Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Miracle!

Ok, miracle is a hyper-bole, but this is pretty darn cool:

A Swedish woman's long lost wedding ring reappeared in her vegetable garden over sixteen years later!

Talk about something being hidden right under your nose. The ring was lost while the woman, Lena, had been baking up holiday treats for her family in her kitchen. The family had thought the ring was lost inside the kitchen, and searched there for years.

Unbeknownst to them, the ring had fallen out of the kitchen window and into the vegetable garden below. Despite years of planting and replanting carrots there, the ring had not been found. However, this year Lena planted the carrot seeds randomly instead of in orderly rows. In addition to delicious carrots, her ring grew out of the ground!

It was a ring she had designed herself, and even sixteen years later, is in perfect condition.

What a wonderful end-of-the-year surprise, right?

I hope you ALL have wonderful end-of-the-year or beginning-of-the-year surprises, too!

Disney's "The Snow Queen" Now Titled "Frozen"

Ugh. Yet another animated feature which may or may not have a female protagonist has gotten "Tangled" up in the "Oh my Gosh We Can't Call this what It Is without Boys Refusing to See It!" syndrome.

I AM happy to see that "The Snow Queen" even still exists. It's from a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale I'm not familiar with, so that should be interesting. Plus, it was supposed to be the next hand-drawn animated feature from Disney after "The Princess and the Frog." It was put on hold in 2002, rebooted, and put on hold again in 2010.

Unfortunately, it probably won't be hand-drawn, but now Disney's given it a release date, November 27, 2013 and a new title, so it seems to be off of hold. The bummer is that means "The Untitled Pixar Movie about Dinosaurs" which had been scheduled for that date no longer has a date of its own. Oh, well.

Anyway, what I'm annoyed about is that yet another Disney/Pixar movie has been given a really bland one-word title. I'm not saying "The Bear and the Bow" was a great title, but "Brave" isn't exactly exciting. "Tangled" replaced "Rapunzel" because I guess shaving off one syllable is important? Then again, they didn't do that for "Ratatouille" and no one even knew what that was.

Oh well. Clearly titles are not Disney/Pixar's strong suit anymore, but as long as the movies are still good, I'll watch 'em!

[via /Film]

Encouragement from JK Rowling

Letters of Note posted this lovely response from JK Rowling to a fan who wrote to the celebrated author about her own traumatic childhood and how Harry Potter has helped her overcome and grow from the experience. I wonder how JK Rowling selects which of the thousands of thousands of fan letters she must receive to reply to, and who screens the letters in the first place. She can't possibly have time to read them all, but certainly someone must have to make sure that this very special one didn't slip through the cracks.

Great work, Jo, and I hope Sacia has a wonderful life after high school!

HuffPost TV: On Writing and New Directions

Maybe the switch from TV Squad to HuffPost TV isn't a bad thing (except the name, which is infinitely lamer) if they're going to keep up with posts like this one that's all about writing outlines.

Usually TV Squad focuses more on TV recaps and reviews (which I do love, as seen by how much I repost their stuff on my blog!), but I like the idea that they're branching out to articles about writing TV. I don't follow any blogs that specifically discuss writing for TV (just writing for film), so I hope they keep this up. And writing on outlines is an auspicious start, since I think it's just about the most helpful thing to do when writing TV (which is very structured, but can feel much less structured than a film sometimes).

Of course, I also love that this post was written by a) a lady writer (one of the few! the proud!) and b) a writer for "Once Upon a Time."

It certainly would be helpful in keeping my New Year's resolutions!

Good work, HuffPost TV. Keep it up in the future!

PS. Unadulterated praise for Stephen Colbert doesn't hurt, either!

Louis C.K.: Great Comedian, Cool Dude

In this "Fallon" clip, Louis C.K. tells Jimmy what he's going to do with the $1 million he's earned from his wildly successful (and very funny) Beacon Theatre special that he's sold online.

How neat is that? Giving $250,000 to charity, and really great charities at that: Fistula Foundation, Charity: Water, Green Chimneys, Pablove Foundation, and (hooray!) Kiva.

I hadn't heard of the Fistula Foundation, Green Chimneys, or the Pablove Foundation, but I'm sure they're all going to get a big publicity boost from this.

Way to go, Louis!

[via HuffPo TV]

Best Animal Videos of 2011

Videogum has a great round-up of adorable animal videos of the last year (and they should, considering every Wednesday they feature a whole post dedicated to the best animal videos of the last week).

There's a lot more where that came from at the link. Enjoy!

Pixar: Grow Some Gals

John August pointed out this thoughtful response to Pixar's "Brave" trailer by blogger Theresa Couchman:

"It would’ve been nice if a studio that’s known for creative and original storytelling had decided to do something more interesting with their first female protagonist (in SIXTEEN YEARS) than make her…a princess. Who’s cool because she’s good at “boy” stuff...

Sadly, “girl struggles against restrictive society” is still a very relevant theme, but it would be awfully nice to see a story about a regular person who has adventures and, oh yeah, also happens to be female. And who maybe likes to read or do needlepoint instead of or in addition to kicking ass, because there is nothing wrong with those kinds of things."

I don't usually criticize Pixar (this is the lady who wrote her entire thesis on "WALL-E" and did VERY well, thank you very much!), but they (like all major media companies) do have a woman problem. Even though some of their female characters have been well-developed (Jessie in Toy Story 2, Eve in WALL-E for example), they have never featured a female protagonist, and some of their stories are so blatantly boy-centric it's just gross (Cars - WHY??).

John points out that, "Studios grumble that boys won’t go to see movies featuring female protagonists, and I think this is why: the trailer shows a frustrated daughter rather than an adventurer." 

I agree with Theresa and John. It really is past time that our female protagonists be protagonists that happen to be female, that go on adventures and journeys that use their feminine as well as masculine traits without belittling either. 


Buzzfeed put together a photo gallery of animals that should not be put on leashes. It's wacky and fun. What else are you doing today?

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt Duet

My BF's celeb crush (Zooey) and my celeb crush (JGL) singing a duet:

What an adorbsable way to start the New Year!

[via HuffPo TV]

Once Upon a Harry?

Here's a fun photo of Ginnifer Goodwin posing outside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Clearly, she would have been a perfect fit if it had been Harriet Potter.

It's really fun seeing the star of one fun series enjoying another favorite series of mine!

[via HuffPo TV]

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve, Artful readers! Do any of you have a New Year's Resolution? Do you remember yours from last year? I know I sure don't (remember, that is)! This year I'm going to: 1. Write a pilot 2. Write another feature 3. Practice a regular workout routine, for when it's too cold to bike. And that's it! Too many resolutions means I'll get overwhelmed and not finish any of them, so I think three reasonable ones is just right. If I was to add a bonus resolution, it would be: Start performing regularly again. Let us know about resolutions in the comments, and have a happy (and safe) New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: What Do You Remember?

Mental Floss has a fun little quiz to celebrate the year's end: "You Forgot Already, a 2011 Quiz." Fortunately, with the help of a certain BF, I was able to prove to Mental Floss that I forgot nothing! A perfect 14 out of 14 score.

I'll admit, though, some of those questions were tricky! The BF certainly had to help me with the LSU:Alabama game score one.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

Sorry! I totally forgot to post the trailer for the upcoming Hobbit movie! Better late than never, right?

What do you think? Do you like that it looks exactly like "Lord of the Rings"? Or do you think it should have looked different, since it's been ten years since that series? I don't mind the look, but I'm hoping the CGI on some of the backgrounds is only preliminary, since some of it looks pretty basic.

It has been forever since I read (and by I read, I mean my dad read to me) "The Hobbit." It'll be fun to watch the non-creepy-animated version!

Why IS all the Pink Stuff for Girls? We Want to Play with Superheroes, too!

This girl has the toy industry all figured out, and she's not going to take it anymore!

Good for her! Riley's a budding young feminist who will not be tricked by stupid advertising ploys. If only all kids were as sharp and critical of the toy industry and marketing in general (I know I wasn't at her age), and if only all parents were as open and considerate as her father (or whoever the voice behind the camera is). Maybe kids these days are simply more critical of advertising - that would be great!

[via Neatorama]

The Artists: A Short Animation

Here's a fun short animated film:

The Artists from Giant Creative on Vimeo.

The art is lovely, the eye animation is adorable, and I like how he got around giving the characters mouths (mouths are the worst!).

To be honest, though, I'm getting tired of these "one-upsmanship" short ideas. They're good for animation exercises, sure, but the beats are almost always the same. It's just a little tired.

Anyone have any ideas for a new stock animation plot? Or have you noticed any other short film plots that are too frequently featured/unoriginal?

[via Neatorama]

United States of Pop 2011: World Go Boom!

In line with all the other 2011 mashups and lists, here is DJ Earworm's pop song round-up, "World Go Boom."


He's got a song list (and download link) available here.

[via Neatorama]

Baby, It's Scrubs Outside

Former 'Scrubs' (and current real-life bff) duo Zach Braff and Donald Faison sing their hearts out to "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - that weird holiday song that sounds so nice as long as you don't listen to the lyrics (seriously, the lyrics are super creepy).

My favorite part is the infinity pool. I've decided recently that all L.A. is, is just one giant infinity pool.

[via HuffPo TV (formerly TV Squad)]

Dinosaur Office Romance

The sketch is pretty funny, but I LOVE the animation!

[via Mental Floss]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cinema 2011: Kees van Dijkhuizen

Want to watch something that will make you want to watch every movie of the last year? This video is it.

Kees says of his 2011 montage:

"A mix of laughs, kisses, fights, tears and everything in between. Here’s what brought us together this year. God, I love cinema. Each year I’m reminded of the sheer force a couple of frames can hold, and it’s something only found in film. It seems to just fly by, and if you don’t pay attention, you might miss it all. A gorgeous masterpiece about one family coping with the end of the world, the portrait of a young man diagnosed with cancer, the end of a ten-year adventure that reached millions, a cynical writer discovering the magic of Paris… No matter how you look at it, 2011 had something to offer for everyone.

After Cinema 2008, 2009 and 2010, I decided to take a new approach. Artists like Gen and Matt have explored new terrain of the end-of-the-year montage and the urge to keep Cinema’s identity intact became bigger than ever. After experimenting with a more personal vision last year, I decided to focus more on the year itsself rather than my vision on it. The Cinema series has a special place for me because bringing so many films together makes it so very clear why we want to spend hours and hours in a dark room filled with strangers. As always, thanks a million to my wonderful subscribers and viewers, everyone who I’ve had the joy of sharing my passion with and everyone else who’ve made my YouTube career such a wonderful success. This one’s for you."

I found it completely moving. It really does make me want to watch every film from the last year. It also reminds me that even in a year with few movies I truly loved ("Harry Potter" aside), every film has beauty and emotion and art inherent in its basic concept: capturing moving images. This is all brought to you by the creator of the [The Films Of] series.

Plus, the music and all the smooching certainly help.

[via /Film]

Taylor Swift Song for 'Hunger Games' Soundtrack

The latest 'Hunger Games' news is that Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars recorded a song for the soundtrack called "Safe and Sound." You can listen to it here.

The chorus:
"Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound."

The full lyrics are here.

It's a pretty good song for the movie - slow, simple, and sad. The lyrics reflect the mood and tone of several different scenes in the movie (i.e. inside the cave, with Rue, with Prim, the end of the games)... I wonder when it will play. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Goldy Doodles, Bat-Dog!

Here's Riley the (mini!) Goldendoodle, an excellent Daily Puppy. My favorite pose of hers is in the classic "Bat-Dog" pose, immortalized by Chance (voiced by the always-lovely Michael J. Fox) from the Disney re-make of a classic, "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" (The original being just "The Incredible Journey" in which there are no talking animals and somehow it still sustained my attention for an hour and a half - how did Disney used to do it?). Enjoy!

Also, for all of you who celebrated an early Christmas this year (for whatever reason), here is your Christmas puppy. 

Happy Holidays!

2011, Buh-Bye!

Jib-Jab released their annual Year in Review parody video today. I'm not a huge fan of theirs, but it is fun to remember all the crazy things that went down. It seems more than most this year, but that may be how I feel every year.

What do you think?

Do you think anything else exciting will happen in the next ten days that will make Jib-Jab have to re-shoot their video? Aside from world peace, Congress passing the payroll tax cut extension, or the GOP acting on the ideals they pretend to uphold, I kind of hope not. Most news is bad news.

[via Neatorama]

Scary, F**ked Up Christmas (When You're High)

Garfunkel and Oates is back with a Christmas carol (not that one).

What do you think? Not my favorite, but it definitely sounds like the pot they smoked was laced with something mean. Of course, it's not really about getting high (really?), it's about the Christmas spirit, which is, apparently, that it's going to be a "scary, f***ed up Christmas no matter what" so you might as well enjoy it! Or you might as well be high?

Ok, I think you probably shouldn't take anything from this song except a few laughs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ladyblogger/Tweeter Gets NBC Show!

Exciting news for Kelly Oxford - she's got a comedy deal over at NBC! A mother of three (though seriously? She's so flipping skinny and looks like she's 25!), she began blogging fourteen years ago and got a huge following on Twitter last year. Now she's got a deal for an NBC sitcom which, to be honest, sounds a lot more grounded than the CBS Sh*t My Dad Says deal from last year.

How good will the show be? Will it even make it to air? Who knows! She may pull a "Whitney" and be really awful, but maybe she'll pull a "Louie" and be awesome.

Either way, that's another lady comedian (from outside the Hollywood establishment, no less! Though with loads of help from the Hollywood establishment, of course) creating a TV show, so I'm happy.

[via TV Squad]

Dog VS Cat: A Trick Contest

Admittedly, some of these aren't even tricks, but the enthusiasm of the dog, the sheer (if slow) willingness of the cat, and the fantastic music make this video a great watch.

Who do you think wins? Again, the cat doing anything is pretty spectacular (and what pretty coloring!), but that crazy walking on fore-paws thing the dog does is my favorite. Plus, her name is Nana, just like one of our old goats!

[via Neatorama]

Squirrelmageddon: Coming of the Squirrelpocalypse

This guy knows what's up.

Rick Nadeau runs a taxidermy business where he poses squirrels doing what they do best (but what the "lamestream" media doesn't want you to know): carrying deadly weapons and giving a Clint Eastwood-worthy sneer.

No surprises here: business is thriving.

Keep fighting the good fight, Rick!

[via HuffPo]

Film Studies Ryan Gosling

As a Film Studies major and a heterosexual female, Film Studies Ryan Gosling is my new official favorite blog. Yes, even over Daily Puppy (ok, maybe they're tied).

Just take a look at some of these gems:

I sigh. I swoon. 

Oh, Also Puppies

To be added to my wish list:

The puppies are adorable, but the music is kind of creepy, so keep the sound off on this one.

Now let's all say it - awwwwwwww!

[via Neatorama]

Wish List!

I would be very happy if I could have one of these for Christmas:

Also the ability/skill to use it, a place to use it, and the time to use it all day long. Also, throw in a couple of dolphins, why not?

[via PopSci]

Aurora + Lightning = Woah

For those of you starting your winter breaks this week, here is a great way to zone out and get your mind off of work/holiday shopping/etc:

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael K├Ânig on Vimeo.

Plus: 100 Incredible Airplane Views.

Our planet is so wacky. I love it.

[via Mental Floss]

Ending Chimpanzee Exploitation

In a move that's smart for humans and life-saving for our closest relatives, the U.S. Institute of Medicine has released a study declaring 'most' chimpanzee research unnecessary and calls for the end of almost all government-funded research using chimpanzees. Thankfully, the National Institutes of Health is moving forward with the recommendations.

The study recommends using chimpanzees only in cases "where there is no other suitable model available, the study cannot be performed ethically on humans, and without which important advancements may be slowed or prevented." Obviously, it would be nice if we could stop testing on animals altogether, but in a world where computer models cannot accurately predict what will happen in real subjects, they are still necessary. It is not necessary, however, to test on a creature that is so very nearly human that it can understand all of the horrible things we do it.

The NIH believes these new guidelines will prevent most new studies from including chimps and should cut down studies on chimps that it currently funds by 50% or more.

This is a good day for animal rights activists and ethical scientists alike.

[via Scientific American]