Saturday, October 6, 2018

Indulging my Two Secret Passions: Tintin and Opera

In the Tintin books by HergĂ©, the opera singer Castafiore always sings "The Jewel Song" from Faust by Charles Gounod. If fact, she never sings anything but "The Jewel Song" from Faust. In the Tintin movie, however, Castafiore does not sing her signature song; rather, she sings something from Romeo et Juliette, which is another opera by Gounod. Seven years later, I still wonder why the movie makers decided to change her quintessential song from one opera by Gounod to another. Was it laziness? Did it have to do with copyright? Did they not do their research? Could their soprano not hit the notes (doubtful, since the song from Romeo et Juliette is the higher of the two songs)?

This image does not belong to me, so don't come for me, Image Police.
I have no answers, BUT I do have a new question. Today, I was listening to a Maria Callas CD, and "Una voce poca fa" from The Barber of Seville came on. I recognized the beginning melody as the song to which Castafiore makes her entrance in the Tintin movie. In the movie, after the first thirty seconds of "Una voce poca fa," the song switches to "Je veux vivre dans ce reve" from Romeo et Juliette, and Castafiore begins to sing.
It's one thing to mix up two songs by the same composer, but The Barber of Seville isn't even BY Gounod! It's by Rossini. Furthermore, it's in an entirely different language. Why in the world would the people in charge of the music for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn splice together two songs from two different composers who wrote in two different languages and lived about thirty years apart? Why in the world didn't they have Castafiore sing "The Jewel Song" like she was supposed to? Will I ever have answers??

Check out the scene for yourself:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

And the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril Goes To...

An audience mills about in a field. They talk in low murmurs, as only confused and slightly annoyed people do. Everyone wears black tie attire and some hold glasses of champagne. Fifteen minutes ago, the audience sat inside a luxurious ballroom, watching the award for Least Competent Henchmen be presented, but they had been herded outside because of the fire alarm. Since there was no smoke or flames, they assumed some mischievous imp had pulled the alarm, though why anyone would do something so rude during an awards ceremony was beyond even the smartest attendee.

Suddenly, a bang! and everyone turns their heads. A firework explodes above the audience. Several more fireworks fly into the sky; miraculously, they spelled out several words: NOMINEES FOR THE MOST MISCHIEVOUS IMP SILMARIL.
Five more fireworks spell out the names of the nominees:
TIGGER from WINNIE THE POOH
TOAD from THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
CRISPIN BEASLEY from BEAUMONT AND BEASLEY
PETER PAN AND THE LOST BOYS from PETER PAN
TINK/KALMAR from THE WINGFEATHER SAGA

As the smoke clears, the audience claps and whistles. This was well worth standing outside for fifteen minutes. The applause slows and a small figure appears out of the smoke.
"Now that is how to make an entrance!" he says, waggling his curly head. "Don't you think, Merry?"
"Well done, Pip." A second short man appears at the first's side.
"The envelope please, Merry," says Pippin Took.
Merry hands his cousin the envelope with the winner's name in it. Pippin opens it, glances at the name, gives Merry a side glance and a wink, and turns to the audience.

"And the winner is... Peter Pan and his Lost Boys!!"
The audience explodes like a firework.
"The Silmaril please, Merry." Pippin takes it from Merry. Peter Pan flies up into the air from his seat and does a twirl. He walks on the air, preening and smiling, and Tootles, Nibs, Slightly, Curly, and the Twins walk in a line underneath their fearless leader until all of them stand in a line before Pippin. Peter holds out his hand to accept his Silmaril, but it is no longer in Pippin's hand!
"I just had it..." Pippin says. He pats his pockets and searches the ground.
"Fool of a Took..." mumbles a gray wizard in the audience. He draws his bushy eyebrows together as he turns around and storms back toward the theater.
"What do you mean by this? We are supposed to get an award," says Peter indignantly. He crosses his arms over his chest and his Lost Boys copy him.
"Let me see... let me see..." says Pippin. "Ah, there it is! What's it doing behind your ear?" Pippin pulls the Silmaril from behind Peter's ear. The Silmaril hangs on a piece of fabric, so Pippin drapes it around Peter's neck.


"Thank you very much," Peter says. "Thank you. I'd like to thank my Lost Boys. They are the most loyal friends I could ever ask for. We shall have lots of adventures and continue being imps the rest of our lives! But I'll be sure to take better care of this Silmaril than Pippin here." Everyone laughs.
The crowd parts to let Peter Pan and Pippin follow the gray wizard back to the theater. Everyone else files back into the building after them. Just as the last guest enters the theater, it begins to rain, and the last of the smoke clears.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Productivity: Healthy Habits


I'm a busy college student, so I wanted to share some productivity tricks that I've learned that have helped me a lot. I can't say that I follow these tricks all of the time, but when I do, I feel healthier, happier, and less stressed because I know that there is time in the day to get everything done. These are some healthy habits that I'm cultivating:

1. Get up at the same time every morning.
Over the summer, I had a job working Facilities at my school, and I had to give up at 5:30 every morning to get to work at 6:00. After a few weeks, my body got used to getting up at the same time every day, and I knew that I wanted to continue that into the school year. I'm not still getting up at 5:30, because that's ludicrous, but I am getting up at 7:00 most mornings. When I get up earlier, I tend to get more done in the day because I'm awake earlier and don't feel groggy from sleeping in.

2. Go to bed early.
I need eight hours of sleep in order to be a functioning member of society. It helps me to focus better in classes and while doing homework, it makes me happier, and it makes getting up in the morning a whole lot easier. Also, sleep is amazing, so, if you can, make sure you are getting enough sleep for what you need to get done in the day.

3. Eat good food.
I am on the over-21 meal plan, which is only $235 a semester, so I do a lot of cooking for myself. In the past, I have not been great at this. My roommate and I always reach a point in the semester where we give up and just get fast food several times a week. This is not only unhealthy, but it is also expensive, so I have vowed to myself to cook more this semester, and, so far, it has been working well. This is better for my body and my bank account and is definitely a healthy habit that every busy person should develop.

4. Take breaks.
I take a lot of breaks. Mostly, it's between assignments. Sometimes, it's in the middle of assignments. My breaks are never long; I keep them to 5-15 minutes. Usually, I'll do something productive during these breaks. I'll clean something or make myself food or wash dishes. It's a brain break for me, but it gets chores done, too!

Do you do any of these things? Are you going to try any of these things? Tell me about healthy habits that you have!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Silmaril Awards 2018: Voting

Thanks for all of your voting and seconding last week! There were 33 nominations! Five imps, however, were more mischievous than the rest... Here they are, the top five nominees for the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril:

1. Peter Pan and his Lost Boys from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (15 nominations).
Peter Pan is happy-go-lucky and it often seems as though he cares for no one but himself, but it is only because he has no mother to set him right. He refuses to grow up and, instead, leads his Lost Boys from adventure to adventure. From losing his shadow, to flying around Neveland, to facing crocodiles and pirates, Peter and his gang get themselves into no end of trouble. Tootles, though clumsy, is caring; Nibs is the bravest; Slightly is no good at make believe, but he's wonderful at exaggeration; Curly frequently gets himself into pickles; and the Twins are simply the Twins.

2. Crispin Beasley from Beaumont and Beasley by our very own Silmaril Award host Kyle Robert Shulz (12 nominations).
Many have questioned why Crispin—early twenties, boyish good looks, cheerful demeanor—of all people, was gifted with exceptionally strong magical powers. Those who know him best would describe him as flighty, easily distracted, and far too quick to laugh during moments of danger. He’s not really someone you’d want casting spells anywhere near you. However, in the darkest times, Crispin has been known to show surprising maturity and resourcefulness. Prophecies, paradoxes, and peril loom over him, but he remains steadfast, a dependable ally and friend even when all seems lost.

3. Tink/Kalmar from The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson (9 nominations).
Tink Igiby (whose given name is Kalmar) is an adventurous lad with a nose for danger and trouble. Not the best of qualities, but he’s never one to back down from a challenge, a mystery, or even a ghost. Such a tendency has gotten him into hard spots and has helped him escape them, too. That, and his ability to run like the wind. An excellent artist, Tink’s foremost interest in life is filling his never-satisfied stomach (though if you ask his older brother Janner, it's to cause trouble and ignore level-minded directions).

4. Toad from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (9 nominations).
While a decent animal at heart, this posh toad is far too fond of leaping into wild adventures and regaling people about them afterward--with a healthy dose of embellishment, of course. His greatest passion is for driving motorcars, even in cases when he is not the vehicle’s rightful owner. He tries to be gentlemanly and dignified, but he is a little too ridiculous and clumsy for that. Though he consistently ignores the advice of his patient and concerned friends, he is loyal to them, and does his best to overcome his selfishness for their sakes. 

5. and Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (9 nominations).
To find out more about Tigger, watch this short video:

Vote for your favorite here (or, if you've already voted on someone else's blog, comment below and tell me who you want to win!):



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Voting ends on Friday, but come back soon to find out the winner of the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Giving Myself a Medal

It's Silmaril Award season, which means that your favorite fantasy characters are in the running to win a Silmaril (see my last post for more details), but I figured I deserve an award, too. I survived the longest week of my life, so I am giving myself a trophy.


I have class from 9-2 and work from 2-4ish on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I have class from 8-12:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since I am taking mostly upper level classes, almost all of my free time is reserved for homework, but this past week, I had several meetings to attend in the afternoons. In addition to all of this, I popped in and out of the Silmaril Awards all week. There were so many indie-published characters nominated! Woohoo! Tomorrow, voting begins and lasts all week, so make sure to come back.

Somehow, I managed to survive The Busiest Week Ever with my sanity and well-being in tact. I've wanted to do a blog post on productivity for a few months now, and after this week, I thought why not make it a series? Here are the topics I'm going to talk about:

1. Healthy Habits
2. Scheduling/Organization
3. Time Management/Discipline

I'm hoping to post every weekend until the end of the month, so look forward to that! Maybe the things I have learned will help you, too, whether you are in college or not.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to vote for your favorite fantasy characters!