Fantasia was a big theme in this studio. I’m not really all that surprised – Mickey + magic = awesome!
Dear Dragon and Pegasus,
You both know by now that I’m not a religious man, but I love Easter. Both for the imagery of spring and rebirth and because of the little traditions.
When I was young my mom, and often brother, would set up a hunt. I don’t remember it all, but there were riddles and maps. It was awesome. It was so much fun.
Yesterday was Easter and we had a simple hunt, a free-for-all type of hunt. It was fun. So much fun that Dragon asked me to do another. When I said I could hide the empty eggs, she was ready to do it right away. It was seriously adorable.
There’s a special sense of wonder and joy that I get watching you both being exited and happy. It makes everything slightly better.
As you get older I’m planning on making the hunts more elaborate. I have so many ideas.
Thank you for your enthusiasm and your joy.
I love you!
Dear Dragon and Pegasus,
By the time you’re reading this you’ll know the truth about Santa. At the very least, you’ll think you do.
The winter holidays, in my opinion, are not about Santa, presents, decorations, or sappy movies. To me, they are about being with family and actually spending time with them. Hopefully we’ll be doing that a little all year round, but in December we hopefully have more time.
When I grew up, it meant that my big brother was home and I didn’t have to go to school. I was bullied my entire grade school by students and one teacher, so it was nice to be with my Mom and brother and not need to worry about it. We played video games, watched movies, cooked, and baked. My Mom struggled with depression and the holidays were a time she always seemed to be happier. I hope she was.
The magic was family, a sort of warmth that the holidays had. The holidays never lost their magic for me when I learnt about Santa; they dimmed when my Mom died, but are still magical.
Santa Claus is a myth, a lot of myths mushed together. From all over the world and influenced by many cultures (and ad campaigns). Both Santa and Christmas are tapestries woven from hundreds of myths, traditions, holidays, and ideals. From Festival of Lights, to Saturnalia, to Yule, and of course Solstice.
The spirit of these festivals is to celebrate surviving the long winters (not as long as they used to be now). The magic of them in is in giving and helping those in our communities. From donating clothing or money to giving gifts or even just giving a genuine compliment; that’s how you make the magic happen. It’s not the date, the decorations, or anything like that.
This year, Dragon, you decided to make a gift for Santa, and that’s by far the sweetest thought. You are both loving and generous and I hope that grows in you no matter what happens. I hope when you discover that Santa isn’t a person, that you discover that he’s a parable. That he is the triumph of survival, the warmth of family, and spirit of giving.
I hope that we’ve managed to spark the joy and magic in you during the holidays.
Happy holidays Dragon and Pegasus. I love you!
Today we’re talking about the 2019 movie Abominable.
This feels like a modern fairy tale. A YA adventure story set in modern day. The story is cleverly simple and avoids so many of the traditional pitfalls. No forced love story, no double crossing from one of the kids, no parents that disbelieve. It’s about helping preserve magic and finding yourself along the way.
There are a few political issues but nothing truly problematic as far as I can tell.
Each of the characters, except the goons and the snakes, have a journey and growth. It’s sort of a mini found family that only exists in adventures (mundane ones like trips etc or magical one).
I like the twist with the bad guys and goon Dave is the best.
The movie has plenty of funny lines but the ones that are most memorable are the ones tied to emotions. The little conversations and moments that show both character and move the story forward.
Visuals and Music
From the little details like the various wood grains to the big nature shots, this movie is truly stunning. Absolutely beautiful. The animation quality isn’t quite up to Disney/Pixar levels but they created some fantastic visuals.
The music is utterly fantastic. The humming and violin are suitably epic and magical.
The scene at the Leshan Giant Buddha is so beautiful and reflects Yi’s emotional journey perfectly.
The action always has a reason and everything is strung together in a surprising and coherent way. The movie made me smile and almost cry multiple times.
This is an adventure story with likeable characters that are trying to help a magical creature. It’s exactly my style of story. The few calmer moments weren’t lulls but one on one conversations that moved the emotional plot forward.
Final Score: 5 Stars*
*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.
In a realm of magic, in a time of heroes; lived a young black bear. She loved all things that bears love, berries, chasing small animals, sleeping, and of course magic. She would sneak into the village and watch the travelling magicians and wizards.
From the bushes she’d watch them as they made people disappear and then reappear, changed eggs into birds, and pulled rabbits out of hats. There were different kinds of performers, those that used genuine magic and those that used illusion and sleight of hand. The best ones combined both.
One day while she was hiding in the bushes she hear a young boy ask how the wizard had learned magic.
“Well my boy! I learnt magic from the greatest magic school in the world. The illustrious Pigmole.”
The little bear had been trying to teach herself magic and she could do some decent sleight of hand but couldn’t do any real magic, no matter how much she practiced. She was convinced it was because she needed to be taught.
Saying goodbye to her parents, she set out on a long walk to go to Pigmole School of Magic and Mystery. Along the way she met a large black crow.
“Where are you going little bear?” asked the crow.
“I’m going to become a powerful wizard,” replied the bear.
The crow laughed rudely and when it could breathe again, it said, “You’re a bear. They’ll never let you learn magic.”
“If they can teach pigs and moles, they can teach bears.” With a furrowed brow and a determined grimace, which looked pretty funny on a bear, she continued on her way.
At the gates she came up to a large stone statue. When she was within a few feet, the statue creaked and turned to face her saying, “Shoo bear. Go away.”
“I want to learn magic.”
“We don’t teach bears.” The statue refused to speak after and only blocked her way. The big crow laughed from a distance.
Instead of going home, she decided that she’d find another way to study at the school.
She suck onto the grounds and hid in the bushes, being careful not to leave any traces. She’d listen at the windows and learn everything she could. She slept in the old forest and ate what she could find there.
After several months she was starting to get the hang of basic spells. She still couldn’t pull a rabbit from a hat but she wondered if that was because she didn’t know any rabbits.
She became careless with her hiding and one day, the large black crow saw her at a window and started laughing uncontrollably. The noise attracted the groundskeeper who, seeing the bear said, “Ah ha! You’re the one who’s been trampling my garden!”
“No. I swear I’ve only been listening to lessons. Please. I want to keep learning magic.”
“If you’re not the one trampling my garden, than who is?” The large imposing man asked.
“I don’t know, but if you let me, I’ll find out and then maybe I can stay?”
The groundskeeper nodded.
It took less than a day of hiding for the bear to find out who was destroying the garden; it was a family of rabbits. They were tiny, scrawny looking rabbits. “Stop doing that!” she screamed and the rabbits all ran away.
That’s when she got an idea.
Borrowing the groundskeeper’s hat, she locked herself in a shed and started pulling the rabbits out of the hat. It worked and within moments she had a family of rabbits in the shed with her.
“A bear that does magic?” asked the littlest rabbit as its stomach growled.
“Yes and I can teach you how to do magic so you can find other food than the school’s garden.”
The bear taught the rabbits and the groundskeeper kept his word. Over the years, the old forest filled with animals who would come to learn magic from the great bear wizard.
She studied hard and despite the school never letting her in, she became its best teacher.
The moral of this story is simple: Never doubt a determined bear.
Heroes, Legends, Fairies, and other Absurdities are the expanded versions of stories I’ve told my children at night before bed. They’re short, silly, and were completely improvised in the telling.
I have talked about this LARP event before. It’s back!
Three nights, four days in full magic school – sounds amazing to me!
This event (and yes, only one this year) will be taking place in Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts on June 20-23, 2019.
This college is wheelchair accessible and will have gender-neutral bathrooms (I like that they added that).
So if you’re interested in spending a weekend this summer living in the wizarding world, let me know and I’ll help you arrange transportation.
You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. firstname.lastname@example.org