similar, whereas now the modern movies have the elements that everybody else likes that I happen to not like. Maybe they've all been the exact same movie all along, and people only care about whether or not the embellishments to the formula are to their liking. I don't think that's the case, but just as I had to tweak my Facebook post to make sure all the movies fit the criteria, I'm sure it's possible to come up with a similar plot summary that fits many of the Disney movies that came along before Tangled.
But back to the first hand, we're sitting here discussing Aladdin versus Hercules...which may not be the best comparison, since the idea is that the princesses are not the same... But anyway, Aladdin is smart and confident, while Hercules is physically strong and socially awkward. They have different personalities. But if we compare, Ariel and Belle instead... Ariel was more rebellious and maybe a little more extroverted than Belle? Ariel had a very specific idea of what she wanted, while Belle was more of the "I don't know; I just don't like it where I am" type. The differences are definitely more subtle. But Belle definitely wasn't the "love at first sight" type. ...Yeah, thinking about it, she definitely wasn't as boy-crazy as Ariel. I don't know. This is a topic that I think bears discussion, because you could also definitely say that Moana was not as boy crazy as Anna, so they're just as different as Belle and Ariel. It might go into the whole lack of female representation in movies thing...which improved with characters like Megara and Mulan and Lilo...hmm...
Today I'm thankful for finishing this month's chapter of Cramer, getting to refresh our to-do list, the chili & lime potato chips from Tokyo Treat not burning our tongues off (they were pretty good other than the fire damage, though), the latest time travel chapter not taking too long (to do a first draft of), and it being time to go play video games.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We saw a thing on Facebook about how we need to remember the real history of Thanksgiving, so I'm going to recount what I know about it here. If I'm remembering correctly, the history of Thanksgiving as we know it is that one of the presidents--I think it was Abraham Lincoln--either thought or was told, "You know, we really should designate a day every year to look around and count our many, many blessings," and so the fourth Thursday in November was designated to be that day. Tadah!
I really think it's one of the best holidays, and everyone can take part in it, because people of all religions can take some time to appreciate what they have, whatever god(s) they worship, or even if they don't worship a god! And for those of you who are like, "It's not a great holiday for all the turkeys that are getting slaughtered!" you don't have to have turkey! Athena and I will be enjoying a delicious cheese pizza.
We mostly celebrated the holiday by showing our appreciation for our home, by which I mean we finally took some time to de-clutter. Of course, our apartment is full of clutter, so this mostly focused on the main part of the living room, because that's where we want to put our Christmas tree. But! I'm pleased with our progress, because what used to happen when we wanted to clean the living room is that we'd just move all the clutter into the office. And then we'd have someone come over and they would want to sleep in the office, so we would move all the clutter back to the living room. But this time! I also organized(?) the office closet, so instead of dumping all the clutter on the office floor, we were able to put it in the closet, and it stays out of the way! But the office still looks like a disaster area, because one of the things taking up space in the closet was a whole bunch of packing paper. And Page loves packing paper, so we hesitate to just throw it away, even though we'll probably be getting plenty more soon enough.
Unfortunately, we ran out of steam before I could sweep and mop, so the living room is not yet ready for a Christmas tree, but that's okay, because it's still Thanksgiving! And as I mentioned above, I think Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. And also, we found the turkey we made at Build-A-Bear many Thanksgivings ago...and that seems relevant, but I'm not sure how to tie it in exactly.
Today I'm thankful for another peaceful Thanksgiving, having a slightly more organized apartment, finding Terrence Benjamin Franklin, getting to eat yummy food, and also getting to bring out the giant snake plush that Page loves so much.