A Wild Update Appears!

You know how every time you play Pokemon, and you have to Surf around an island chain to get to the next plot point, and you don’t have a Repel, and a Magikarp pops up every three steps? That’s totally gonna be me with updates on social media today. ^-^

So! I have actually been getting creative stuffs done lately! I made dice bags for me and my husband the other day to accommodate our new DiceMasters habit. They actually turned out pretty well. And I’ve got fabric to make a hakama and kosode for my husband and a kimono for me. <3 I’m super excited about those.

And I’ve started fixing the road block in the second book of The Hero Project. This particular issue is why I didn’t finish the rough draft back in November. I just couldn’t figure out how to get from the first major plot point to the second without completely destroying what I have planned for the third book. But at LTUE this year, I had a brilliant idea. I ran it by my primary beta-reader, who loved it, and it fixes the problem I was having! Yay! It means I have to rewrite the whole book, but it’ll be worth it!

My husband is currently running an Anima campaign every other Thursday after I get off work. It’s a really math-heavy RPG system, but the characters we all created are too much fun for us to be dissuaded by evil numbers. The whole scenario is so entertaining that three people have joined us since we started, two of whom have never played a tabletop RPG before. And their characters just added to the fun, so I couldn’t help but draw the whole party! I started with the four of us who began the campaign together, as well as my husband’s NPC (who is my character’s older brother and the plot hook that brought us all together). I ran out of space on the page, so I drew our three additions on a separate page. It was so much fun, and I’m really surprised at how well it turned out, considering how long it’s been since I drew anything more than a five-second face sketch of a D&D character, four seconds of which are spent on hair style and getting the eyes to be the same size. (Those tend to look bad compared to my high school art, when I couldn’t draw proportions. So yeah…) So I’m super excited about the group sketches I did, and I’m going to start coloring them at the next game session. <3 And now I want to draw my D&D group. We only have two or three more sessions before we bring down Tiamat and the Cult of the Dragon, and then we’re going to start in on Curse of Strahd, which I will be DMing. =^-^= I can’t wait!

Given, all of these projects-in-progress are going to be incredibly slow, due to work, flooding, and possible surgery for husband, so we’ll see how long this takes me. (Flood explained in detail in my previous post, called “Complain!”, in which I describe the crap-tacular stuff that has happened this last week. I don’t swear, though I did use all caps in a few places to express frustration.)

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Complain!

Slight ranting ahead. Then I’ll post information that people actually want to read in a separate blog post.
I have had the most ridiculous week. I was fine when I found out that I had a bladder infection. It’s not the first UTI I’ve dealt with, and mine are incredibly mild, so no big deal. And my husband had a plantar fibroma on the bottom of each foot, which may have to be surgically removed. (A fibroma is basically a benign tumor.) That, we were ready to deal with, since he’s already looking for a new job. (His current job isn’t exactly good for physical health, and has become more demanding in the last year due to the fact that the higher-ups are too stupid to actually hire enough people to replace the ones that quit or get fired.) So a few things going on, but we’re used to dealing with health stuff all at the same time. We have pretty good immune systems, and my husband has amazing financial sense.
Then I woke up on my day off to the sound of running water. I thought someone had just finished taking a bath, as the pipes are right by my bedroom. A few hours later, my husband and I were both woken up by the crazy-loud shop vac that his mom borrowed, right outside our door. We look out to find that the entire concrete section of the basement had flooded. THAT was the rushing water sound that I’d heard. My welcome mat that we stuck by the basement door was FLOATING when my mother-in-law discovered the flooding. (Background: the water company turns the water on from the street every spring, to see if any pipes burst during the winter. Every time they do this, our basement, and the basement of every other house in the neighborhood with the same basement door design, floods. It is a serious design flaw. Thankfully, my husband and his family learned a long time ago that everything touching the floor needs to go in a plastic bin.) We spent the morning bailing water from the basement “porch” (which is a step below the basement door, for some reason), moved everything that we could to drier ground, and sopped up the rest with old towels. The best part? It was water from the nasty river/creek in the area, because the rich people up on the mountain take all the good water. (And this area makes the neighborhood I grew up in look like a ghetto.) After that, my husband and I ate, and he went back to sleep.
The next day at work was totally fine. Then it rained. And when it rains, my bedroom floods. We fixed the window last year, after having half of the carpet turned into a puddle. IT LEAKED IN ANYWAY. Thankfully, it wasn’t bad. We had some garbage papers on the floor that I hadn’t gotten around to shredding yet, but nothing important to us got soaked. A box or two from Magic The Gathering stuff we had purchased and intended to use for storage. Thankfully, we hadn’t actually used them yet. The carpet was a little wet when we went to bed, and only reached about two feet from the window before the damp ended.
Six thirty in the morning, I wake up to our carbon monoxide detector screaming at us. Don’t panic, it does that every time the power goes out, and it stops as soon as the power is back on. It’s our reminder that it still works. I wake up my husband, since the power is back on after a momentary blink, and he sets our alarm again. I have work in the morning, so I go back to sleep. I get woken up a little later and see that everything is fine, and the alarm clock isn’t blinking the wrong time at me. I go back to sleep. Next thing I know, it’s nine forty-five, which is the time I’m supposed to clock in so I can open the store at ten. My husband and I freak out and rush to get ready. Then he says something about the carpet. I check, thinking that the damp has lessened overnight. I was wrong. It had spread another foot, in spite of their being little-to-no rain that night. We now have to move even MORE stuff out of our room and into the part of the basement that doesn’t get flooded. (That part of the basement is couch, storage, and the walkway between our room and the stairs. There is now not much walkway.) I’m running super late to work, and the only coworkers that answer the phone are as far away from the store as I am, so there’s no point in having them cover for me, since they’d get there at the same time as me. We get halfway to the store, and I realize that I don’t have my keys. (My husband is the driver, not me.) Which means that my coworker has to come unlock the store for me on his day off. He saved my butt, but it was a pretty awful way to start the day. Oh, and my husband had encountered a crazy lady who was probably on meth on his way home from work the night before. He usually gets home about three in the morning, since he works graveyard. He didn’t sleep for more than an hour after getting home because he saw a car that looked just like the crazy lady’s drive by our house as he came in the house. So he was exhausted, too.
Last night, I had a completely unprovoked anxiety attack. I am medicated, and there has been no change in my meds to lead to such an attack. I simply had a song from a movie stuck in my head. I had laughed about that same song earlier in the day, because it was funny that the radio at work was playing it, but now it was making me incredibly uncomfortable. My husband and I had been cleaning our room, trying to dry the carpet and get stuff out of the way and organized, and he had to go to work. But he gave me a priesthood blessing. Any of you reading who are LDS understand what a miracle it is to have the priesthood available to us. I was fine after that. I felt at peace, and my anxiety was gone.
This morning, I woke up at six o’clock for no reason whatsoever, and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I put away a few things that had been cluttering up my desk-space for a while. I got to work on time, and everything was great. Then people showed up. My store deals with Magic: The Gathering cards, and when we are looking for cards to trade for store credit, it’s called a “buylist.” The buylist for the newest set, which has been out for a week, went up at 3am. People were WAITING FOR IT. I don’t mind at all when people bring in a buylist. I love seeing some of the cards that are really old, or the ones that are shiny and new, and it’s always fun to see how much some of them are worth. But the vast majority are worth a few cents. And when the store can only take twelve copies of a card and someone brings in two separate buylists, EACH WITH TWELVE OF THAT CARD, I get really frustrated. Because now we have twenty-four copies of a card worth about $0.07. And the card in particular that this happened with? A card that we had fifty copies of just sitting in a pile behind the desk because EVERYONE IS THROWING THEM AWAY. No one will buy this card! This individual was purposefully abusing an error in our inventory system just to get a few extra cents! And I was too tired to realize it until after he’d left. I was so pissed. And the cards he traded in that were actually cards we needed? SOMEONE ELSE HAD ALREADY TRADED THREE QUARTERS OF THEM IN AN HOUR BEFORE. And then ANOTHER person came in, not twenty minutes after the guy cheating the system left, WITH THE SAME FIFTY CARDS WE ALREADY HAD TOO MANY OF. This last guy, I don’t blame. He had no idea that this other guy had sniped the list, and cheated the system. Half of his cards were ones we actually needed. The first guy, even though he submitted his list last of the three, also had no idea that the cards had already been submitted. But I’ll give you one guess as to who spent four hours on her feet doing nothing but putting those cards away and making sure that everything that was traded in was in the inventory system correctly. My patience was long gone by the time I finished, only two hours left of my shift. My feet were killing me. My eyes were burning with exhaustion. I was reading prices wrong. I even thought it was Friday, even though I’m always good about what day of the week it is. (I’m slightly math dyslexic, as well, but it has NEVER been so bad that I switch numbers around.) I was so tired that I almost burst into tears when I discovered that I still had two hours before my shift ended. And I almost burst into tears again when I clocked out and my husband wanted to stay and play a board game with friends before going home.
But I have the best husband in the world. He saw how desperate I was to get home and take a nap and he took me home first, even though it was inconvenient. After a bit of a nap, I’m still frustrated by today, but I’m otherwise back to normal.

So yeah, it’s been a week. If any of you are having a bad day, please take a moment to remember that, no matter how bad it seems, it could be a lot worse. Appreciate that the little positives every day. Like my little brother being a dork to make me laugh, or my dad showing up at my store to pick something up while I’m there, or my husband making me food because I’m too tired to do it myself.

How Disney Villains Use Song to Affect the Plot

Just in time for Halloween! This is another Disney List that’s been done before. But I decided to do a more all-encompassing list, so it’s not going to be a “top ten” thing. I’ve also realized that some of the most frequently-listed songs are not actually “villain” songs. So I’ll start by listing what qualifies a song for the category.
First, it has to tell us, at least in part, WHY the villain is a the villain. The song must give evidence of the villain’s intent to do bad. And/or advance the plot in some way, which usually involves telling their minions their wicked plans. Most villain songs will do both of these at the same time.
Second, the villain must be the primary singer. If it’s just a song about the villain, it isn’t the villain’s song. It’s someone else’s opinion about them, so it doesn’t actually show that they’re evil.

Be Prepared- First on the list of Disney villain songs is everyone’s number one, “Be Prepared” from Lion King. Sung by Scar and his hyena minions, this number tells of Scar’s plan to kill his brother the king and replace him. In the lyrics, he talks about how stupid the hyenas are, but that they’ll get the job done. He even bribes them with food. Voiced by Jeremy Irons and Jim Cummings, and accompanied by visuals of greenish hellfire and nazi armies, this is one of the darker moments in Disney’s legacy.

Poor Unfortunate Souls- Next in our list is as old as I am, and was greatly under-appreciated when I was younger. Everyone loves The Little Mermaid, but Poor Unfortunate Souls was often forgotten. It starts slow, but has as much character as the villainess who sings it. Ursula sweet-talks Ariel into signing a contract, which the princess doesn’t bother reading, and gives her legs in exchange for her voice. She even tells Ariel that she has a history of doing bad things! She doesn’t explain why she wants Ariel’s voice, but you can tell by watching her facial expressions throughout the song that it can’t be anything good. And the sea witch will say whatever she has to in order to get the naive princess to give in.

Trust In Me/I Wanna Be Like You- The Jungle Book has a couple of villains, but Kaa is the one whose song is considered the villain song. He literally hypnotizes poor Mowgli, all the while telling him to “trust in me, I’m your friend.” But the visuals are a lot scarier. In the introduction, the serpent pretends to have innocent intentions but physically prevents Mowgli from leaving, then proceeds to play on the boy’s hurt feelings. You then watch as the man-cub sleep-walks across branches, always about to teeter to his death on the jungle floor below. And Kaa just turns him around, manipulating the boy to go whatever way he pleases.
In similar manipulations, King Louie befriends Mowgli in order to use him. He desires power, and the man-cub is his golden ticket. All the while, Bagheera and Baloo are trying to rescue the poor misled boy. Is it any wonder Mowgli has trust issues?

Savages- This number from Pocahontas really digs into the darkness in humanity. While Radcliffe is antagonizing the hard feelings among his men, this song is exemplary of a mob mentality, and it illuminates the harsh distrust of that which we don’t understand. It’s not just about racial differences, though. It’s about fear of change and foreign concepts becoming hatred. And what is truly terrifying is that it’s not just the men of Jamestown singing–it’s the Powhatan tribesmen as well. Both have good men among their ranks who are trying to do what’s right, but are led astray by simple misunderstanding. (Or, in the case of the Englishmen, by a greedy buttface who doesn’t like being wrong.)

Friends on the Other Side- This may be the one song that has kept Princess and the Frog in the memory of the populace. Dr. Facilier is a wicked voodoo man with dark plans. He wants to be rich and in power, and has enlisted dark voodoo spirits who demand payment for their aid. This song is catchy, and is the moment when Lawrence becomes a secondary villain. You don’t normally get to see why the minions join up with such obvious baddies, which is something I really love about this song. With promises of dreams come true, the wicked doctor dupes poor Prince Naveen into giving his blood to a cursed talisman, then turns him into a frog. The voodoo masks in the background mock “you got what you wanted, but you lost what you had.” It’s a terrifying lesson in knowing what you’re getting yourself into before making any deals, and reminds us that we should be grateful for what we have.

Hellfire- Another favorite on everyone’s list is Hellfire from The Hunchback of Notre Dam. Everything Judge Frollo sings can actually be considered a villain song, but this is his big number. It begins with a beautiful and melodic chant from the monks of Notre Dam, and he ponders this unholy desire he feels for the gypsy woman Esmerelda. When his conscience appears in the form of the faceless jury of monks, he immediately blames the woman for tempting him, and even goes so far as to say that he can’t be held accountable because God made the Devil stronger than mankind. Then he begs the Virgin Mary to either take away the wicked desire or make Esmerelda his. That’s quite the jump, when you think about it. This is when he declares “she will be mine, or she will burn!” Frollo is the man responsible for burning Paris. And according to this song, it’s all because he lusted after a woman.

Mob Song/Gaston Reprise- Most people consider “Gaston” to be the villain song for Beauty and the Beast. While it is about the main villain, it doesn’t give any indication of his villain status. LeFou is the main singer, and he’s just trying to lift his boss’s spirits. Because he’s so popular, the whole tavern joins in. And Lefou succeeds in cheering up Gaston, getting him to praise himself. (Which isn’t too difficult, since he’s a people-pleaser and in love with himself.) That’s all they do in the song, really.** But the mob song near the end, often called “Kill the Beast”, is where you get to see why Gaston is the villain of the show. When Belle shows him the mirror, he declares in jealousy that beasts are vicious and evil and must be slain. Seeing that the townspeople are listening, he goes on, spreading lies about how he’ll kill people and steal their children, adding fuel to the fire. As the rumors spread, his eyes fill with wicked glee, and he leads the charge to kill the nasty beast. In a matter of moments, he realizes that he won’t get Belle and decides to get revenge instead. Something is in his way? Kill it.
**Though there is one verse that is usually cut out when “Gaston” is shared, whether on youtube or a Disney cd. It’s after Belle’s father bursts in, raving about the beast that’s got his daughter. After Gaston throws him out, LeFou chuckles “crazy old Maurice.” And the little hamster in Gaston’s head finally starts running on his wheel. This is the moment when Gaston changes from a narcissistic nuisance into a true villain. Just look at the lyrics.
Gaston: LeFou, I’m afraid I’ve been thinking.
LeFou: A dangerous past-time–
Gaston: I know!
But that wacky old coot is Belle’s father,
and his sanity’s only so-so.
Now the wheels in my head have been turning
since I looked at that loony old man.
See, I promised myself I’d be married to Belle
and right now I’m evolving a plan!
Then Gaston whispers his plan to LeFou, and they sing about how Gaston is the best at making plots, taking cheap shots, and persecuting harmless crackpots. Everyone assumes that the wedding is back on, and totally ignores the fact that what Gaston is planning to do is highly immoral. He’s the big, strong, awesome guy, so who cares what he does? (So, why not counted? Because it’s only one verse of a vanity song.)

The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind- This elegant number is sung by Ratigan, the villain of The Great Mouse Detective, and is even voiced by the brilliantly dark Vincent Price. While the minions are singing the chorus, Ratigan himself leads with the verses and bridge. They sing of thefts, drowning orphans, and plots being foiled by Basil, the Sherlock Holmes of the mouse world. Ratigan even foreshadows his plan to overthrow the Queen when he declares that all will bow before him. And then one of his minions, drunk on the free wine he’s provided, calls him a rat. (Which he is, but don’t let him hear you say it.) He stops the entire number to take the offender outside, where he feeds the poor buffoon to his pet cat, with all the rest of his crew watching. He then goes back to singing as though nothing had happened.

The Elegant Captain Hook- This song is often overlooked in Disney’s vast musical library, as many Peter Pan songs are. Partially because it’s so old. But this song is great. It is under-appreciated, evil brilliance. Captain Hook and his crew make no pretense; they are proud of their wicked ways! While Smee is a little silly with his bit about “the crock is after Captain Hook”, the villain himself tells the Darling children and the Lost Boys that if they don’t join his pirate crew, they can walk the plank. But if they join, they get free tattoos! While incredibly short, the song makes the pirates’ intent to do wrong very clear. Ah, I love simplicity…

Mother Knows Best- I love this song. Tangled has some really brilliant musical numbers, and this is certainly no exception. Rapunzel’s “Mother” explains to her why she can’t ever leave the tower, and like any good Disney villain, she sings it. But most of Gothel’s reasons are ridiculous, and some are incredibly insulting. Men with pointy teeth? Cannibals? “Sorry, sweetie, but you’re under-dressed, and you’re putting on weight, so you can’t go outside ever.” The whole time, she’s pretending to be concerned for the safety of the girl she’s raised, but she’s leaving all these hints that she doesn’t really care about Rapunzel. When she gives the line about stay here where it’s “safe and sound”, she’s caressing the magic hair. She’s just manipulating the poor naive girl to use her powers.

Mad Madam Mim- Yet another villain song that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. Madam Mim, one of several bad guys from Sword in the Stone, is very open about her love of being a wicked witch. She declares in a lovely soprano that she can wither a flower, or make herself uglier, and giggles like a little girl when she scares the feathers off of poor Arthur. The purpose? To prove to the lad that she is much better with magic than Merlin, or anyone else, for that matter. She loves being mad, ugly, and creepy. And when Arthur tries to leave, she shuts the windows and turns into a cat, trying to kill him as part of a warped game. Why? Just because Merlin sees something good in the boy.

Prince Ali Reprise- Now this is a sneaky one. Even shorter than “The Elegant Captain Hook”, this catchy tune is just a reprise. And this is also the only time the bad guys get musical in the original Aladdin movie. Jafar is already mad with his genie-given power, and decides that he’s going rub salt in the wounds of the captured hero and heroine by revealing Aladdin’s true identity as a street urchin. Without missing a single beat, both literally and metaphorically, the grand vizier sends the boy all the way to what looks like Siberia–and squeals with glee as he does it. He even hints that he’s sending the hero to his death. (“So his prospects take a terminal dip.”) While not a typical villain song, it does show us how much pleasure he takes in causing others pain, and reveal to what lengths he will go to get rid of a small hindrance. And he follows through with his disposal of said hindrance, which is the only motive he really has left to achieve at this point. All others are achieved without a single note from Jafar(or Iago), which is why this song often goes unnoticed.

Oogie Boogie- This jive from Nightmare Before Christmas is pretty obvious. Oogie Boogie sings of torturing poor “Sandy Claws” and of his gambling vice. He mocks the jolly fat man, laughing all the while. He gets giddy at the thought of risking someone else’s life in various roulettes. And when you remember that he’s just a sack of glow-in-the-dark bugs, it’s a lot more disturbing. Singing and swinging, the boogie man never stops moving, and his sadistic grin never leaves his face as he sings. He hints more than once that Santa will not survive long, exposition-ing all over his lair. Oogie Boogie is one of the most psycopathic of all Disney villains, and this song is all the evidence you need.

Ballad of the Headless Horseman- Now, this is one that I had forgotten a long time ago, but it’s a favorite of my husband. And this one is a doozy. In the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane tries to woo the town beauty. But his rival for her hand, Bram, discovers that the school teacher is incredibly superstitious. So at the dance, he begins crooning about ghouls and spooks coming out after dark, then goes into the tale of the notorious Headless Horseman. The song is bursting with exposition, telling the audience everything we need to know about the Headless Horseman mythology. How is this a villain song? The Headless Horseman can’t sing! No, he can’t. He’s headless. But he’s also not the villain. Storyteller Bram is. There is no evidence that the horseman was real. Bram could easily have dressed up to terrify his rival. But even if that isn’t the case(there’s no proof either way), the whole point of the song is to scare off Ichabod so he can have the girl for himself. Bram is manipulating him to be terrified. While not openly declaring his intent, he makes it clear in his movements both before and during the song.

Love Is An Open Door- I know, this is considered a couples’ duet. But it’s actually the villain song in disguise! Spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen Frozen, you should probably stop reading now. Those of us who have seen Frozen know that the true villain of the story is the handsome and gentlemanly Hans. When Anna returns home, her heart slowly turning to ice, she tells her would-be fiance that an act of true love (such as true love’s kiss) will save her. He goes in for the kiss and smirks. Because he’s a douche. The second time through the movie, I was watching “Love Is An Open Door” and it hit me that Hans is lying to Anna the whole song! That’s right, he’s lying. While Anna thinks she’s in love, the handsome prince is saying whatever he has to in order to get what he wants–to be a king. The line that really struck me was when Hans says “we finish each others’–” and you totally expect to hear “sentences”. But instead, the adorkable Anna says “sandwiches”! Hans enthusiastically replies “That’s what I was gonna say!” Really, Hans? You were gonna say “we finish each others’ sandwiches”? You’ve known her for a few hours. I’m pretty sure that there weren’t sandwiches at the coronation party. I consider this song the most brilliant of the Disney villain songs, because it’s so subtle and manipulative.

 

There are a few songs that are sung by or about villains that I’ve left off of this list on purpose. “Gaston” was mentioned earlier, and explained. But there are a few others that often get added onto Villain Song playlists and top tens that aren’t actually Villain Songs.
-Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmations is one of the most well known of these. But the song is not sung by the villainess herself. It’s sung by Roger, as he makes fun of her to his wife. A good portion of the song isn’t even true. While she is clearly a monster, she considers herself a wonderful person.
-Mine from Pocahontas is another that’s very well known. And the villain, Gov. Radcliffe, sings the lead! He’s not shy, either. He tells the men to dig ’til they drop, and speaks treason against the king of England. But it’s all about him getting wealth and popularity. It’s a vanity song with a little bit of exposition. And this song is actually two songs in one. The bridge is John Smith singing about his love of exploring.
-Kidnap the Sandy Claws from Nightmare Before Christmas has everything a Villain Song should. So why is it left off the list? It’s sung by the trick-or-treating trio, Lock, Shock, and Barrel, hooligan minions of Oogie Boogie. That’s right, those three dreadful children are not villains.
-Les Poissons from Little Mermaid is a favorite of mine. It’s really messed up, especially for a movie about fish. The royal chef at Prince Eric’s castle loves his job. Louie sings, half in French, about the process of turning raw fishes into a good meal–all while Sebastian looks on in horror. Sick, but the chef is also not a villain. Nor does the song help move the story along. It’s just kind of funny. (Or scary, if you’re a crab.)
-Court of Miracles from Hunchback of Notre Dam is one that I considered for a while. It’s really dark, and the gypsies gleefully threaten (and nearly kill) Quasimodo and Pheobus, before they’re stopped by Esmerelda. I had to take this one off the list when I realized that the gypsies are good guys, so I can’t count this as a Villain Song. You should still add it to your Halloween playlist, though. It’s brilliant.
-The last one is Gospel Truth II from Hercules. A lot of you are probably thinking “What the heck is this song?” So I will provide a link. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U8EBrLloHo)  Everyone knows that the Muses sing most of the songs in Hercules, and The Gospel Truth is split up throughout much of the film. This verse is about Hades, and his evil plan. But again, not sung by the villain.

I hope y’all enjoyed the list! If there are any dark, villain-ish Disney songs that I’ve missed, let me know! (I didn’t include any of the sequels on purpose, because most of them get rather silly.) Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Broken and Made

So, I’ve had a lot of awesome things happen recently. I’ve also had a few not-so-awesome things. My laptop, which has survived everything up to this point, is finally to the point where I have to replace it. It’s had the fan replaced, several OS reinstallations, battery replaced, power cord replaced twice, keyboard replaced… But there is no fixing the spot the power cord plugs into. So I get to borrow my husband’s laptop when he’s not using it for school.
I was okay with this. I knew it was coming eventually, anyway. Hisagomaru is very old. But then my Kindle died, too. The screen is totally kaput, and we can’t for the life of us figure out why. It broke my heart a little. Poor Shucho… He will also need replacement, now.
And this is on top of me having to get my wisdom teeth out next month. (The bottom ones, which are impacted. The top ones replaced other molars that had to get pulled several years ago.) I’m still a little scared, because I’m severely trypanophobic, and I’ve never had surgery before. Never. This will be the first. And now that hubby has started what we hope is his final semester, we get to pay for school. Yay! But we’re both working, so we can totally do this. :)

Awesome stuff! We got to go to Texas in July to see one of my converts get married in the Temple! <3 I was so excited, and I’m so incredibly proud of him! :) We got to visit several of my favorite people, and spend some time with my husband’s friend who moved down there while I was on my mission. It was such a great adventure. :)
And just this week, my little brother got married to a gorgeous, wonderful woman. :) I’m super happy that she’s my sister for real, now. And I know that she’s really good for my brother. :)
And a couple days ago, I turned 26! Crazy, right? I don’t feel that old. Then again, I also don’t feel like my husband is 30. We’re too nerdy to be adults sometimes, lol.
I’m still involved with the SLC Ghostbusters, but I also now work at a board game store. :) It’s the best job EVER! And I get to work with the Young Women in my ward!
Speaking of, I got to go to Girls’ Camp last month! It was so awesome to go camping with the girls! :)
Let’s see… I’m still working on The Hero Project, and have begun the rough draft for the second book. Yay! Still editing the first book, but it’s getting there. Also, I’ve been crocheting a lot. And sewing. :) I made my bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding.

So yeah, that’s been the big stuff that’s happened recently. I’ve been having really fun article-type ideas, too. One will be up soon! (It really will, because I’ve already got it half done.) Life happens, and it keeps us all busy. :) But overall, things have been great.

Disney Deaths that Should Horrify You

So, I saw a Buzzfeed video about terrifying deaths in Disney movies. I was a little surprised. The vast majority, if not all of them, were falling deaths, which are pretty common in Disney movies and tend to happen to the villains a lot. But it got me thinking. Most of the deaths on that list weren’t that scary. So, what are the Disney deaths that are really and truly horrifying? Which deaths leave the audience not just sad, but unsettled? So I got together with my husband, and we came up with a list of our own. These are all from movies made by Disney, and all are deaths from which the character most definitely does not come back.

 

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1. Bambi’s Mother – Bambi

This will come as no surprise to anyone. Every kid cried when Bambi was told that his mother wasn’t coming back. You don’t see the death, you just sort of know instinctively that that’s why she’s not coming back. That, and the clear sound of a gunshot. That sound is what haunts me to this day. It’s probably the reason I have a dislike of guns. (I have no problem with responsible adults having a conceal and carry permit, but I refuse to touch one myself.) The sound that signaled the end of a mother’s life rings within like a note unfinished, and leaves Bambi alone at a very young age. So while it’s one that is so often thought of that it is becoming cliche, I really do believe that this is one of the most traumatizing deaths Disney has ever created.

 

Scar

2. Scar – The Lion King

mufasa-scar-funnyScar is by far one of the greatest villains of all time, so his depressing-disney-moments_mufasas-death-in-the-lion-kingdeath should be suitably grand, right? This one has been mentioned in several lists of Disney deaths because of Scar’s iconic nature. And since he’s a villain, it doesn’t seem all that bad after the heart-wrenching scene of Mufasa’s death.
But this one is far more gruesome in comparison. While it is only hints and shadows, the scene makes it very clear to the audience what is happening. After being cornered by Simba, Scar tries to escape the consequences of his bad decisions by saying some not-so-nice 95zp0mthings about his hyena henchmen to get back in his nephew’s good graces. Simba doesn’t buy it, and after a fight, Scar is flung over the edge of Pride Rock. But that’s not the end. He survives the fall, no big deal. But he’s surrounded by his now-furious henchmen. We see the terror in his face and hear it in his voice as his is backed up to the rock wall. Then the camera pans up and we see the hyenas pounce and hear Scar’s cries of agony; his former henchmen are literally tearing him to shreds. I get where they’re coming from. The hyenas have run out of food, and their leader just turned on them. So they figure they’ll solve both problems at once. Clever hyenas.

 

Clayton

3. Clayton – Tarzan

This one bothered me from the very first time I saw Tarzan. With most other Disney movies, I was pretty little when I watched them, so I didn’t understand enough to be traumatized. But this is one that really disttarzan3--article_imageurbed me when I was a teen. It’s pretty clear from the beginning that Clayton is a jerk. He’s not there to study the gorillas, he’s there as the muscle. No one was surprised when he turned out to be the villain, only there for the money he could get out of taking home a few specimens from the jungle. Of course the hero Tarzan has to stop him. The final fight scene lands Clayton hanging in a mess of tangled jungle vines. He’s lost himself to anger by this point, so he just starts hacking away at his restraints. Tarzan tries to stop him, but Clayton cuts the one vine keeping him from certain death. We see his face as he falls, the horrific realization of what’s about to happen. Then we’re left with the chilling shadow of his hanging corpse. Even if he was a villain, I can’t help but feel a little bad for him.

 

4. The Stegosaurus – Fantasia

This one, I didn’t think of. When I talked to my husband about terrifying Fantasia-disneyscreencaps.com-4890Disney deaths, this was the first one he brought up. Fantasia is a fabulous variety show of beautiful, classic, Disney artwork and stories, all set to classical music. Everyone remembers Mickey the Magician’s Apprentice, but not so many people remember the dinosaur saga. Chernabog, the demon from Night on Bald Mountain, has nothing on these vicious beasts. We watch them die of starvation, dehydration, and who knows what else as they trek across the dusty wasteland that was once their home.

Fantasia-disneyscreencaps.com-4592But that’s not quite as gruesome as the death of the stegosaurus earlier in the segment. He fights the T. Rex, and it’s as real as it gets. A proper struggle for survival. The music is appropriately dramatic as each fights for his right to live–the T. Rex fighting for his right to eat, and the Stego for his right to not be dinner. In the end, hunger is victorious. And Disney doesn’t hold back anything, this time. We watch as the stegosaurus’ neck is snapped in the carnivore’s enormous jaws. It may be the animal kingdom, but boy is it violent.

 

5. Bartholomew – The Great Mouse Detective

Disney and their mice. If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a brilliant adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, complete with a villain who simply oozes delusions of grandeur. Ratigan is a brilliant and sophisticated rat who is convinced that he’s just an overly large mouse. And if anyone dares to Bartholomewtell him otherwise, well… they get to meet Felicia, his fluffy and fat pet kitty. There are a lot of dark elements to this fabulous film, but by far, the death of the henchmouse Bartholomew is the darkest. After a fabulously catchy villain song praising Ratigan’s brilliance, this unsuspecting fellow, drunk on the wine his leader so generously provided during the chorus, calls the madman a rat. He’s not wrong, but not a soul would dare say so. Great-mouse-detective-disneyscreencaps.com-2071Expressions
The gathered mice and lizards give a scandalized gasp, and the villain turns slowly. “What did you call me?” Poor Bartholomew is too drunk to realize the faux paw he’s made! The audience gets to watch their shadows, along with the horrified faces of his friends, as Felicia the cat swallows him. It’s nature, but still. And the simple pride Ratigan has towards this fluffy feline menace after she’s devoured his foolish minion is beyond diabolic. Rest in peace, Bartholomew.
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6. Combat Carl – Toy Story

Who didn’t enjoy Toy Story? It’s a brilliant story with lovable characters and a villain you can’t wait to see get his comeuppance. The villain, of course, is Sid, the punk kid next door who enjoys loud music, violence, and destruction. He’s the nightmare of every toy collector, and his attitude practically screams “bully” to the children of the world. The audience, and the newly-introduced Buzz Lightyear, meet Sid for the first time in the worst of circumstances. Sid has discovered one of Andy’s toys, a G.I. Joe rip-off known as Combat Carl, and has tied a very large firework to his back. Now, I’m from Utah, where firecrackers are illegal, so I was very aware of just how much fun trouble-making pre-teen boys have with firecrackers. And Sid is that stereotype, to a tee. We watch through toy binoculars as Sid lights the fuse and helpless Carl is blown to bits. And Sid just CombatCarllaughs and cheers like it was the final touchdown of the Super Bowl. Any soldier who watched their buddy get hit by a grenade or step on a landmine will tell you how awful it is to watch a person getting blown to bits. I’ve only read about that sort of thing, and it leaves scars. And when I remembered that scene, I realized just how twisted Sid was. Combat Carl may be a toy, but if the toys are alive, if they’re people too, then this kid just committed a very grisly murder.

 

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7. Dr. Facilier – The Princess and the Frog

I love Dr. Facilier. The voodoo witch doctor is charismatic, enPrincess-disneyscreencaps.com-9485tertaining, and fabulously wicked. And his “friends on the other side” are as spooky as the classic Disney Halloween specials from the 80’s. He’s flashy, and has a flashy death scene to match. Facilier mentions early in the movie that he owes a great debt to his shadowy “friends” and you learn that this is his last chance to pay back that debt. When the pendant containing Prince Naveen’s701542_1303913819438_full blood is shattered, the voodoo spirits come to claim what they are owed. You can see in Facilier’s face how horrifying the consequences will be. He cries, he begs for mercy, for more time. But his pleas fall on deaf puppet ears. He is then dragged by his shadow into a toxic green voodoo hell, and we are left with his final mortal moment imprinted on his grave.

 

 

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8. The Horned King – The Black Cauldron

blackcauldronThis has got to be the darkest Disney movie ever. When The Black Cauldron was released, the fans of Disney’s previous works shunned it as being too dark. And the villain, The Horned King, definitely The_Horned_King_Deathlives up to the dark tone of the movie. He raises a massive army of skeletons from the Black Cauldron, who then go and kill his still-living henchmen to turn them into mindless corpses as well. It gets pretty grim at the end, with both child heroes and their aged bard friend in chains, watching the beginning of the Horned King’s victory. And then, a herothe-black-cauldron-13 emerges–the cowardly creature Gurgi. While the evil King is out of the room, the little furball frees his human friends and climbs to a crumbling arch over the cauldron. He makes a brave sacrifice, jumping into the cauldron to undo the Horned King’s evil. And it works. The Horned King is sucked into the Black Cauldron, green mist ripping the rotting flesh and cloth from his very bones, sucking the life force out of him, and then melting his skeleton until there is nothing left. What a way to go.

 

9. The Evil Queen – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Snow White 1--article_imageThis is my mother’s favorite Disney villain. I never thought much of her, or anything from Snow White, for a long time. But she is a fabulous bad guy. She lies her way into becoming the queen, and when her gorgeous step-daughter is old enough to be considered an adult, the man in the magic mirror tells her that the girl is now the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, and she flips out. This woman is the psycho diva you hope you never meet. She promptly sends her huntsman to kill the princess and bring back her heart in snow white 2--article_imagea box. This guy is the best archer in the whole kingdom, so he can’t fail. But the huntsman is moved by Snow White’s beauty, and lets her go, bringing the Queen a heart cut from a deer instead. When the Queen later learns that she’s been deceived, she’s pretty pissed off. So she decides to take matters into her own hands, and turns herself into an ugly old hag to trick Snow White into eating a poisoned apple. She has the first of the Disney fall deaths, and while it has scared generations of children, I find it rather comical. snow white 3--article_imageAfter succeeding and poisoning the princess, she is chased off by the dwarves. At the edge of a cliff she stands, cackling gleefully over her victory. She is promptly struck by lightning, and falls off the cliff. But you hear her screaming on the way down, so you know she’s still alive. At least, until the crumbling clifftop releases a huge boulder directly on top of her. And that’s not all, either. We are gifted with a shot of the vultures in the nearby trees, grinning down at their next meal, and telling the audience that there is no possible snow white 4--article_imageway for the Queen to get out of this one. She lived over the top, and she died over the top. At least she died thinking she had defeated Snow White, and didn’t stick around for the sweet princess to wake up. If she weren’t already dead, the failure would have given her an aneurysm for sure.

 

 

10. Ursula – The Little Mermaid

This movie will always hold a special place in my heart. It came imagesout the year that I was born, so it was probably the first movie I ever saw. Ironically, I never really paid much attention to the ending. Ursula, everybody’s favorite sea witch, gets the trident and becomes gigantic. As Ariel and Eric dive for safety, the villainess gloats about how she now has complete control over the seas, and promptly begins to show off her new powers. Ariel gets stranded on the sea floor, in the eye of a whirlpool, and Ursula is taking pot shots at her with the trident. At first I Ursula's_deaththought “why don’t you just shoot her like you did her father?” But then I realized that Ursula loves toying with her victims when she knows she’s won. And Eric is a puny human who can’t do anything, so why worry about him? He’s probably drowned by now, anyway. But no, he’s climbed aboard one of the sunken ships that the whirlpool surfaced. And Eric is a sailor. If there’s one thing he knows, it’s how to steer a ship. And he does steerursula-s-skeleton-disney-villains-18554901-1280-720 it–straight into Ursula’s middle. Now, it’s not that terrifying, in my opinion. But it needs to be included because this is the only Disney movie (aside from The Black Cauldron) where you actually see the villain die. Everything else is shadows and allusions and such. But in this scene, you watch as the broken bowsprit pierces the sea witch’s stomach. And then the magic in her sort of electrocutes her, so you can see her skeleton, and she goes down with the ship, writhing the way that dead things with too many limbs tend to do.

 

So that’s my list. I didn’t intend for it to be ten, but we just had to include Ursula. I hope y’all enjoyed reading. Are there any really gruesome ones we’ve missed? What Disney deaths have haunted you? Please comment and share with us. :)

Story Blurb Practice

It was cool outside, and the air was thick with the spicy-sweet scent of decaying leaves. As Emily walked past the farmyard towards the school, she hummed quietly to her music. She loved the feeling in the air at the beginning of the school year. She loved school in general, though she wouldn’t admit it. She loved learning, and being able to interact with other teenagers in a structured environment. Unstructured environments tended to make her terribly uncomfortable. Emily was an odd sort, but she liked the way she was. And this new year would bring so many new and exciting things; new friends, new hobbies, new traditions. She couldn’t wait.
When she reached the school’s small campus, she quickly lost herself in the sea of chattering students, ignoring her locker and going straight for her first class. She hadn’t bothered with her locker ever since 7th grade, when she got a particularly touchy half-locker that refused to open until she threatened to turn it into scrap metal several times. It became such a hassle that she had given up before the end of the school year, and she didn’t care to risk another locker with a mind of its own, no matter what her teachers said. And carrying a messenger bag wasn’t against the school rules, anyway. It was smaller than a backpack, but still large enough to carry all of the necessary books and supplies. And Emily liked being prepared. She was not particularly nerdy, in that she was not overly concerned with getting the best grades, and sometimes even ignored lectures in favor of doodling or writing or passing notes to her friends. And she was in luck this year- one of her friends from the Anime Club shared her first period class. And she would finish the day with Stage Crew, the class she had most been looking forward to.

~*~

It was dark long before the stage crew was finished that night. At around ten, they took a break to eat some pizza. Emily stood around the pile of boxes, along with half of the class, who were listening to the janitor telling stories about the school. The janitor loved sharing ghost stories with the students on the stage crew, and the students loved listening. The crew were odd, in that way. They loved things that were a little off, whether spooky or offensive, or simply crazy. They cracked bad jokes, and several of the crew members were vulgar. But they were a welcoming sort, and they loved sharing moments with oddballs like themselves.
Emily wasn’t particularly fond of ghost stories, but she had a terribly curious nature. When the janitor mentioned an eerie feeling in the hall by the dressing rooms, her attention was caught. An eerie feeling in that hall? She and her friends ate lunch right around the corner from that hallway, just on the other side of the drinking fountain. She refused to ever sit past the fountain, because she always felt as though something were watching her. The janitor said that he once had to go clean that hall during a storm. He had felt some dark presence, but couldn’t see anything there. Emily felt herself grow pale. She had felt it, too! She decided to hang back with Melanie, who probably shouldn’t have been having pizza since she was allergic to cheese, but Melanie was never one to do as she was told when it went against what she wanted. Soon, the two girls were the only ones still there. The janitor told them one last tale, making the girls swear that they would never tell anyone else.
“There’s a reason there are so many stories about this place,” he said. Emily’s eyes widened as the janitor continued. “A few years ago, there were a couple of boys who snuck backstage while the school was closed for the night. They thought it would be fun to play with an ouija board. They opened a door.” Emily felt a chill run through her. Melanie seemed unfazed. The janitor went about his work, and the girls returned to the set. But Emily kept looking up towards the darkened catwalk, unable to relax until she was home in her bed.

~*~*~*~
It’s October, so I felt like writing a blurb from my ghost story that I haven’t written yet. I’m not big into horror, because I’m super easy to scare, which is why this has been just an idea in my head for a long time. It’s not a good rough draft, but it’s something. :) I’m trying to get ready for NaNo.

A Slightly Different View on Abortion

I don’t like talking about controversial stuff, because it usually turns into an argument and offends everyone on all sides, but I felt that this needs to be said. I’m not out to offend anyone. I just want people to think. To consider more than two options. I am incredibly pro-adoption, and have seen nothing but miracles from it.

I just came across a note from a mother to the child she’s planning to abort. It broke my heart that she says she can’t be the child’s mother now but that she will be later, when there won’t be a later. She said that she wants her child to have a happy life, to have better than she did. She said that she loves this child, but calls it “Little Thing”, instead of “my child” or “my baby” or “little one”.
A child only gets one chance on this earth. If that child is aborted, that’s it. That child will never come back to you. You may have other children, but they will never be that child. If you’re considering abortion because you can’t give your child the life you want for him or her, please consider adoption instead. Yes, you will still go through the pain of giving birth. But you will give life to a human being, and you will be giving that child a chance at life that they can’t ever have if you abort. If you want your child to have a chance at happiness, give him or her to a family who will love them and care for them and help them grow. Don’t give up on that child. Don’t ever give up.
I don’t care if you think abortion is killing a fetus, or if you think it’s fine because it’s your body. Either way, abortion is a form of abandonment. If you get caught leaving a baby in a basket on someone’s doorstep, you get in trouble. If you move and leave your child behind, you get in trouble. How is this different? You are basically denying this child a chance in the world because “now is a bad time for me” or “I’m not ready to be a mom” or even “I don’t want a baby.” That’s okay. There is a family out there who wants a baby and is unable to conceive. Instead of aborting, give another family the greatest blessing, and give your child a better chance.

I have friends who could not take care of their children, and chose to give the baby up for adoption. One of those friends got all sorts of grief from her mother, and other family members. The family even got upset with the LDS church, because my friend went through LDS Family Services to find a home for her baby. She could not afford to take care of her daughter. But she would not give up on her. She knows that her baby girl is loved, and taken care of, and can have a better life than she could give her as a single mom with no job. Some moms can do it. I’ve met some of them who did. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to do it. My friend wasn’t able to do it. So she gave her daughter a chance at a better life.

I know that there are a lot of opinions being thrown around out there. I know that there’s a lot of negativity and hate being thrown on both sides. On my mission, I saw a Christian group picketing Planned Parenthood every Saturday for months. I believe that abortion is wrong, but that is ridiculous. When I needed to get birth control, I went to Planned Parenthood, because they were the only place I could afford to go without insurance. I’ve heard people tell awful lies about how abortion won’t hurt, and how it won’t cause you any problems, and I’ve even heard people say that it’s better for your body than having a child. I’ve also seen the scientific results of what an abortion does. (It actually can cause irreparable damage to your body and prevent you from ever having a child again.) Both sides of the argument have people that make everyone look like a hateful jerk. Regardless of who’s right or wrong, that’s not the way to go about it. There’s another option! If you don’t want the baby, put it up for adoption. It doesn’t have to be either “I raise the kid I don’t want/can’t care for/am not ready for” or “I have an abortion”.
Again, if you are considering an abortion, please look into adoption. My father was adopted. Several of my friends were adopted. Families that I love dearly have adopted, whether they could have their own children or not. And I have seen it bless the lives of all involved. But it especially blesses the life of the child.