Friday, May 17, 2019

Sorting Friends into Hogwarts Houses


A few days ago I saw a meme posted celebrating Monica and Chandler's anniversary. Despite what fans want, we may never get a reunion movie/mini-series (and fans would certainly never be satisfied). So to help with the grieving process that another year has gone by without a "Friends" reunion, here are my thoughts on where the six main Friends would be sorted at Hogwarts.


Chandler Bing - Gryffindor
At a first glance, I thought Chandler was a Hufflepuff. However, when I stop to think about it, Chandler reminds me a lot of Neville. Chandler dealt with a lot growing up. His parents got divorced when he was young and his mother was never the role model he wanted. However, despite his faults and his struggles, he pushed forward. Even when it came to romantic relationships where he was scared to commit, he pushed forward, eventually marrying Monica and even being brave enough to adopt two children (even though it scared him senseless at one point or another). Because of that courage, he's a Gryffindor to me.


Monica Geller - Gryffindor
Like her husband, Monica went through a lot and it took a lot of bravery to make the changes she did in her life. She made a goal to lose significant weight (albeit not for good reasons) and she did it. She gave up happy relationships because they weren't going to make her happy long-term. And when all hope seemed lost about being a mother (the one thing she wanted most), she perservered and ended up coming home with two children instead of one. Her ferocity and her tenacity are the reasons I place her in Gryffindor.


Ross Geller - Ravenclaw
He's the stereotypical Ravenclaw, so I don't think there's much discussion on this. He's intellectual. He likes to debate. Research, knowledge, and education are always at the forefront of his mind (except maybe being on a break). Other than his on and off obsession with Rachel (and who she's dating at a given time), lectures, learning, and intellect were his top priorities. Even down to being a grammar nazi.


Rachel Green - Slytherin
She ran off from her first wedding to make a name for herself. She spent the next ten years following her professional passions. It was slow going for her, but she never gave up. Her ambition eventually led her across the ocean to work in France (until she got off the plane). We never found out what happened to her after she chose Ross over her career, but because of her passion and ambition, you can bet she got a new job in fashion and worked her way back up again. Because of that unyielding ambition, I'm putting her in Slytherin.


Joey Tribbiani - Hufflepuff
Loyalty, kindness, and true are three adjectives used to describe Hufflepuffs. Whether we're talking about Joey's instinct to talk to Ross before he crosses any (further) lines with Rachel or how he was willing to forgive Chandler after Kathy cheated with him. He's a bit of an oddball in other regards, but his friends always came first at his core. Even when it came down to dancing with Treager to help out Monica and Rachel, he went above and beyond for all of them. That's why I'm proud to have Joey in Hufflepuff with me.


Phoebe Buffay - Ravenclaw
Like Chandler, at a passing glance Phoebe would appear to be a Hufflepuff. However, she's too much like Luna Lovegood for me to pass this up. I dug a little deeper into what it means to be a Ravenclaw and I was reminded that Ravenclaw (in addition to intelligence and wit) is also known for creativity, originality, and individuality. Luna and Phoebe both exhibit those qualities in everything they do. I mean, how creative do you have to be to write "Smelly Cat"? Genius! Also between the Nargals and the guitar playing, I don't think we have a more original duo. So naturally Phoebe belongs in Ravenclaw.

Where would you sort each of the main Friends? Any other "Friends" characters you feel strongly about sorting? Mike "Crap Bag" Hannigan? The mustached Richard? Monica's mom?

Friday, May 3, 2019

Meeting Royalty of the House of Mouse at Salt Lake City Spring FanX

(Guest Post by David T)

I was a teenager when Disney’s Aladdin and Pocahontas premiered in theaters in 1992 and 1995. As an avid fan of Walt Disney feature animation at that time, I learned who animated and voiced each character, particularly the heroes and heroines (the female leads who would later comprise the Disney Princess franchise). I knew that Aladdin was voiced by Scott Weinger with Brad Kane singing for him; that Linda Larkin and Lea Salonga spoke and sang for Jasmine; and that Pocahontas’ speaking and singing vocals were provided by Irene Bedard and Judy Kuhn.
As I grew older, I wondered what the women and men were like behind their iconic characters. I imagined what it’d be like to meet them in person, but never believing I would. Well, my dreaming became a reality when I had the pleasure of meeting Pocahontas (Irene Bedard), Aladdin (Scott Weinger), and Jasmine (Linda Larkin) at Salt Lake City Spring FanX two weeks ago.


Irene Bedard (Pocahontas):
Even though I was excited to meet all three actors, I was also very nervous. So I mustered the courage and met Irene Bedard first.

Irene reminded of Pocahontas. Like the titular animated character, Miss Bedard was dignified, and as I spoke with her, I could tell she loved and was proud of her Native American heritage. At the same time, Irene was warm and engaging. She actively listened as I shared my love for Pocahontas, and laughingly smiled when I expressed how excited I was when she joined Scott and Linda for their Aladdin panel earlier in the day. I took a photo with Irene at her autograph table, and at the conclusion, she expressed the wish that I would enjoy the rest of my day.

Scott Weinger (Aladdin):
Meeting Irene Bedard gave me the confidence to meet Scott Weinger. As I was waiting to meet him, I heard Mr. Weinger say to a small group of people meeting him that he wouldn’t be on Dancing with the Stars like his Full House/Fuller House co-stars Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin. Listening to him, it hit me that I was meeting the guy who played Steve Hale (DJ Tanner Fuller’s boyfriend) and the voice of Aladdin.

My interaction with Scott was brief. I introduced myself to him, shook his hand, and got a selfie. After the picture, Scott told me that he was enjoying himself at FanX, and then we parted.


Linda Larkin (Jasmine):
After meeting Irene and Scott, I was finally ready to meet Linda Larkin, with whom I was most nervous about interacting.

Meeting Linda Larkin was a Dream Come True! She was very friendly and welcoming when I met her. When I took my picture with her, I asked Linda to hold Rajah (the Funko I brought), and she was enthusiastic to do so. I told Miss Larkin that Jasmine is one of my favorite Disney Princesses. I shared that I immediately related to the Princess of Agrabah the first time I saw her on the big screen. I also expressed to Linda how excited I was to hear her as Jasmine in the famous Disney Princess scene in Wreck-It Ralph 2. At the end, Linda shook my hand and thanked me for coming, and I expressed my pleasure at meeting her. After meeting each of them, I thanked Linda, Scott, and Irene for coming to FanX. I expressed the hope that they would have a wonderful time while they were there, which they seemed to appreciate.

In the last two years at FanX, I have met Jodi Benson (Ariel), Christopher Daniel Barnes (Prince Eric), Paige O’Hara (Belle), and now Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Scott Weinger (Aladdin), and Linda Larkin (Jasmine). Each has been a nerve wracking yet memorable experience. It has truly been a Dream Come True to meet face to face with the actors who brought to life the iconic and treasured Disney Princes and Princesses of my childhood and teenage years. I hope FanX continues to invite the voices behind the animated royalty of the House of Mouse, and I eagerly await to see who I’ll meet next.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

8 Hours at FanX

I've lost track of how many Salt Lake Comic Con/Fanx events I've been to, but this is the first time I've neglected to take time off work for the event (Disney World kind of takes priority). As a result, I had to make the most of only 8 hours at FanX this weekend. So here's what I learned from the shortened time at FanX.


Plan Ahead
FanX put its panel and celebrity schedules out in advance. So I made sure to look ahead to see which events I wanted to hit at FanX, so that I wouldn't waste any time when I was at the Salt Palace. I also over-plan, putting more panels on my plans than I actually care about attending. By the time the panel actually comes, I tend to disregard half of them.


Give Yourself Extra Time
Half the fun of FanX for me is the vendor floor and the cosplay. Despite the limited time, I left plenty of extra time to wander the vendor floor and people watch. It's always better to over-plan for the amount of time you'll need between events and have extra than to not have enough.


Take Breaks
That much walking around a concrete floor will almost inevitably hurt your feet, regardless of the type of shoes you're wearing. I felt apprehensive of taking breaks during this Con, because I knew my time would be short. However, there's no use wearing yourself out (especially if you're introverted like me), just to spend extra on the floor.


Prioritize
You're not going to get to do everything every Con. Especially if you're going just for a day or for a few hours, some things will get cut. I missed the Tom Felton panel, but made it to the Aladdin panel. I didn't make it to any photo ops (because of lack of money mostly, but time would have also been a factor), but I made it early to three panels to get a good seat each time.

What was your favorite part of FanX? Which celebrities would you like to make an appearance?

Monday, April 15, 2019

More Cosplaying on a Budget

Three years ago I did a post for cosplaying on a budget. This year, since my wife and I are saving our money for Disney World in June (#priorities), we don't have the money to spend on a new costume, so I've had to refresh my mind of how to make awesome cosplays with little/no money. And with FanX this week, I figured I'd share my thoughts.

Bright/Accurate Colors -- Getting the colors right is a big deal. I needed the right shade of red for my Mario costume (it had to match the hat) and the right color hat for Russell. This is especially true for bright colors. Dull colors like Wreck-It Ralph’s overalls weren’t a big deal for me, but having the wrong shade of red for Mario will affect whether people will recognize me or not.


Accessories/Props -- Props and accessories can make or break the costume. Even if the rest of my costume is pretty bland, if I have my Captain America shield, people can assume I’m some variation of Cap. Same thing with Perry the Platypus; even if I don’t have my hair dyed, if I have the right red shirt and Perry the Platypus, you can tell I’m supposed to be Phineas.



Use What You Have -- Some of my favorite cosplays have come straight out of my closet. My Wreck-It Ralph cosplay was 100% used materials. I had the overalls from my Mario costume and I had the shirts I needed in my closet. That costume took maybe 10 minutes prep time. Especially taking into account the above tips (colors and props) this can make cosplay nearly free.



Keep it Simple and Build Up -- Not every costume has to be elaborate. Start with what you have. A t-shirt from that outfit, a prop from Disney Store on sale, and an item from an old costume. Sometimes cosplays can start out a little bit bare-bones, but bringing them together over time can be just as rewarding as a fancy costume all put together



Any other tips you’d give for someone starting out with cosplay? What’s worked for you when you’ve been on a budget?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Unpopular Opinions: Harry Potter

Not to get political, but like most geeks I have some very strong opinions on some of my favorite fandoms. This problem would have never happened 30 years ago, but now with the internet and social media, it happens all the time. Everyone has an opinion nowadays and some of them are basically geek blasphemy.

Snape's Obsession with Lily
The first one I want to address is probably my biggest Harry Potter pet peeve. From “Always” to the doe patronus, I have issues with Snape’s obsession with Lily Evans Potter. I have no doubt that he loved her and that his childhood crush was beautiful. However, when he picked between the Death Eaters and the girl he liked. He made his choice. Later when she married James, he still carried a torch for her. Not going to assume it’d be easy for him to get over her, but he stayed in love with her for 20ish years after the fact. Sorry, but if I found out that a childhood friend of my wife was in love with her 20 years out of high school, I’d find it creepy.


Bonnie Wright wasn't a bad Ginny
I didn’t even know it until after the Harry Potter movie series was completed, but apparently there’s some hate on Bonnie Wright as Ginny. I had absolutely no problem with her as Ginny. If anything, I have problems with how she was written. I feel like Ginny had a much bigger role in the books. She was a side character in the first four books, but she was present and she had a purpose. And then with the DA in “Order of the Phoenix” and dating Harry in “Half-Blood Prince”, she was meant to have a bigger role. Instead she was shown as just another DA member until the attack on the Ministry and she was basically invisible to Harry until they started making out.


“The Cursed Child” is basically Fan Fiction
I know JK Rowling technically signed off on this play, but I take issue with it still. To be fair, I haven’t read it or seen it. To also be fair, nothing I’ve read makes me want to read or see it. Apart from the fact that it wasn’t actually done (or commissioned) by JK Rowling, the type of time travel it exhibits is in direct contradiction to what JK Rowling establishes with the Time Turner in “Prisoner of Azkaban”. That’s my big issue. Time travel (wibbly wobbly timey wimey)


Mixed-Houses are NOT a Thing
I don’t know where “Gryffinpuff” and “Slytherclaw” originated, but I have a strong distaste for them. I think they grew out of hatstalls like Harry and Hermione. However, even those difficult cases were still eventually sorted by the Sorting Hat. Let me be clear: Hogwarts has FOUR houses. A student may have traits that overlap with different houses, but the actual house they belong to is ONE SINGLE HOUSE: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. There is no Divergent house in Hogwarts.


Time Turner COULD NOT Save the Dead
How many memes take a poke at the fact that the Time Turner was used to “save” Buckbeak and Sirius, but not Harry’s parents? They bug me to no end. If you pay attention to what’s going on in “The Prisoner of Azkaban”, you can see that they’re not changing history, they’re creating it. This goes back to my big problem with “The Cursed Child”. This is book canon, but it’s more explicitly shown in the movie. If Harry and Hermione were changing history by using the Time Turner, then no one would have cast the patronus the first time around. It’s a closed loop. End of story.


Any issues you have with the Harry Potter fandom/universe? Any unpopular confessions bursting to come out?

I’m also working on some more sorting posts. Any fandoms you want sorted?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sorting Power Rangers into Hogwarts Houses

(Guest Post by David B)

Power Rangers, probably among some of the most well known super heros of all time, have been around for near 30 years. I remember rushing home from school praying the bus would drive a little bit faster so I could run in and turn on the T.V. so I could see how the Rangers would once again thwart Rita Repulsa, Lord Zed, and all their monsters! With the release of the reboot just 2 years ago brought back memories I cherish! While watching with my children the other day, something Rita mentions got me to thinking: How would the Power Rangers be sorted into Hogwarts Houses? Please note that this sorting is pure opinion and that I am sorting the Rangers of the reboot.


Zack Taylor: Ravenclaw
Somewhat of the class clown of the Rangers team, Zack frequently has smart remarks and quick wit to relieve tense moments. He takes care of his mom as best as he knows how, leaning on what he's learned to get through each day.


Kimberly Hart: Slytherin
Kim shows us that she can be kiniving and underhanded, typical traits of many well known Slytherins, in her actions toward her former fellow cheerleader and also with Trini, if only briefly, before discovering the comand center. However, she learns to value friendship and humble herself in the end for the betterment of the team so that they can all meet their potential.


Billy Cranston: Hufflepuff
Fellow Hufflepuff Billy is actually sorted by Rita, herself! She comments on his loyalty while interrogating him on the location of the Zeo Crystal. Telling her does not show weakness, but rather his faith in his team. He proves his loyalty and saves their lives, even at the cost of his own, knowing that even if it makes things more difficult, they will overcome together what they can't do alone.


Trini Kwan: Ravenclaw
Sharing a house with Zack, Trini was slightly harder to sort. She doesn't say much but what she does say is thought out and profound. She shows wisdom beyond her years and sound intelligence in her developement.


Jason Scott: Gryffindor/Slytherin
Jason was the hardest to sort of all of them. He shows ambition through his rise to leadership. His bravery shines through as he takes necessary and calculated risks to do what is important. So, much like Harry Potter, I guess it will have to come down to where Jason asks the sorting hat to put him!


Do you agree with my sorting? What other traits do you see within each Ranger and where would you sort them?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Heroes of Slytherin

A few months ago (after "Crimes of Grindewald") I did a post about the Heroes of Hufflepuff. As a proud Puff, we get disregarded by many fans (one of the reasons I love the "Fantastic Beasts" series). In that spirit of disproving stereotypes, I wanted to mention a few Slytherin heroes. Not all Slytherins are angry jerks or selfish villains. Selfishness isn't even a defining trait of Slytherin. Instead, their defining traits include ambition, resourcefulness, and cunning.

So here's to our cunning, resourceful snake friends.


Severus Snape
I have my opinions about Snape and the spotlight he gets among fans (I'll save that rant for later), but I would definitely consider him a hero. After losing the girl he loved, he secretly kept her son safe for almost 18 years. I can't exactly say that his motives for joining the Order or fighting against Voldemort were great, but he still made the choice to fight evil, even to the point of dying for it.


Regulus Black
We never actually saw Regulus in person, book or movie, but you could say he was instrumental in the downfall of Lord Voldemort. He found Slytherin's locket long before Dumbledore and Harry searched for it. Despite being a Death Eater, he tried to turn his life around and defeat Voldemort, dying in the attempt. I suppose Harry would have found the locket regardless of his efforts, but it doesn't make Regulus even less of a hero.


Horace Slughorn
He was hesitant to reveal his past with Tom Riddle, because of his shame. However, when it came down to it, he was loyal to Dumbledore and Hogwarts. Despite his pride and his Slug Club, what he cared about was his students. Unlike other Slytherins, he respected Muggle borns and Muggles. And after Voldemort attacked Hogwarts, he fought to defend the school from his former student.


Narcissa Malfoy
By no means is she a traditional hero, but in the end she put her family's safety above any other loyalties. While her family (including her husband, son, and sister) were close followers of Voldemort, her heart was with her family. When it came down to her sons safety or revealing Harry's survival, she chose to prioritize her motherhood and do what was needed to get into Hogwarts to rescue her son.


Leta Lestrange
SPOILER ALERT FOR "CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD"
She was the outcast among her peers, eventually leading her to relate to Newt Scamander and become his friend. Despite having many relatives that would follow Voldemort decades later, she sacrificed herself against another powerful evil wizard. Because of her sacrifice, Newt, Tina, and many others survived Grindewald's speech at the Lestrange Mausoleum. Perhaps she did it because of her inner pain and turmoil, but she still saved many lives by her sacrifice.

Any other Slytherin heroes that come to your mind? What stands out to you about these Slytherins?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spoiler-Free Captain Marvel Review

As always, I’ll try to keep my review spoiler-free. If you’re super sensitive to spoilers, hang up now and just go buy your ticket. And stick around for BOTH credits scenes.

Overall I loved Captain Marvel. To be fair, it takes a lot for me to hate their movies. And it takes even more for me to say they’re bad. For a stand-alone movie, it was good. Avid MCU fans with enjoy it even more.

I struggled with the opening scenes. I couldn’t tell if I was being thrown into the middle of things on purpose or if Marvel was expecting me to know more about the Kree from the comics. It’s one of those scenes that I’m sure I’ll enjoy more the second time around. If a similar scene had taken place on earth, I’d have been ok. But an alien world was kind of hard to adjust to.

I enjoyed the appearances of established MCU characters. After 5 seasons of Agents of SHIELD, I liked seeing Coulson back in the movie universe. I couldn’t get over his 90s hair. I wish he’d have been more prominent in the movie. But then again, this is the 90s. He’d probably barely joined SHIELD.

Speaking of SHIELD, I liked 1990s Fury. I kept waiting for them to explain how he lost his eye. Regardless of his eyesight, I liked this version of Fury. He was very different from how he’s appeared since his first appearance in Iron Man. Then again, that’s 10+ years of SHIELD stuff in between.

I’m excited to see how Captain Marvel plays into “Endgame”. I think I’ve heard she’s connected to the Quantum Realm in the comic. So maybe she’s connected to Ant-Man, since that’s where we last left him.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dementors and Self-Doubt

“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.”
—Remus Lupin (“The Prisoner of Azkaban”)


Depression. Self-doubt. Self-hate. Dementors.

I don’t have a citation for it (if you know it, please put it in the comments), but it’s reported that JK Rowling based the dementors off her battle with depression. An apt comparison if nothing else.

I was talking with someone about self-esteem recently. He made the interesting point about self-esteem not being all-or-nothing. He talked about having self-esteem in some aspects and self-doubt in others.

What if I could focus my thoughts on the the self-esteem I have, instead of the self-doubt? When the dementors and self-doubt overwhelm my soul and cloud out the self-esteem, what if I could focus on the happy memories?

Very likely, my good memories and my self-esteem outnumber the world’s darkness, but what’s in my focus?

Focus on that Patronus memory. Your happiest memory. For me, it’s my wedding. My wife, my family, and my best friends. All that love surrounding me. How can the dementors get me if I’m surrounded by those memories?

EXPECTO PATRONUM!