The Beauty of Creativity

23 11 2008

The world is full of obsessions, addictions, and devotions to movies, books, and music.

And these obsessions, these addictions, they inspire people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  They make people think and create and use their own ingenuity to further their devotion and possibly instill it in others.

The Internet offers many outlets for this creativity, such as Fan Fiction and Fan Videos. Both are extremely popular, often gathering a following of their very own. Fan Fiction offers a chance for people to write with already established characters in an already established setting – but the idea, the plot of that story, is all their own.

Fan videos are a touch more complicated, because the vidders strive to create a flawless movie worthy of theaters/t.v. – most videos are music videos, but there are several that are ‘mini-episodes’ and trailers for Fan Fiction or possible plot-lines.

One exciting phenomenon of Fan Fiction and Fan videos is ‘AU’ (alternate universes) that are ‘Crossovers’ with other fandoms. A mix and match up of two different obsessions, such as Harry Potter and Twilight.

There are hundreds of these videos and fan fictions on the Internet and they all encompass an undeniably creative flare. Some are basics, like mixing HP and Twilight, but there are others a little more inventive, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Doctor Who or Harry Potter. Many fans of anime will mix and match up Avatar: the Last Airbender and Naruto or Bleach.

TV shows aren’t immune to this phenomenon – Heroes and Smallville have been matched up, Lost has dozens of mixes, and BBC shows such as Doctor Who and Robin Hood have many crossovers.

Then there are the really creative crossovers! Such as this Joker/Hermione pairing I’ve recently discovered on YouTube.  Sweeney Todd also has a fate with the Joker and Doctor Who on YouTube.

This YouTube video by xxtingxx shows this Joker/Hermione pairing I mentioned:

This video, along with the idea of Fan Fiction and other Fan videos (crossovers or not) is amazingly creatively. When people come to love something, they make the most of what they love. They write their own plots (sometimes more interesting than the original plot) and make their own shows.

This is the Beauty of Creativity.


When You Can’t Yell Fire

17 11 2008

Feeling particularly feisty? In a mood to cause trouble? Is the desire to regress to your childhood days when you were rotten overwhelming? No need to worry, you’re not the only one suffering mischief.

People, old and young, are licking popcorn and tossing it freely at others. Adults, parents especially, have fallen whim to putting ice down their kids’ shirts – in public. And it’s always best to watch the old women who walk the malls, they’ve some quick feet good for a trip.

So, maybe the weather is the cause or maybe the upcoming holiday (Thanksgiving) is, but either way, mischief is in the air.

And this means getting creative! Yelling “Fire” is illegal nowanddays, and licking popcorn just makes you more hungry than amused. So, let’s look to other things.

Such as, when you’re making a presentation first begin by asking if everyone will pat their head, rub their stomachs  when you say ‘go’ – trust me, people will do it, thinking it’s part of your presentation. It’s extremely entertaining because they do it, expecting something, and then are forced to laugh and blush when they realize they’ve been duped.

Or, are you in a public setting? At a sporting event, concert, speech, or just waiting for the movie to start? Then look up, and stare. I mean, stare. Glancing up repeatedly is entertaining and fun, but staring has a far better result. (And if you can, get your friends or neighbors to participate).

Slowly, like a domino effect, the surrounding crowd will begin to look up themselves. Mere glances at first, then full out staring and searching. What is she looking at? They’ll wonder and question, nudging their neighbors and turning to ask others. And, just like a wildfire, the question will spread and the people will stare.

Until, eventually, everyone is staring up at the ceiling. Ah, what fun it is. It’s even better if you’re witty/clever enough to come up with something to say that’ll cause everyone to blanch or look away angry and embarrassed.

Mischief is on a high right now, but to make the most of it you have to think outside the box. Subtlety and creativity are an all time must. So, if you’re feeling particularly feisty and rotten, make your mischief worth its while.

Repeating Humanity

14 11 2008

In the latest season of Doctor Who (season 4 of 2008, with companion Donna Noble), the Doctor comes into some terrifying truths about humanity. A Time Lord from Gallifrey, the Doctor is 904 years old (according to the 2007 Christmas special) and travels around in a time machine called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space).

In season 4, episode 10, Midnight, the Doctor is confronted with a terrifying and chilling take of humanity’s mob-mentality. When traveling across a planet called Midnight, a planet made of black diamonds, the transporting bus/vessel “breaks” down.

On this supposedly uninhabitable planet, the Doctor and the other travelers (a family: mother, father, and teenage son; a professor and his assistant; a woman traveling alone; and a stewardess) find themselves suddenly threatened by an unknown entity. The birth of a curious new life on this not-so uninhabitable planet.

But stranded and stricken, the terror and anxiety of the situation escalates into the chilling bowels of humanity.

Doctor Who is a wonderful show because of the emotions and thoughts that it provokes. The show takes contemporary issues and puts them in an alien (science fiction) setting. Such an action makes the issue more stark, more pronounced, and almost more terrifying. Because it shows that these issues the world has, these questions we ask, and these worries we have are easily universal.  They can be placed in any sort of setting, situation.

An old showand an old Time Lord, the Doctor has seen a lot and lived through even more. And every episode, in its own unique way shows this.

I’m particularly fond of Midnight because of the dynamics of the dialogue and acting. Stranded on a ship, with something strange and unexplainable, people will act in any way to figure out what it is and/or get rid of it.

And while I’m sucker for a show with good dynamics, dialogue, music, and acting – like House and Lost  and West Wing (yeah, I know, old show) – there’s something different about Doctor Who. It’s hard to explain, but its there. Something unique and memorable that touches you in a way you can’t – no, you won’t – ever forget.

It’s fascinating and intriguing. And I highly recommend it for anyone and everyone.

This clip is from Midnight, it contains spoilers for the episode’s end:

When Life Dulls

10 11 2008

Life can easily become routine and seemingly mundane. Life is long, hopefully, and time is even longer, hopefully. So, what to do when life becomes dull? Well, simple, make some food.

Not just any food, now. Don’t look on the Internet for recipes or talk to your friends about dishes they last made so to mimic them. No, just make something (or, if that’s too much for an organized person, zest up an old recipe randomly and uniquely).

But to just make food or to just add ingredients to food, it’s exciting. Have some left overs from that random time you went out to eat – are they starting to look less and less appetizing? Well, throw it into a frying pan, add some stuff from around the kitchen (like eggs or lemon juice or vodka) and cook it up. Sound gross? Might very well be, but at least you tried it.

Don’t have left overs? Well, you’ve food (hopefully), so whip it up! Take some rice, throw in some cooked tomatoes, maybe some peppers, even meat (if you like), add something juice/liquid wise and you’re set.

It’s all about artistic ability and living in the moment, adding a dash of this and a pinch of that. Some dishes will be disgusting, others will be amazing, and some will be in-between. But that’s why its exciting, because it’s an adventure.

Then there’s the adventure of altering the recipe – making a cake? Throw some rum on a part of it. Always wanted to know how that tastes. Making pasta? Try basting or marinating the noodles first. Enjoy spicy foods? Try cooking red and green peppers in the pan before or during the actual cooking of the meal.

Flavor is everything, remember.

Life is always a little more exciting when food is mysterious. Not mysterious in “am-I-going-to-get-food-poisoning” sort of way but just “is-this-going-to-make-me-drool-later-when-I-think-about-it?” No way life will loose its zeal if you’ve the possibility of making your taste buds orgasm.

No Sulking is Allowed in the Airport

3 11 2008

Hugh Grant once said (in Love Actually, 2003), “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.” He sees the true love of the world when people greet each other at the airport.

While the thought is pleasant, and mildly true (I’ve never seen someone who isn’t happy to be greeted before), there are those who aren’t greeted. Those are random busybodies who meander through the groups with side glances and offhand checks of their cell-phone (that might or might not be off airplane mode).

It was this sight I was witness too when the god-like announcer voice of my state’s airport announced “No sulking is allowed in the airport, except in designated areas.” One quick glance to my father and a surprisingly loud voice of a little girl not five feet away from me confirmed I had heard that correctly. No sulking was allowed.

Nudging my father, who promptly rolled his eyes and said it was obviously a mistake, I couldn’t help but smiling. No sulking was allowed – it might’ve been a mistake or even a peculiar slur, but what’s said was said.

And a good rule it was. Airports aren’t generally happy places, except when you meet up with family or friends. They’re tedious, trying, and liable to bring on mental breakdowns. Especially when you watch the luggage trolley go around four times and your luggage is nowhere to be seen. So, to ban sulking is bound to enhance airport joy.

Well, no, not really. But its bound to be so utterly ridiculous sounding that it’ll spur tired and cranky passengers into their second winds.

Southwest Airlines used to do something similar by giving comical ‘Safety Instructions’ like, “Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seat-belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat-belt, and if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”

And, “”As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.

Last one off the plane must clean it.”

Airports are surprisingly dreary places and could use a lot more humor. They might be frustrating, and they might be tedious, but so are lines are Christmas or that randomly schedule family reunion. Those things end and so does traveling through the Airport.

So, liven up people and take the Airport with a grain of salt. And remember, no sulking!

Attacked by Frying Pans (Following Death)

27 10 2008

This is a follow-up Post of The Grim Reaper’s Neighbor.

When it came to my attention that I didn’t know what happened to my Grim Reaper neighbor, I decided to revisit my old neighborhood. If I knew I was going to be attacked by a frying pan and nearly hit by a car, I don’t know if I would’ve bothered.

As it was, it happened. And I discovered several things in doing so.

One, my neighborhood is no longer my neighborhood. The cars were all wrong, the house colors too, and front yards didn’t have the right toys left out.

Two, all my old neighbors figured I was a criminal recently released from jail, going to jail, or (in the recluse with too many cats opinion) an escaped convict. I hadn’t realized I was such a charming child.

Three, old habits die really, really hard! And one of those is apparently getting into trouble and having near-death experiences.

Having left my old neighborhood nearly 10 years ago, I knew returning that the place wouldn’t be the same. In fact, I even wagered I would feel very much the stranger. I just didn’t realize the how much everyone else would view me as a stranger and distrust me for it.

So, when I came upon a crying little girl (who’d taken a spill from her bike) I didn’t realize the trouble I was walking into. Now, I didn’t act foolishly – in fact, I went against my natural Daycare-born instinct. I didn’t pick her up, I didn’t even touch her beyond helping her to her feet and holding her hand (and even then I kept a fairly loose hold and comfortable distance).

Unfortunately, by time I had gotten the girl down street toward her house her Mom had seen me. Maybe I look like a criminal (I mean, all my neighbors seem to think I am) or maybe I’m just naturally a suspicious looking person (though I work at a Daycare, so I can’t really vouch for that) but whatever the reason, the Mom panicked.

She grabbed the frying pan (apparently the closest thing at the moment) and went about a plan of attack – from behind. Clever mother, I must say. She didn’t run out the front door, screaming with the frying pan held high. No, she went out the back door, through a neighbor’s backyard, and came up behind us.

Then she yelled and threatened the frying pan. This scared the little girl who started crying all over again. Unaware it was her yelling that scared her daughter, the Mom continued yelling at me to let her girl go (who had clamped onto my hand) before taking a swing.

Luckily, I’ve read Harry Potter and knew to duck. Luckily, I’ve worked with little kids for 3 years now and knew how to get the girl’s hand off mine. Unfortunately, the girl wailed even louder and fell down, which drove her Mother to swing again.

That attack missed too but the rebound of it caught my left hand (which was frantically waving innocence by now) and knocked it pretty damn good. Swearing, I quickly stepped away as she clearly wound up again and tripped over the curb. The concrete painfully broke my fall and it felt like damaged wrist snapped.

Because the whole world was screaming around me – the Mom, the girl, and the pain of my left hand and now my bottom – I didn’t realize my most obvious danger until the screaming brakes were so close it was all I could hear.

Oh good lord! I’m going to die because of madwoman with a frying pan and a car! It was so pathetic!

I cringed, because that ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ paralysis was all too real (and no longer funny), and waited. The tap of metal to my cheek nearly made me pass out.

I’m alive–I’m friggin’ alive! Alive!  The car had manage to stop, a bloody miracle, and the Mom had stopped yelling. In fact, I think her eyes were wider than mine. And I was quick to notice she’d dropped the frying pan so to hold her hands to her mouth. 

She started to babble when the driver got out, so I just laid down and collected my thoughts. I’d just about died, or at least gravely injured. I hadn’t done that in years, not since I was 12 and I was thrown into a metal bench.  Bloody hell.

It wasn’t until I focused on the man standing over me that I realized the sheer irony that was now my life. It was my old neighbor, the Grim Reaper. And thus I became officially creeped. I don’t see him for 10 years and when I do, he’s nearly killing me with his car – that I wouldn’t have been in front of had I not been attacked by a frying pan! Ooh, the irony.

And he remembers me. Not as a criminal, however. After a brief talk with the Mom, with my participation this time, and my promise that I wasn’t going to press charges – strangers with your kids is always horrifying – I finally talked to the Grim Reaper.

I thanked him, for everything. When I was eight, all the little times in-between, and just now. My Grandma always said to thank the Grim Reaper if he should ever spare/save your life – it was only proper, seeing how it went against his nature.

Unfortunately, he was in a hurry and stayed long enough to ensure I was OK, dismiss my thanks, and mourn over the fact that I hadn’t escaped my tendencies to get into trouble. Once he was gone, I felt dizzy. I didn’t even know his real name still! Good lord, this man was creepy but awesome.

I, however, plan to leave it at that – I thanked Death and I’m satisfied. I refuse to return to that neighborhood in case I really die this time.

The Grim Reaper’s Neighbor

20 10 2008

Growing up, I had a myriad of strange neighbors. From the angry magician with the shotgun (he’d do a magic trick for you then run you off his property),to the family that didn’t speak English (I almost blew my hand off with a firecracker at their house), and to the typical recluse with too many cats (he’d only venture out to spook children that would ding-dong-ditch him), we had everyone in our neighborhood.

We even had the Grim Reaper.

He wasn’t the recluse with too many cats and he wasn’t the angry magician, he was just my next-door neighbor. A man fun to ding-dong-ditch and the one who always gave out the best candy on Halloween. He was nice, in an aloof sort of way, but he was odd. Almost in a creepy way, when I think back on it.

 He was always there whenever something happened. My mom can tell dozens of stories of him walking me home when I was hurt or just after I’d gotten into trouble.

And that’s the creepy part about him and everything else. Whenever I was hurt, no matter where I was in the neighborhood, he was there. For no reason at all; he was just there.

It wasn’t until I was older and I had moved away that I began to refer to my neighbor as the Grim Reaper. Or rather, my friend suggested the idea when I told her about him.

See, there was this one time when I was out in the woods (behind my friend’s house) by myself. I had gone to work on our tree-house, which hadn’t taken the last thunderstorm too well. It was wet and humid and no one knew were I was exactly. Mom thought I was with my friend, and my friend thought I was with my Mom. No big deal. I was 8, I could handle myself.

That is, until one of the floorboards (which had rotted out over the years) gave out on me and I fell. Now, I’d fallen millions of times – that was part of being a kid. But I’d never fallen out of our tree-house, which was pretty high up, through a dozen little branches (which all snapped when I hit them) and landed on my shoulder (nearly my neck/head).

It hurt. I mean, it hurt bad. I couldn’t even breath it’d hurt so much. I couldn’t move either, which will freak anyone out (especially an 8-year-old kid).

This is where the story gets strange. The fall had dislocated my shoulder and my position was jamming it back up into my neck. There’s a couple of more technical things which had happened but I don’t remember them. The point is, the way I was laying and because of the state and position of my shoulder, I was strangling myself. (Or something to that effect.)

I don’t remember much, just a lot of burning pain in my throat, shoulder, and hungs. My head was wozzy too, and my nose felt like water had gone up it.

And then he, my neighbor, the Grim Reaper, was there. Out of nowhere, for no reason, he was just there. I hadn’t screamed, remember I couldn’t even breath, and no one knew I was out there…but he was there. He rolled me around, jostled my shoulder rather painfully, and then picked me up. (Obviously Death wasn’t a Medic, or he wouldn’t’ve done that).

I obviously hadn’t died but the doctor, at the ER, said I had come damn close to. But why was my neighbor there? The treehouse was in the woods behind my friends house, which is clear across the neighborhood from his house. And I wasn’t on the edge of the woods but a good ways in – you couldn’t see the house from the treehouse. I hadn’t screamed, because I couldn’t. And he’s wasn’t exactly out hiking in my friend’s backyard…

I hadn’t thought about it until my friend brought it up, but it was creepy. Who was this neighbor? Why did he find me that night? How did he find me? And why was he always there, just watching me? I can’t remember a time when I didn’t get hurt outside that he wasn’t there.

Maybe he was a guardian angel or maybe he was Death. But guardian angels aren’t supposed to be creepy and look like skeletons (he was really tall and skinny). But Death’s not supposed to protect you from dying…

Or maybe I just have nine lives. Whatever the reason, my neighbor looked like the Grim Reaper and, according to my friends (and me, I guess), acted oddly (almost like a confused Grim Reaper). Maybe he just liked me, he did always give me candy corn and none of my friend…

I don’t know though but I do know I had some odd neighbors. Everyone does, right?