In need of some inspiration

Last week was long. I was away from Tallahassee, traveling for work and it was just the week that would not end. In the middle of it, I needed inspiration so I started thinking about my fictional spirit animals; the fictional ladies I want to be when I grow up. In times of trouble, I admit, I retreat into fiction. I’m trying very hard not to do so here. So, I’ll post this here for inspiration, for those days my news feed will make me cry and remember these ladies. They may have been afraid sometimes, discouraged, annoyed, angry but they always acted as they saw fit and made the tough decisions when they needed to. So, my fictional hall of fame:

Agent Peggy Carter

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Seriously, when I grow up, I want to be just like Peggy. She is smart, resourceful, bold and is not afraid to tell it like she sees it. But, she also knows how the game is played so she has to be extra clever to get around all the ridiculous male misogyny in her line of work. We need more Peggy Carters front and center for girls and boys to see what is possible, regardless of gender. I know the character isn’t going anywhere but I was bummed that the TV show wasn’t more successful. Her portrayer, Hayley Atwell is also #lifegoals so it was a win-win in both fiction and reality!

Leslie Knope

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Leslie Knope is a spirit animal of sorts. The woman can do things with binders and organization that made me actually get teary at times watching this show. But mainly, she is eternally optimistic and sure that she can make changes in the world around her. She refuses to get bogged down by all the naysayers and traditionalists around her but continues to work and fight for what she believes in. She even wrote a letter to America after the recent election and folks, it gave me life.

Amelia Peabody

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Amelia doesn’t have a movie or tv show yet; criminal really. I’ve always cast Kate Winslet for her in my mind though and Tom Hardy for her rapscallion husband Emerson. Amelia is a take no prisoners sort of person. She is happiest when organizing the lives of everyone around her and solving murders while she does it. She is brilliant and independent; her marriage proposal to her husband is one of the best things ever. And their marriage a thing of beauty; Amelia never loses herself in it but I think becomes the best version of herself. (which is a common thread for my fictional role models; all had strong partners for love interests. Example A: Ben shaking his head next to Leslie in the above gif).

Anne Shirley

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Anne is a bit of a mess at times but she always pulls through. Smart, funny, and still sensitive after living a life that would have hardened most. Her imagination is perhaps the thing I love most about her; the world is a stage for her mind to go wild and she’s another optimist for us to aspire to be like. The type of friend who sees the rainbows through the rain.

Belle

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My first bookworm role model; the heroine who taught me what it was to be a heroine. To fight for those you loved even against crazy odds (and to always have a book on hand). The Disney princesses can be problematic, it’s true; but Belle has a backbone on her and never lets the world and the little minds she’s surrounded by get her down. She always dreams of adventure and does not settle for less than what she wants.

sigh, for the disney channel movies of my youth

I  watched Avalon High through Netflix last night and while it was enjoyable, it just didn’t have the fun creativity of the old Disney Channel original movies. Does anyone even remember those anymore? I don’t think the Disney Channel even shows them anymore. Which is sad because they were awesome though missing dance numbers (the one thing that I do kind of like about most of the newer movies)…

From I Was a ’90s Kid

Let us start at Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. Now the two sequels, they were just sad to see, but the original Zenon rocked. Kirsten Storms as Zenon Kar, a girl living on a space station in AD 2049 who gets grounded, literally when she is sent to Earth once she breaks one too many rules on the space station. Add in one neurotic aunt, the popular guy (who is a requirement for movies like this), his delusional “girlfriend,” and their favorite rocker who is supposed to give his first concert in space just as a major crisis hits the space day. Sigh, I watched it whenever it was on and still to this day dance around like an idiot to Supernova Girl (yes, back in the days of Napster, I downloaded it and have managed to hang onto it this long.)

From Wikipedia

Next is Stepsister from Planet Weird. To this day I quote from my favorite scene in this movie so if I ever turn to you with a scared look in my eyes and say “I fear the wind,” just go with it. Stepsister from Planet Weird tells the story of Megan Larson who is thinking this year will finally be her year until Ariel Cola shows up and the whole school suddenly thinks she is the coolest kid around. And to make matters worse, Megan’s mother just fell in love with Ariel’s dad (Bonus, Ariel’s Dad is The Last Starfighter which is awesome). Oh, and the Colas also happen to be aliens…I still think Tamara Hope’s portrayal of the ethereal and bizarre Ariel is delightful, this generation is missing out on a quirky original movie.

I got this from here, I’m not sure where it is…

Sigh, Erik von Detten, you broke my heart when you played the douchy spotlight seeker in The Princess Diaries. Because, you were first one of the twins in a delightful TV version of Escape to Witch Mountain and then you were Brink, a blader who dreams of the X-Games (or the non-trademarked version of them created for this movie) but almost lost sight of his friends and family in his pursuit of them in the Disney Channel original movie appropriately named Brink! I think I may have just enjoyed this movie because of von Detten because I don’t actually remember much of the movie other than bits and pieces….Also, I kind of love that Sam Horrigan pops up in Brink! too after being in Escape to Witch Mountain also. I love when actors keep popping up in the same movies together. I am weird like that.

From Wikipedia

Last one, and this movie made me want to promptly run off to Hawaii and learn how to surf. Rip Girls was about a girl who learns about her dead mother by learning about her life in Hawaii and how much she loved to surf. Seriously, this movie was like an advertisement for Hawaii. I wanted to move to a delightful bungalow near the beach and try to learn how to surf. Luckily for all of us, I realized that was more a fun daydream than a reality I could handle. Still Rip Girls was a lot of fun, always liked it better than Johnny Tsunami (about a surfer who gets moved to the north and learns how to snowboard).

Sigh, I feel the need for a marathon of classic Disney Channel original movies. I know I am forgetting some I enjoyed but these are my favorites; original, clever movies about kids facing challenges and coming out on top. But I always liked how these kids had a great hobby or were in a unique situation. They were always people I wanted to be friends with. I miss those movies. Or maybe I’ve just outgrown what kids like these days…wow, now I feel old for admitting to that…

My current obsession with Sherlock Holmes

I have always loved a good mystery. However, lately my obsession with a certain English detective (or at least stories surrounding a Sherlock-like hero) has gone a bit off the deep end. I will be the first to admit it. Two weekends ago, I watched three different versions of Sherlock stories,  I also watched hours of a TV show with a Sherlock wannabe like it was my job (in fact, it felt like work was getting in the way of my TV watching).

My first Sherlock Holmes was a Young Sherlock Holmes. A movie made in 1985 starring Nicholas Rowe and Alan Cox as the mystery-solving duo of Holmes and Watson. I was pleasantly surprised by this film. First, that it was written by Chris Columbus and second, that it was as entertaining as it was. Sherlock Holmes tends be an insufferable character (which apparently only makes me like him more) but Rowe’s idea of a young Sherlock is someone who is still vulnerable and still learning about his talents. But he is of course still always right and never willing to explain himself to those around him.

After Young Sherlock Holmes, I watched Sherlock on PBS. And promptly feel in love with a 21st century version of the character. Benedict Cumberbatch adds a technological aspect to the famous detective of Baker Street. This is a Sherlock who texts, reads people by their cell phones and is still young enough to make mistakes. Martin Freeman as his Watson is inspired, a war veteran from Afghanistan, this Watson is smart enough to keep with with Holmes but also isn’t afraid to stick up for himself against Holmes’ erratic behaviors and expectations. I fell in love with the show during its first episode and while the second one wasn’t as strong as the first episode, I have high hopes for the last episode playing this evening.

While I have not be able to find a copy of Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes around here (and I can’t seem to find it to rent around here either), I have been enjoying Psych immensely. Shawn Spencer is a hyper-aware observer, trained by his father to notice the littlest details, but the police start to think he is too good at catching the bad guys so to save his skin, he convinces them he’s a psychic. Chaos ensures from there and he and his best friend Gus solve cases. I may have watched already into the third season two weeks into watching the show. Netflix is a single girl’s best friend. Again, whoever came up with the idea of instant streaming should be sainted or something.

So, mysteries have been ruling my viewing schedule lately. I just finished Castle, season  2 as well so I am all caught on on the fabulousness that is Richard Castle and Kate Beckett. Next up in my Netflix queue through the mail is Chuck, season 3 – more fun mysteries! I cannot wait.

It’s Funny What Sticks…

The ocean has always fascinated me. Why I have no idea. I didn’t grow up near it. I have rarely visited it. I can attribute my love of the ocean to two things. One, The Living Seas at Epcot. Once they took Horizons and the Dreamfinder from me, The Living Seas became my favorite pavilion at the park. These days I tend to drift towards The Land and my new found love of the greenhouses. My thwarted green thumb tendencies are apparently kicking in. But the Living Seas has always drawn me. I could watch the manatees and dolphins for hours. My second reason? SeaQuest DSV. It was a television show that ran for three seasons from 1993 to 1996 on NBC. Apparently these were formidable years for me because I’ve often thought of the show over the years. I remember episodes better from this show than ones I’ve watched in the past few years. The show inspired my first research paper in 6th grade (I argued why we needed to address ocean pollution on a national and international level. Don’t laugh; I got an A ;-). The show inspired my computer’s current name, Darwin. I named my computer after a dolphin. You have my permission to worry about me.

SeaQuest DSV is a show about the adventures of an advanced submarine at the beginning of the 21st century. What has struck me the most in re-watching this show is how they didn’t put it off in the distant future. They talk about 2011 or 2015 in passing as years not so far removed from where they are. The potential of the ocean was introduced to me through the first season on the show. So far it’s still my favorite. They were more interested in showing the science of the ocean that season. Once we got past that, the show got a little ridiculous; I’d be the first to admit. I mean, as I type I’m watching an episode in the middle of the second season about a giant plant eating everyone at a horticultural colony. I know what you’re thinking, hello Little Shop of Horrors and you’d right. I’m sad the further I get into watching the series, everything I loved about the first season seems to be in short supply. I liked the educational element of the first season, which makes me a nerd I know. And also an atypical viewer I imagine so I can see why they went for a more sensational, action-adventure format after the first season.

What has impressed me so far in my re-watching is how well the show has held up in terms of its special effects over the years. True, one of its producers was Spielberg so it had the money and support to look good at the time. When I mentioned to my dad how impressed I was, he told me it was because there hasn’t been science fiction shows on TV like this since then. And I have to admit he’s right. And the few that have been on TV haven’t lasted long. Take my beloved Firefly, canceled before its first season was even complete. It’s since been given cult status, which is how I found it. I didn’t even watch it when it was first on. How I missed it continues to puzzle me.

So why has there been a dearth of science fiction shows on mainstream TV? There have been shows that technically fit the mold. Lost would fit, so would V. But I am a kid who grew up on the many incarnations of Star Trek after all. And it would have been Dad that started me watching SeaQuest too. I miss those shows. They were full of impossible situations but the crazy situations and imaginative new worlds kept me coming back for more. I guess budgets don’t spring for that kind of series these days. I’ll write more once I finish the entire series but I wanted to write about why I was re-watching, reliving a little of my childhood, one episode at a time.