Theater Masks

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Avatar post

I have a new article up on Spitefulcritic.com --
http://www.spitefulcritic.com/2009/12/4-reasons-avatar-will-be-a-classic/

It's all about views, so please go click on it three, four or five times. (Plus, I think it's a pretty interesting read....)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not Much To Say

Don't really have too much to say here - just wanted to send a Happy Holidays out to anyone reading.

Hopefully there will be many more intriguing and fascinating posts coming in the New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Published again! Woohoo!

I got an article published at TheSpitefulCritic.com -- it's a light fluff piece, but it's pretty funny and I had a good time writing it. Go to the site and take a look!

It feels REALLY good knowing people are reading my writing!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Princess and the Frog (Mild Spoilers)

Went to see Princess and the Frog last night. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but it wasn't until the car ride home that I figured out what it was that didn't quite feel right to me about it.

First, the animation and music are fantastic. It was wonderful seeing Disney hand drawn 2D animation again on a big screen, and I hope this is the beginning of a new trend.

That said, I hope they fix some of their story problems. The film very obviously is meant to fit into the canon of Disney animation. The tropes we love from Disney past are all there: wishing on stars, funny sidekicks, believing in yourself, meeting your prince/princess...and the villain.

Before I start this mini-rant, I should say that the villains are usually my favorite part of Disney movies (beside the great music, of course). Ursula, Jafar, Maleficent, Cruella De Vil (best pun ever), Scar, Captain Hook, Gaston, Frollo, the queen from Snow White...a virtual gallery of villainy. What makes these villains so great? Easy question -- each villain has two things that make them stand out from each other: a very specific personality and a motivation for their evil machinations - none of the characters listed are evil just to be evil. Ursula wants what she believes is her rightful place ruling the ocean, Jafar wants money and to rule, Cruella wants those puppies, Scar wants revenge on his brother, Captain Hook is fueled by jealosy, Gaston by hubris, Frollo by unwanted feelings and paranoia, and the queen from vanity.

The problem with Dr. Facilier isn't a lack of personality - he has that in spades. The problem is he has no motivation for his evil machinations. The stakes are never REALLY laid out for us - what does he have to gain and what does he have to lose by doing the things he does? There's a vague reference to wanting to rule New Orleans, but if the "deal" he made went through, there'd be nothing left to rule anyway. There's nothing really pushing him, nothing that has him being any more than just someone striving to cause problems. And that's where the movie falls short for me.

By no means does this mean you shouldn't go see it - the movie is beautiful to look at, the songs are fantastic (and I'm not the biggest Randy Newman fan to begin with), and there is quite a bit of humor. Tiana's journey is interesting (if standard), and there's a solid message behind the whole thing.

Have you seen the movie? Comment below and tell me if I'm just off my rocker...?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An open letter to my senators

Dear Mr. Lautenberg and Mr. Menendez,
I am a 31 year old teacher who has lived in NJ my whole life. I recently got married to a woman who moved in from another state. She just graduated from college and as of yet has not found a job in her field (she's looking for something in publishing). As such, she has been covered by my health insurance since our wedding in August. As a girl, my wife had a very serious accident that caused her to lose the use of one eye, and damaged her other eye significantly (her case is so unusual she was actually written up in the New England Journal of Medicine). Because of this, she needs very special eye care. As it is right now, she's having a difficult time finding a doctor who is covered under my plan that meets her very specific needs. Now, with the state of education the way it is (which, believe me, could be a whole other email unto itself), the contract for my district is up. We've been working without a contract since the year started, and one of the key sticking points is, of course, health care. I don't know how the contract negotiations will end, but I'm terrified of the possibility of either A)losing our benefits altogether and not being able to afford health care any more, or B)losing the right to have my wife under my plan. Should either of these things happen, I don't know how we're going to pay for/cover her necessary eye appointments.

If the government had gone ahead with the public option plan, the one that THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT, this wouldn't be a worry. I would be confident that my wife will indeed be covered for the special care that she needs.

I have voted Democrat my entire adult life. It would be an understatement to say that I am extremely disappointed with the decision of Senate Democrats to take the public option off the table in negotiations for health care reform. If the American people want this, and it is something necessary to keep America up to date with the rest of the world, why in the world are we the people being denied the basic right of being taken care of?

I am a well educated, informed citizen. I cannot wrap my mind around how our government officials have played so callously with the very well being of those they have sworn to protect.

Mr. Lautenberg and Mr. Menendez, please, do all that you can to get the people the health care and the PUBLIC OPTION, that they not only want but deserve.

Thank you for your time,
Jason Flum

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Been a while

I haven't posted anything in the past week or so, mostly because I just haven't had time. I was sick for a couple of days there (took a blessedly peaceful day off yesterday to recuperate) and I was grading the last of my writing workshops for the end of the trimester (they're done! they're done! Woohoo!!!).

Writing has been scarce in the interim. I finished a short short story to use as a model example for one of my classes (though of course because it's me it's a little more than just the short story I asked of the kids). I finished a rough draft of my story for Emerald Tales' March deadline -- it's a short story for me, but it's my first attempt at a humor story for the magazine. I like it, though I think I need some tweaking.

My wizard story has been back-burnered, but I think I'm going to try working with it a little more now.

Oh, and I got a, what I guess could only be an audition, for a humor website. I wrote an article based on a list of potential ideas I pitched, and sent it in Monday. I haven't heard back yet, so we'll see what happens....