Late Cars 3 Review 

Normally I watch a trailer for a movie and know just enough to be amused by the sassy dialogue, intrigued by the dynamic camera shot, or excited by the possibility of a sequel, remake, reboot, or movie based on a good book. Normally the trailer, particularly the first trailer, doesn’t hold my interest in the way Cars 3 did.

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s met me or read any of my stuff, I love Disney. I love the movies, the parks, and own way too much Disney themed stuff to ever really justify.  Still, Cars 3 might be my favorite, and Spoilers ahead!


When I saw the trailer, two things stood out. First and foremost, the accident. For those who aren’t mega Disney nerds, a bit of background. Cars was a movie about a rookie racer named Lightning McQueen with no room for both friends and his extraordinary ego, couldn’t play well with anyone, and focused solely on being the best. The only redeeming quality he had was that he was an inadvertent goofball. Through a series of mishaps, that were largely his fault, he ends up in a small town, and sentenced to community service. In typical Disney fashion, he learns his lesson, makes lots of friends, and goes on to be a better racer and a better friend. 


What does this have to do with the wreck in the trailer? Easy. One of the secondary characters is Doc Hudson, a cranky doctor/ judge who reveals to McQueen that he was once a racer, but when he wrecked during a race, his career was abruptly ended, despite his desire to keep racing. His story is shown to have a huge impact on McQueen when his racing rival Strip “The King” Weathers crashes during his final race, McQueen, remembering Doc Hudson’s story, helps him finish the race in a show of compassion.


The first trailer showed Lightning McQueen crashing, then spinning through the air, and I immediately recalled Doc Hudson’s story. I knew then that this would be a movie about McQueen facing the same struggle that his mentor and friend faced, and I was not disappointed. 

The second thing I noticed? The graphics had a more realistic feel to them. Instead of looking like a bright, stylized world with a shiny plastic feel like the first movie:


There were scenes that looked more realistic, organic.


Not every scene was like that, and my one complaint about the movie was the somewhat jarring differences in the two animation styles. 

Still, what I loved most was the way the emotions and choices in the first movie came back in the second. Everything from a line of dialogue hurled at McQueen when Hudson vents his frustration at getting pushed out of racing. “They moved on! Down to the next rookie in line.” Is repeated teasingly by McQueen’s girlfriend “No matter what happens… I’m going to move on to the next rookie in line and forget all about you!” To the lesson “turn right to go left,” which Hudson imparts vaguely to explain how to drive quickly on a dirt road, and McQueen imparts impatiently to his inadvertent mentee Cruz Rameriz.

Which brings me to the best parallel of the whole movie. In Cars Hudson resents McQueen. He’s often harsh and nearly always inpatient. In Cars 3. McQueen has little respect or patience for Ramerez, and snaps at her often, although he eventually goes too far and afterwards he literally annoys her into accepting his apology. 

McQueen is driven through the movie by the desire to not end up like Hudson, and his focus is on winning one more race, part of a bargain with his sponsor- he wins he doesn’t get forced into retirement. But in an act of compassion, he helps his mentee take his place, to help her with her dream of racing.


Btw, loved the paint. Not McQueen’s lightning bolt, and something as loud and brazen as Ramerez herself.

He helps her, and becomes her willing mentor

Just as Hudson becomes McQueen’s formal mentor at the end of Cars.


And when McQueen retires- on his terms- he goes even further to honor Hudson.

And for those of you wondering why I wrote an entire post on Cars and Cars 3, without a mention of Cars 2, it’s because McQueens development in Cars 2 consisted of getting headlights. The main focus of the movie was the goofy misadventures of Tow Mater.

Tips and Tricks for a Disney Vacation

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I love going to the Disneyland Resort in California. The rides are for the most part not super intense. Most are dark rides that take you through different settings and scenes from Disney movies. Although some, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, were dark rides first and movies after.

There are a lot of awesome things to see and do in the parks, but here are some things I’ve learned that might help others plan for their trips.

There are lines to everything, lines to get in the park, lines to get on rides, and lines to shows.  But, the cast members (what the employees are called) are very good at keeping the lines moving, and the que areas are designed to be part of the line, with a lot of hidden details that are fun to find. Seriously, my favorites are the que lines at the Indiana Jones ride and the Jungle cruise. IMG_1336

If looking at the scenery isn’t really your thing, bring something that can keep you occupies for about 40 min of slow walking, because unless the ride stops, the line keeps moving.  I personally bring a camera, and a tablet with a few books downloaded on it.

For a full day in the parks, I carry a lot of stuff, usually in a backpack. I carry a camera, my phone, my tablet, a sweater, sun screen, and a water bottle. The backpack is not an issue, they allow them on every ride and even ‘intense’ rides have a place for a bag. However, the rides shake, the cars tilt, and the stuff can fly out. I’ve lost a few things before getting a backpack that zips closed and learned to keep everything in the sealed portion or firmly attached to the bag.

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Speaking of water bottle, here’s a trick. Bring a 32 ounce water bottle. You can request a large water at the quick service restaurants and it’s free. It will fit perfectly in a 32 ounce water bottle. It’s perfect for hot days, and way better than the drink fountains, which I would not recommend unless you like lukewarm city water.

I’ll post more tips and tricks in future posts, but what are your favorite little hacks to make theme park trips more enjoyable?

It’s a Small World 

I love Disney, and am an avid fan of Disneyland. I love the performances, particularly the Mickey’s Magical Lamp, that’s definitely my favorite, and I love the rides. That being said, I will confess, I am not an avid fan of it’s a small world. Frankly, the song is annoying. 

I would however, recommend that any family go on this ride at least once. Members of my family love this ride, and I’ll confess, there is one fun game you can play on this ride. (That won’t get you kicked out.)

The ride is a slow moving boat ride that follows a path through different rooms that have dolls representing different countries.


One several of these countries are dolls dressed like various Disney characters.


If you have kids, encourage them to try to find as many of the characters as they can on this ride. It does make the ride more fun, and a little more engaging for your group.

What’s your favorite It’s a Small World doll?

Review of The Lunar Chronicles

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I’ll admit, when I saw the cover for Cinder, I was interested.

I have always loved retellings of fairy tales. So when I saw a story about a cyborg Cinderella, it was purchased immediately. I may have even started reading it in the parking lot while sipping on an Orange Julius.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, but it’s also the first book in a series. It’s not enough for her to contend with a cruel stepmother and vicious step sister, but this retelling has an evil queen from the moon colony who wants to marry prince charming (or in this case, an emperor) and an epidemic that has spread across the  entire planet.

Each book focuses on part of the fight against the Lunar Queen, and each is a fairy tale retelling

The retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with genetically engineered human / wolf hybrids and a sassy independent heroine. Also in this story, the continuation of Cinder’s adventures.

The retelling of Rapunzel, only the princess in the tower is a lonely, slightly crazy girl locked in a satellite. The ‘prince’ is a charming, and stoutly reliant on dumb luck, criminal that Cinder has been stuck with for the entire previous book.

Fairest is a little different. the author takes a step back and writes a prequel, from the point of view of the Lunar Queen. It shows the journey she took, the choices she made, to become the cruel ruler she is in the other 4 books. My personal favorite way to enjoy this book is to listen to the audio version.

The final book is a retelling of Snow White. Winter, the titular character, is a little crazy, her guard is a lot cranky, and once again I encourage you to read the series.

Review of the Accidental Hero Series

 

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I may have mentioned before, and anyone who knows me in the real world certainly knows, I love to read. I read every day. I read non-fiction, fiction, novels, short stories, even the occasional flash fiction. But what I don’t do as often as I should is share the amazing things I read, so for today’s blog post, I give you a series review.

The Accidental Hero Series

I remember when I first saw Accidental Hero. I was on a lunch break, bored out of my mind and browsing the book section at some grocery store, so small crappy selection. I picked it up and read the back.

YA book about comic books being based on real things? Why not I’m bored.

Yeah. It was actually, pretty amazing.

Let me break it down for you and heads up there are spoilers ahead.

This book is about an orphan living a crappy, horrible life with no support system, no friends, and no one who cares about him. He goes to a fantastic place where he just wants to learn about his family. He finds friends, he loses a friend, and in the end is adored by all.

Except.

He learns he is capable of committing the worst acts of violence. He learns what will push him to that point and he is terrified that this possibility, this violence is unavoidable.

 

And enter The Secret War.

Loved by all and desperate to avoid his future he lies, he conceals and deceived. By the end he has alienated his friends, and his adoring fans have turned on him, seeing him for the deceptive teen he has become. Events are set into motion and he is captured by the enemy, primed and ready to fall to his inevitable fate.

He realizes he has a choice and his future will be what he decides.

 

So begins The End of Infinity

For the sake of ensuring you read this series. This is where I leave you. With a link and the understanding that this series is one of the most engaging fantasies I have read that truly defines the strength and determination of the human spirit. In a format children will enjoy.

The promised link

Some of the best writing tips I’ve ever received.


Everyone has their own process for creating their art, and writing especially seems to have a meriad of best practices that writers swear by. I’ve tried numerous techniques, and here are a few tricks that have helped me, and hopefully are helpful to other writers out there.

1. Notebook 

Inspiration strikes at random moments, and sometimes just saying “I’m never going to forget that!” Is a guarantee to for get your genius moment. Carry a notebook, and be ready to jot down your quick thoughts and inspirations.

2. Make a “production bible”

Okay, this came from reading a book on how to write screenplays for tv series, but I love it. Keep all your research, timelines,  character bios, and anything else you will reference for you novel in one organized, and easy to flip to location. I’m working on a science fiction novel now, and using this trick has saved a lot of time during writing.

3. Visuals.

Photographs, sketches, even stick figure drawings. Keep visuals with your descriptions and timelines. Why does it help? Two reasons. One it’s faster to look at an image than read a paragraph. And two, if you are anything like me, when describing a physical trait or characteristic, you might be tempted to use the same words repeatedly, especially if it’s what you put in your notes. When I look a a visual, I’m more inclined to think of different ways to describe the image.

4. Microsoft Word 

I’m busy.

Two words that can accurately describe nearly every aspiring writer. It is a fact that life happens and sometimes life gets in the way of writing. The single most helpful thing I have that helps me keep writing is the Microsoft Word app. The new version of Microsoft Word has a Cloud with it. Let me tell you why this is great for writing. The Cloud allows you to access files from multiple devices and if you download the Word app, you can add to those files from your phone.

Now, I’m not the most tech savvy woman out there, so I did have some snags with this originally. Fortunately, I came up with a method that works for me. When writing, I have my main file, and my mobile file. My mobile file is what I download to my phone and use on the go. Usually it gets no more than 1-10 pages long before I get home, save the file back to the Cloud and cut and paste what I’ve written into the main file. This is fantastic, because now I can write a scene while waiting for friends, or standing in line at the grocery store, or anywhere else I can find a spare minute or 10.

What writing tips have you come across that have been helpful to you? Let me know in the comments and have a fabulous day.