Hi my name is Carla. This is my blog where the geeky and girly side of me collide. I write about the things I like and sometimes how it ties into my personal life. I hope you enjoy reading my posts.

Where Would I Be Without Music?

Make the jump to find out!

Growing Up With Action Flicks and Looking Up To Kick Ass Chicks

I list off some of my favorite female action roles and the rebirth of the Nikita series on the CW network.

Bob's Burgers and Growing Up In A Restaurant

My review of the new animated Fox series Bob's Burgers and my tale of growing up in a family restaurant.

Americas Next Top Relatable Model Ann

Meet Ann Ward winner of America's Next Top Model Cycle 15. I recap her journey on the popular TV show and talk about my personal experiences of being bullied.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Top 5 And A Half Things That Make Me Happy

I always get contemplative around this time of year.  2010 is almost at an end, and I'll be turning a year older this upcoming Thursday.

The Chinese weren't lying when they said the Year of the Tiger would be a challenging one.  You'd think being born a Tiger would bring some luck to this year.  So yes this year has been challenging and I face another challenge even today haha...oh what surprises life likes to throw at us.  The year's not over so anything can happen right?

Though times are tough, I've been able to remain strong by keeping positive and by enjoying all the lovely things that life has to offer me.  Today I'm inspired to write up my "Top 5 And A Half Things That Make Me Happy" list (in no particular order.)

Family & Friends:   From my intermediate family, to my boyfriends family and my closest friends which I consider like my family; all of you are beautiful, inside and out.  You have all been incredibly supportive throughout this year and so inspiring.  Together we've shared some scary, sad and life changing moments.  Although times were and still are difficult, I think the strength and love we have for one another holds us together to face any challenge that may come our way.  Like my Foosball nickname in college...I aim to be a brick wall of China for you in times of trouble and dismay.  Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart; love you all dearly...enough with the mushiness now :P.

My Wii family..or wee family if we're talking about height :P.
Music:  What would I do without music?  Music is therapy for me.  One day when I was sharing music with one my colleagues, they said to me "so this is why you're always so happy."  If I'm ever in a less than good mood, I can always zone out with my headphones on and enter a state of bliss.  I'm happy to share any track that I like, as you can see if you follow me on Twitter.  I do enjoy singing as well, although I'm no Christina Aguilera by any means.  It's fun to sing along to a song, even if I don't know most of the lyrics...mostly I just like making up silly, random songs, which some of you have been witness to before.  Hopefully if I can get some equipment together, I can start making some of my own music too, (although none with me singing haha) :).

Playing The Beatles: Rock Band with my dad and boyfriend :).
I still have those same headphones now.  I am 17 in this pic...the years have flown by!
Food:  So this may be a huge surprise *sarcastic*.  I've been coined as the "Food Monster" by my lovely boyfriend.  I eat...I eat a lot...I eat a lot for a person my size...feeding me is like, feeding that monster you've been hiding in your closet from your parents because they wouldn't let you have that puppy and then your parents wonder where all the meat disappeared to from the deep freeze.  I have been better with my food portions as I am more health conscious and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  But beyond the nutritional goodness and tastiness of these foods...I love that food brings people together.  Food = lots of good times and memories.

Not so health conscious in this photo as I devour my lobster steak dinner on my dad's b-day last year.
Nature and Wildlife:  Being close to nature and seeing animals in their natural habitat is an amazing experience to share with others.  It's breathtaking to walk along a trail and come across a doe and her young (*sings* doe a deer a female deer.)  I like to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city...and just listen to the birds chirp.  You can see my reaction to the beauty of nature in this video where I luckily caught 2 blue herons at a marsh while I walked the dogs with my dad.  It was kind of a double rainbow moment I would say :P.

Movies/Film:  Movies capture a lot of the other things I love, including some of the things I can't fit on this list.  Sometimes watching the right movie can make you feel happier than before you started watching it.  Sometimes a movie will leave in stitches from laughing so hard.  Sometimes the visuals may leave you captivated and inspired to do something creative or try something new.  Sometimes the soundtrack will lead you to discover wonderful new artists to add to your play list.  I think most people have a selection of movies that they hold dear to their heart for many different reasons.  My all time fave is Spirited Away, as I've mentioned many a time.  The animation, story and music is fascinating, uplifting, and all around amazing.  This is a movie I related to when I was making the transition to college and my life away from home.  I try to share this film with as many people as I can :P...and so I leave you with a trailer of Spirited Away! 

Aha some of you may have thought I was done writing, but if you were counting then you would know I have half of something left which makes me happy.  It's not really half a thing, it's definitely a huge part of everything that brings me joy.  Here's my secret to happiness...I ultimately love making others happy.  To share music to raise each others spirits, to be in the company of others when enjoying a meal, to experience rare moments of natural beauty with others, to connect and share feelings with others through film, and overall just spending time with the people I love.  These are just little things...not big huge fancy things...but like one person said, it's the little things that count.  This extends out to people I've never met.  If I can lend money to someone in need of a meal, or help a person cross the street, any positive difference I can make to another person is what brings me happiness.  I don't think there's a better feeling than making someones day a little bit brighter, even if it's as simple as saying "hello".  So to wrap up this blog entry, I hope this made your day a little bit brighter and you too are able to find the things that make you happy when you're having a bad day or year for that matter.  Thanks for reading! 

If you should feel so inspired, I'd like to see posts from others about the things that make you happy :)...because that would make me happy :). Also this list could have been 100x longer :P.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Things used to be so cheery around here.
I've been a long time fan of Harry Potter.  I first started reading the books in grade 8 and immediately fell in love.  J.K. Rowling is one spectacular author and many others would wholeheartedly agree.  It's a great feeling to share this story with people of all ages, (and I really do mean ALL ages,) and have them join in on the wonderful world and characters of Harry Potter and fall in love just as much.

  Some may think it's childish to read a series following a boy wizard, but I would have to disagree and tell those who are reluctant to pick up any of the books, based off that particular assumption, to open their minds up a little.  Yes it's a work of fiction, but I think the underlying messages, the relationships between the characters and the characters themselves are so well written that the reader can dive right in and find it believable.  The books make an easy connection to some real life tragedies, real relationships and real people.  Don't be afraid if there's some fantasy thrown into the mix, that's where the fun is, the mystery and the adventure...and not to get all psychological, but isn't that what life is about sometimes?  So take a risk, even if it's as simple as picking up a book and reading it.  Have some fun and let loose.

Put down the drugs kids and read an effin' book.
This weekend Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 released in theaters.  It was a pretty magical day altogether because it had started snowing that same night.  HP7 Part 1 made a whopping 125.1 million in weekend box office sales.  It totally smashed everything else that was in theaters, although I do agree with other web posts that it could be higher.

It's like the more money we come across, the more problems we see

The screening I went to, the room wasn't fully packed.  That may have been due to several screenings on opening night and I just happened to go to the last one within a smaller town.  I'm not complaining, as it's always a bit more comfy when the room isn't packed, but just surprised that it wasn't as busy as previous years.  Once the previews ended, the whole audience hushed each other into silence and we all felt each others excitement :).

Schoooo excited!
Synopsis: In an unexpected and tragic turn of events in the last film, the lives of young wizards and witch, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are greatly affected as well as the rest of the wizarding world.  This year the trio do not return to attend Hogwarts.  Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic are rapidly turning from bad to worse through Voldemort's control and their safety is merely existent wherever they choose to go.  Their main focus now is to end Voldemort's rise to power by hunting down and destroying the Horcruxes, which are the key to Voldemort's immortality.  With the knowledge, skills and clues left behind they band together in this seemingly dark, lost and lonely world to uncover the mystery of the Deathly Hallows and continue their fight for the greater good.

Run to the hills, run for your lives!

A story can be interpreted to film in many different ways and this is just one vision of that story crammed into a 2-3 hour timeline.  I really appreciate the hard work and effort these talented individuals put into making this story come to life.  If we were all so nit-picky about how that gets translated to film, then it really takes away that certain appreciation for the arts so many people tend to forget.  And with that said, here's my take on the film, without giving away too much. WARNING: To those who do not want an inklet of info about this latest HP film, you probably don't want to read further if that's the case.

I have to say that this film was one of the most beautifully shot.  Some of the scenes were breathtakingly gorgeous and would make for a good 2011 calendar. 

I do like myself a cool rock formation.
The film gets right to business and offers us a bit of humour for starters.  From then on it's fast paced and full of action.  Hold on to your seats for a bumpy ride!

David Yates did a tremendous job directing this film.  The feelings and tone captured throughout the film were perfect.  Yates definitely captured the darkness again.  There were a few times I jumped out my seat, held onto my seat and a couple scenes that made me feel nervous and uneasy.  If it wasn't for the PG-13 rating I'm sure this film would've included some imagery that would make it a whole heck of a lot darker.
I can do everything you can do, but better and in heels!
You might want to look up from this one Hermione!
The look of panic on Ron's face really stirs up some nerves in this chase scene.
One of my favorite scenes is with Harry and Hermione dancing in the tent together.  It was a very tender, sweet and awkward combination, that brought a warmth to the sadness and hopelessness that surrounded the two young friends.  

Insert "awww" here
The villains are bad as ever, but Bellatrix Lestrange takes the cake!

Overall the film met expectations.  The acting was great. I think Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley, really outdone himself this time round.  The costumes, make-up, visual effects, props, sets, lighting, music, sound, editing...everything was done beautifully.  I found myself entertained and never bored throughout the entire film and loved every bit of it.  I really can't wait for Part 2 which will be a bittersweet ending to the series.  At least we don't have to wait a full year for the next release!  Hope you enjoyed this little review and blog entry.  Happy Sunday everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 Wish List of a Girly Gamer Geek

All in all I wouldn't consider myself as a superficial or materialist person, but as December nears closer I can't help but think of all the wonderful and sparkly things that the humble hoarder inside of me wants.  I was talking with my sister Emily recently and I had remembered that I needed her wish list for this upcoming Christmas, which then prompted her to remind me that she needed mine as well.  Since I have this lovely blog and need to share this list with more than one person and my birthday is also coming up *wink wink* might as well utilize it and display my 2010 Birthday/Christmas wish list.  Now without further ado here is my 2010 Wish List in no particular order :).

1) Crystal Fighters - Star of Love Album is first up on the list.  This is a group that was featured on musigh.  I fell in love with this album immediately after my first listen.  I listened to this album every day at work for the last little while as it helped me keep focus as I multi-tasked up a storm.  I really want to take this album with me wherever I go as it puts me in such a great mood whenever I listen to it.  The album only seems to be sold in the UK so it can only be acquired via iTunes (lame!) and via the interwebs off the HMV site. Shipping and handling fees are a few of my favourite things (not!)  You can stream Star of Love via Sound Cloud, which I've embedded below.  Take a listen while you peruse through the rest of this wish list.  My fave song off the album is "At Home", which is very fitting of the holiday season.

2) Fable III:  And at number 2 is Fable III.  I didn't play Fable I, I'm almost done Fable II, and I'm excited to get my hands on Fable III.  I love everything about Fable II, all but one thing; is it just me or does the menu design suck major ass?  Let's hope this is something they've improved in this third installment.  I am making it a goal to finish Fable II before November is up but my time has filled up recently with birthdays, crafting, shopping and life :P.

I'll have lots of free time around Christmas to play this as I've booked off 2 weeks vacation time.
3) Murchies Libre To Go Gift Set:  This gift set is a huge tease (teas)...get it!  Okay enough with the puns, (although I do enjoy myself a good pun.)  After having discovered an awesome American tea store called Teavana, during my business trip to Las Vegas, I wanted to discover something closer to home and found Murchies, which has been around since 1894.  This great gift set features their blueberry green tea, raspberry black tea and their afternoon blend, which is a mixture of their black teas.  It also comes with this awesome tea tumbler that is double walled to keep your tea hot for hours, includes a tea strainer to keep the loose leaves out of your tea and a tight screw top for maximum leakage protection.  My best friend Laura purchased this exact tumbler, (apart from the design) over at Whole Foods a while back and I've been wanting one ever since.  This gift set is available in store at their 6 locations and via their site.

What a lovely basket

The tumbler of tea champions
4) Learning ActionScript 3.0 - A Beginners's Guide by Rich Shupe with Zevan Rosser:  I haven't touched ActionScript since high school.  Back then there was only ActionScript 2.0.  I really want to refresh my skills and make some cool interactive Flash games.  I browsed around the interwebs and saw others recommending this book for people like me.  Time to throw the AS3 n00b status out the door yo! 

A frosty cover perfect for winter
5) A Big Box of Mandarin Oranges:  I fucking love these.  I could eat them every day.  I could and probably have at some point eaten a whole box to myself.  I am the "Food Monster" for a reason.  My mom likes to put one of these in the toe of our stockings for good luck.  Not sure what the origin of that is...maybe it's just something my mom made up?  Anyways these are delicious and I would be happy if this was the only thing I got for Christmas. 

6) Canon PowerShot S95:  It's been a while since I've went around and taken some photos.  A lot of this is due to past equipment that was more frustrating than fun to use.  I was reading up about digital point and shoot cameras and the Canon PowerShot S95 called my name.  It has a line-up of sexy features that meet all my camera needs including capturing HD video.  It's currently on sale at Future Shop.

Sleek and compact design...soooo sexy!

This will be my reaction if I am so lucky to receive such a lovely gift.
7) Urban Decay Naked Palette: Every now and then I throw some make-up on my face to accentuate my features.  I have brown eyes, which can be paired with most eyeshadow colours, but I like to keep everything natural on a normal day.  Urban Decay Naked Palette has been sold out every time I venture over to Sephora and is seemingly impossible to acquire.  The 12 shades look absolutely gorgeous and right up my alley.  It also comes with Urban Decay's famous Eyeshadow Primer Potion to make eye colour more brilliant and 2 convenient eyeliners.

They say the eyes are the windows to your soul...or bigger than your stomach...or bigger than your wallet...or your wallets soul
8) Brilliance Found - Feather Wrap Ring: I love my rings dearly.  When I forget to put my rings on it makes me sad.  I currently have 2 rings I wear often.  I have one which I acquired from a kiosk during the time I attended college.  It's sterling silver and features little elephants.  I love elephants which are considered lucky in India.  To me this ring symbolizes a time of independence and strength.  I bought my other ring from the cruise ship during my big trip 2 years ago.  It's also sterling silver and is a simple band which has a nice wave shape to it.  This ring for me symbolizes my "go with the flow" attitude and the milestone of going on my first big trip.  Enough about my old rings!

This feather ring would symbolize a lot of things for me.  I love nature, always grew up around it and always loved birds.  If you didn't know already, the "dee" in my username comes from chickadee, which are very cute birds I grew up around.  My favourite type of bird are crows and there's a lot more meaning behind that, which I won't go into right now.  Brilliance Found is a store posted on Etsy.  I had heard about this store from a friend (the one that bought me the OPI nail polish.)  This store has a lot of beautiful creations posted up which you should definitely check out.  The fact this jeweler is local makes me like it even more. 

I would flap my wings if I had them if I had this ring
They also have this ring created by Foxy Originals which is a Canadian company that started off with two girls that were passionate about creating their own jewelry during their teen years.  They are now supremely successful having been featured in O Magazine and their jewelry worn by some very famous celebrities.

9) Professor Layton and the Lost Future:  And now presenting the last item of the list.  I love the Professor Layton games.  The cute art, the story, the puzzles and music....everything about of them makes me happy.  I've finished playing The Curious Village and The Diabolic Box, which leads me to want to get my hands on the third game The Lost Future.  

Need it, want it, got to have it!

I hope you enjoyed seeing and reading through my wish list and even spotted something you might like for yourself, girlfriend, friend or family member. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Today we remember the heroes that fought for our country and fought for others and the amazing people who were there to support them through those difficult times.  My mother told me that her father served in WWII.  I never got to meet him as he passed away when my mother was a young girl.  I don't know much about him other than that he was the single greatest person in my mothers young life.  His spirit alone kept her strong through most of the struggles and hardships my mother endured when she lived in China...but that's another story.

For the past 4 years, I had been so blessed to know a true blue hero that served for the Canadian Army and U.N. Force.

  My boyfriends grandfather was that hero and is one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met.  The family had nicknamed him Grumpy...because he was grumpy.

Somewhat like this...
A little bit of this...
And a whole lot of this.
It was a nickname that stuck.  He introduced himself, responded to and signed his name as Grumpy.  Grumpy no longer resides with us in the physical world, but I still like to think he's watching over us.  I love him dearly and think about him almost every day since his passing.  He had a full life and continues living on in the hearts of everyone he touched.  After he passed away, my boyfriends mother decided to Google him and found an online treasure that wasn't revealed to the family before.  Grumpy had been flown out in 1997 to be interviewed about his services in the U.N. Force and Canadian Army.  They posted a mini biography and 10 videos! I extracted the mini biography below.

"Mr. Nickerson's father was a farmer and Veteran of the First World War. Mr. Nickerson was the second youngest of 10 children. Three of his older brothers served in the Second World War. He left school at the age of 16 and enlisted in the army with the PPCLI. His parents were not happy with this. After enlisting, Mr. Nickerson went to Curry Barracks in Calgary for basic training. He did his advanced training in Curry and in Wainwright, Alberta. In November 1950, his battalion was told they were going to Korea to serve with the U.N. force. Mr. Nickerson saw action near Pusan, Seoul and at Kapyong. While in Korea, Mr. Nickerson was wounded by a land mine. He was hospitalized for nine weeks. After his recovery, he returned to the front . Mr. Nickerson's tour of duty ended late in 1951 and he returned to Canada. He remained in the Canadian Army until his retirement in 1968."

The videos posted on the Veteran's Affair Canada website reveal much more.  Grumpy shares the details of his personal experiences, thoughts and feelings which gives a slice as to what an amazing person he is. 

Although carrying the moniker of Grumpy, he really was a lot more than that to all of us.  He was a very kind, generous, and loving person with a fighting spirit and a kick-ass attitude.  Although not blood related I would consider him like my own grandpa. I didn't know what it was like to have one before, and I was so lucky to have him in my life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Love Zombies!

If you've known me for a little while, you should know that I have a love for zombies. The whole idea is terrifying to me, but that's what draws me in. My love for zombies may be confusing to some, but if you're like me you'll totally understand where I'm coming from.

One of the reasons why I started making YouTube videos was to be part of the internet collaboration led by the popular YouTube user Paperlilies aka Bryony. Paperlilies posted a video mentioning she wanted to start this internet collab for a zombie movie, which eventually adopted the title of World Wide Dead. Here's the movie poster I made for this project. It wasn't selected for print, but was definitely well received by fellow collaborators on the project forum :).

The TV network BBC Three caught word of this project and decided to document the whole process. All the episodes and full documentary can be seen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/zombies/. There was an open call for fake vlog submissions to be included in the World Wide Dead promo. I was excited about the project and wanted to take a shot at submitting an entry. When I found about this open call, it was right before I went on my first big trip. I filmed my fake vlog submission inside my cruise ship cabin, which helped me to develop a story for my character named Alice. I didn't expect to get chosen out of all the submissions, as there were a lot, so you could imagine my joy when I saw the final video that was premiering at a special event in London, England!

My all time favourite zombie movie, hands down, is 28 Days Later. In fact it's one of my all time favourite movies period. The story and characters are well written, the acting is superb, the location and film shots are beautiful, the make-up and costumes are outstanding and the music ties it all together perfectly. None of my favourite scenes are posted online, so here's a picture of the character Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, wandering the eerily, empty streets of London.
Moving on to the inspiration of my post, is the new original AMC series The Walking Dead. I first heard about this show through someones Twitter, where they posted a link to a leaked cell phone vid of the trailer. I was very excited to hear about this. The series premiere was on Hallowe'en - how fitting! I was all partied out from the Friday and Saturday leading up to Hallowe'en that I was very much excited at looking forward to a relaxing Sunday. (Side note: Not passed out drunk in the photo below. I actually didn't drink a drop of alcohol that night, I was just tuckered out :P)
I was happy to shed my Little Red Riding hood costume, jump into my PJ's, eat some leftover candy and still be able to join in the spirit of Hallowe'en with some good ol' zombies. My expectations were not met, they had been exceeded! This is probably one of the most impressive TV shows I've seen in a while. The production quality is just wild and the story has me sucked in. This is a series I hope lasts for a very long time and doesn't lose its flavour *cough* Heroes *cough*. Go watch for yourselves. The second episode airs tonight! Speaking of which I should probably get going now :P. Thanks for reading and have a good night!

Because Blogs Are So Much Easier!

Hello peoples of the internets. You may be wondering why I'm writing a blog and some of you may be wondering who I am. Some of you may know me personally in RL as that silly, Asian girl who eats a lot, some of you may know me through my YouTube channel carmahdee, and some of you may know me through the I Power community. If you happened to discover me here on this blog for the first time...hello, nice to meet you! I hope to keep you all entertained through text, as I figure this is the best way to document those things that stir around in my head, without having to be limited by 140 characters on Twitter. I could use Twitlonger or one of those many applications, but I just have too much to say. I was thinking to myself recently that I don't make as many videos on YouTube as I would like, due to busy schedules, laziness and life in general (being full of surprises that it is.) I want to make vlogs, but I have to remain realistic with what I can achieve and the time that I have.

I was trying to make a vlog yesterday, but it didn't turn out the way that I wanted it to. I don't even know at this point if I feel like making vlogs for a while. I do imagine I'll have some sort of footage from the upcoming holiday season. My middle sister Emily mentioned she'd like to make an appearance, so hopefully we'll have time to sit and goof around on cam. We used to mess around with our mom's video cam back in the day and put on all sorts of productions. Of course our camera usage was limited as my mom was afraid we'd end up breaking it. Here's a pic of myself (left) and my sister Em (right) from Christmas 2008. That's all I have to say for now. Keep it real homies! Follow this blog if you'd like to hear about my adventures and all that good stuff.