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Alethea & Athena
Winter wonderland 
3rd-Dec-2016 04:29 pm
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.
4th-Dec-2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
On the Nutcracker music segment you describe: uuuuuuugh. Like, that's one of my favourite pieces in Fantasia, and the ostrich-and-hippos one is one of my least favourite. I like that the animation didn't go the obvious route of depicting ballet, but still matched the music so perfectly. Why would you mess that up. (maaaybe the music arrangement they used just didn't quite match up with the animation, so they'd have to rearrange the visuals anyway, but still...)

Anyway!! I'm so happy you got a tree! Take a picture for us :D Christmas music playlists are also great. Last year one of my friends posted a song each day on fb from her own playlist, and she just started doing it again :D My Christmas songs are mostly traditional carols that I love enough to listen to year round shuffled in with the rest of my music in iTunes, but it is nice to have them on their own playlist so I can listen to them exclusively! I could give recommendations but I don't know what your taste is... However, if you have time to browse, Noisetrade is a cool site that lets artists post their music to download for free in exchange for getting added to their mailing list (this has never been a problem for me because most of the artists only mail something out every few months, like when they have a new album or a tour or something, and if I like their music I'd want to know that anyway. Right now there are a lot of Christmas albums/singles/tracks featured on the site's front page, and you can listen there before downloading anything
5th-Dec-2016 02:24 pm (UTC)
Okay, I have to stand up for my beloved Dance of the Hours sequence. It's a beautiful piece of parody and it's hilarious. It's even better because, as a parody, it doesn't stoop to using vulgarity, and it pokes fun at a popular ballet of the day without actually mocking the ballet or the ballerinas (unless you consider casting elephants and hippos as ballerinas an affront to the genre, but then one might reply with accusations of size discrimination or speciesism). And even though the Disney animators made fun of ballet, you can still tell, based on the Nutcracker and Pastorale sequences alone, that they definitely appreciated beauty.

On the other hand, based on Disney animation today, it can be a little hard to tell if the current staff truly appreciates beauty (Olaf, Hei Hei, the horrid new design for Mickey Mouse...), which may be why they chose to go with elephants and hippos instead of the beautiful flowers and fairies of the original Disney version. (On the other hand, those fairies are nekkid.)

We will take pictures! Eventually! As for our taste in music...oh my goodness, I don't even know. For Christmas, I think we prefer traditional music. I found an album on iTunes that has traditional carols played in the style like the music from Muppet Christmas Carol, and I think that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind, but since it's only one album... Also, there's a guy we run into at Disneyland occasionally who plays the hammered dulcimer, and he had some albums on sale in Downtown Disney, so we know he has some Christmas music. I'm thinking we'll go to his website and download his Christmas album later, so we can support local artists.
5th-Dec-2016 02:40 pm (UTC)
Okay :) I always thought the cartoony art style of that sequence was ugly and I would rather look at pretty fairies and flowers and fish any day. I haven't seen it in years and most of my viewings were as a young'un, so the parodic aspect was pretty well lost on me. But I respect and appreciate your defense!

Ooooh, who's the hammered dulcimer musician??

edit: I don't know whether you associate Nutcracker strongly with Christmas (I didn't as a kid since all my familiarity was with Fantasia, but that's changed since going to see the local ballet academy's performance every December for the last ~5 yrs) but if you do, I found this artist's version through Noisetrade (it has 3 songs for the free download there, but he's on Bandcamp as well, which is a site I like because it gives a larger share of the $ directly to the artist compared to iTunes/Amazon/etc): https://williamarnold.bandcamp.com/album/expedition-nutcracker-suite

edit2: I'm still listening and not entirely won over on some of those songs (they're arranged in different world music styles), but I thought it was an interesting interpretation, anyway.

Edited at 2016-12-05 06:00 pm (UTC)
5th-Dec-2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
I definitely recommend checking it out again. I remember liking it a lot more as an adult, too (but I also don't remember disliking it as a child, but 1)we didn't watch Fantasia frequently as children, and 2)we were always watching the Disney Channel, and it was back in a day when they showed the classic cartoons, so we were used to the style on ostriches and elephants and hippos, but of course the crocodiles are the best).

The hammered dulcimer guy is Scott Williams, and apparently he, too, uses Bandcamp to sell his music. He goes by HammerHands. One time he was playing at California Adventure, and he was just taking requests, so someone goes, "Do you know Dueling Banjos?" and he says, "Let's find out!" and he just started working it out right there. Unfortunately, it's impossible to just sing Dueling Banjos, so we couldn't get the full version, but we admire his dedication to the craft.

Ooh, the Nutcracker arranged in world musical styles! We love the concept, but we tend to get wary when it's just one person doing it. Artists are all so self-important (say the self-important translators). We will have to think about this one. (Also, I kinda dig all of them except Waltz of the Flowers, which is the most important.)
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