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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Long Bucket List, Hello Mission Statement

Astronaut Anna Fisher, May 1985
So this entry is inspired by a few things; my last blog post, my fast approaching 25th birthday and a year full of people asking me if I'm married and/or have kids.  There's a lot of ground to cover, but I'll just lay down the foundation and hope we're on the same page all the way through! 

When some of my friends discovered I was turning 25, they made sure to tell me I have five years left before my life is over lol.  They were teasing of course, but I started to think of all the times I've heard older people who are married and/or have kids say their life was over when that happened.  There seems to be a very common theme with marriage and having a family.  Apparently it means that one has to hang up the proverbial "party hat."  I don't buy that though, I believe there's always fun to be had :).  I'm a huge optimistic including when thinking about getting older and reaching certain life milestones.  I can't say I look at being married or taking on the role of a parent to be life ending.  It's really the start of something new, and yes it will have it's own set of challenges, but that's just life!   

I'm not married and I don't have kids but it's definitely something that I want in my life eventually.  My boyfriend and I are both on the same page about marriage.  We actually feel like we're married without the rings and legal papers. 

When it comes to being asked if I'm married, there is one thing that "grinds my gears."  When people judge the strength of my relationship due to the fact that I'm not married.  How does not being married mean I'm any less committed to my boyfriend and vice versa?  Everyone decides what a relationship means to them and the meaning of marriage is different for everyone.  I have friends who are married and have kids, I have friends who are married but don't want kids, I have friends who aren't married and have kids, I have friends who are in a relationship but choose to never get married...why should we judge what works for other people?  We shouldn't act all high and mighty and let our opinions rule out they way others choose to live.  If they're happy that's all that matters!  For me, marriage won't really change a whole lot, but I feel it will be special when it happens.  It's the more fabulous version of receiving your diploma at graduation haha.  In all seriousness though I do look forward to that day and I hope that even though everyone has a different take on marriage that they will support me and my decision to get married...and as my alter ego would say, "If you don't like it then you can fuck off!"

As for children,  I freakin' love children!  I have a natural way with kids, in fact my friends daughter actually asked her if I could come over to play with her last weekend haha.  So I love kids and kids love me...why not have them right now?  As everyone should know having children is a great responsibility.  I want to ensure that if I am to have kids that I can provide the best life for them.  I really need to focus on what I'm doing now in order to do that.  I want to follow in my parents' footsteps.  I want to prepare for the future.  I intend to continue with every single ounce of opportunity they have provided me with and make the best of it!  To know where my parents come from and how they grew up really inspires me to not take life for granted.  So simply put...not right now because it's not the right time :).  And as my alter ego would say...hahaha

I was going to write up a new bucket list but then I had a bit of an epiphany.  I realized I don't need a bucket list.  Everything that I do want to accomplish is attainable and isn't outrageous (well except for that helicopter ride hahaha.)  Some of the goals on my last bucket list I had only accomplished in the last couple years.  Some of the amazing things I had accomplished over the past years weren't even on that original list.  Where I am now in my life I only see the many possibilities and ways I can meet new dreams/goals.  And if I don't do something in my life that at one point I felt I really wanted to do, it's not the end of the world either because I am ever evolving and so are my dreams and goals. 

For example, when I was a teenager I always dreamed of getting a belly button piercing or tattoo.  It was mostly influenced by my eldest sister and many of my friends since they're inked and pierced.  Although I appreciate tattoo art on other people, as I got older it wasn't important to me to get one anymore.  It's something I can happily live without.  And after learning more about belly button rings, it just seemed like a lot more work than what it was worth.  I knew too many people with belly button rings that got sick of them.  For me both of those things were a phase and I'm glad I didn't make it permanent haha.

There are a ton of things I'm proud of myself for accomplishing and there will be many more things to come.  So instead of a new bucket list I want to write a sort of personal mission statement instead...because as one genius said...it's not the things you do, it's how you do them! 

Where ever I am, whoever I'm with, whatever it'll be; I will always be me and live the life I was given, the life that I have earned and the life I will share with others.  I will lead a full and happy life no matter what challenges fall upon me.  I will expect tears, blood and sweat to be shed, but I will learn to be more resilient and I will be stronger. Even when I'm unsure of myself I will at least do myself a favor and try!  I hope to only continue to surprise myself like I have many times before.  I want to keep growing and I want to remain grounded.  I want to have a balanced life and live in harmony.  I want to share happiness, spread love and laugh everyday.  I will continue to believe in myself and stand up for myself and not tolerate mistreatment from others.

That's all I got so far, but I think it's pretty good.  So here I come 25!  Que Sera everyone and good night!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Almost Quarter of a Century (Old Bucket List)

I can't believe that I'm almost turning 25 years old...makes me remember when I was a little girl and I thought 25 was old and hip.  Right now I just feel like I have an old hip haha...okay bad joke.  I do feel like an old man sometimes...which isn't all bad.  I get to tell kids to shut the hell up and get off my lawn.  

So I have something fun to share.  I found a VERY old bucket list of mine - something I wrote maybe when I was 7 or 8.  I thought it would be fun to share with all of you to see how well I did.  Now before I post, I should tell you I was quite a sheltered child.  I didn't receive the same opportunities as other kids, 'cause we were on a tight budget and my parents were more strict back in the day.  I was also afraid to try a lot of new things since I lacked a lot of confidence.  My friends fixed that for me during my teen years though and I've grown a lot since.  Looking at this list I can tell I didn't aim for the moon, but at the time these were "big" things I wanted to accomplish.  So without further ado, here is the list.  I've marked an "X" next to the items that I've completed.

  1. Concert [x] - My first concert was Coldplay on their Viva La Vida tour with one of my bestest friends.  Saw them on their second night (June 21, 2009) in Vancouver at GM Place which is Rogers Arena now.  Here's the video compilation I made of that glorious day.  I was so excited my stomach started hurting before the concert, so much I thought I'd had to skip out on it lol.
  2. Bumper cars [x] -The first time I went on bumper cars, I got stuck at a weird angle and everyone started bumping me lol.  It was on my boyfriends 22nd birthday.
  3. Go karts [x] - My boyfriend surprised me one day by taking me out go karting 'cause he knew I always wanted to go.  It was pretty frightening since I did NOT wear the right shoes haha.  Made pedaling to the metal quite difficult when my heel kept slipping off since it wasn't a traditional shaped pedal (had a huge gap in the middle.)  That was summer of 2010 I believe.
  4. Plane [x] - Went on a plane the first time in 2008 when I went on my first big trip (3 day Princess cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles, 2 days Disneyland, short flight to Seattle, 1 day cruise back up to Vancouver.)  My ears ending up plugging really bad.  Apparently I'm quite sensitive to elevation changes and basically all the tricks to stop it from hurting don't work for me :(.
  5. River [x] - My river experience was during one camping trip with one of my best friends.  We camped one summer with her mom and older sister over at Englishmen River which is on Vancouver Island.  That was one great trip :).  That was also the first time I saw a girl in a thong bikini lol.  It was also the same river I visited with my parents and one of my best friends.  I warned my dad it would be slippery when he wanted to jump onto some rocks in the middle of the water...he didn't listen and he slipped right in...we laughed.  Don't worry it was shallow enough he wouldn't get sucked away and it was deep enough so he wouldn't break his skull.
  6. Motor boat [x] -  I went on my first motor boat in 2008 for an awesome crab cookout at Alouette Lake with a bunch of friends.  We boated out to a private shore, made a fire and boiled some yummy yummy crabs :)
  7. Bumper boats [x] - I had an awesome time on bumper boats during my friends 15th birthday.  We went over to Parksville BC for mini-golfing and bumper boats :).
  8. Helicopter [ ] - Maybe one day?  I don't really know why I put it on here 'cause there's a good chance it'll never happen but would it ever be sweet to launch from a helipad!
  9. Camping [x] - I went camping for the first time when I was 14 with 2 of my best friends and their family.  It was a pretty wicked time sleeping under the stars, watching the sunrise, going on an unsupervised water rafting trip in a very shallow river with jumping fish, dive bombing birds leading out to the ocean that had waves sucking us away from shore with a leaky raft hahaha.
  10. Limo [x] - For a first time in a limo it wasn't a very happy time.  It was for my aunt's funeral :(.
  11. Newspaper [x] - I was in the local newspaper for the first time with my sisters when I was 8 for feeding the ducks at the marsh.  Front page baby!  It was weird being the center of attention at school that morning.
  12. Thrill rides [x] - I can't remember when I went on my first thrill ride.  I'm pretty sure it was at Playland/PNE with my parents and sisters.  I do remember going on the pirate ship for the first time and screaming "get me down, get me down!"  I hated that feeling in my stomach when the boat would hang in the air for a second and swing on down.
  13. Be on TV [x] - When visiting a Richmond mall one day for a day trip with my parents, a chocolate store spotted my sisters and I and asked us to be part of their commercial.  They handed me a helium balloon and got us to prance around the store working our magic.  It aired on Fairchild TV which is a Vancouver/Toronto based Chinese TV station.  I was also on the local TV station when they were airing a parade I got to participate in.  It was fun waving to crowd.
  14. Piano [x] - I took piano lessons when I was 8, but I didn't like it and quit haha.  I mostly got frustrated 'cause my eldest sister teased me a lot. She is definitely a lot more musically talented but she was really hard on me when I started lessons.
  15. Karate [x] - I took Karate lessons when I was 11/12.  The first couple lessons were free, but to pay for them was quite expensive so I had to quit.  It wasn't all bad 'cause my dad would teach me Kung Fu.
  16. Choir [x] - I was in and out of choirs in elementary school and joined up once during highschool for a Christmas choir.  I had a blast :).
  17. Ukelele [x] - I learned ukelele from my grade 4 teacher.  I can still play "Ode to Joy"...but I'm definitely no ukewonder. I used to practice so much until my fingers blistered...I really loved ukelele at the time. 
  18. School play [x] - When I was super young I participated in cutesy roles for Charlottes Web and West Side Story - it was only the grade 6 and 7 kids that got to audition for speaking roles.  My elementary school only put on a larger production every 2 years.  My grade 7 year was one of those and I got to audition for the musical, Wizard of Oz.  I prepared and ended up memorizing all the lines given for the audition.  I ended up with the role of Chief Munchkin...I truly believe I got type cast because of my short height.  I really wanted to play the Good Witch of the North...oh well :P.  For a couple years I adopted the nickname Chinese Munchkin.
  19. Chinese dance [x] - I learned Chinese dancing when I was younger - the fans, the long ribbon, the tea cups...I couldn't continue 'cause my mom thought I was too young to keep up with the older girls when I had joined, but I learned some moves from my sisters and just from watching them practice during class.  I did get to dress up for some of the events (parades and performances) so it wasn't all bad :).
  20. Win a contest [x] - The only contest I have won, was an art contest for BC Hydro.  Every year I would make a safety poster featuring a dog mother and son teaching him what not to do around the house concerning household appliances.  Every year I entered, I won a glow in the dark Louie the light bug digital watch...holla!
  21. Straight A's [x] - The first time I got straight A's was in high school.  I mostly got honor roll...getting list of distinction happened when I had all my favourite classes in the same semester.  I think it was Art, English, Information Technology and Computer Animation...go figure :P.
  22. Swimming with your clothes on [x] - There had been plenty of times when my girlfriends and I would jump into a local dam with all of our clothes on.  Fun times!  Those are the summers I will never forget!
Out of that list I actually accomplished everything but riding in a helicopter.  That's pretty good - although I think I set my sights low at the time.  Although at the time those were pretty big things to me.  I think next post I'm going to make shiny new bucket list!  In the meantime hope you all are doing well.  Thanks for reading!  Much love to you all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where Would I Be Without Music?

I realized I haven't blogged in 4 months and it has been around 2 or 3 months since I've made any videos.  I'm slowly falling off the face of the internet.  I cheated on Twitter with Facebook as a way to reconnect with people again after abandoning Facebook for a long time.  One friend even commented saying this was the most active they've seen me on FB haha.  Then recently a friend of mine that I met through YouTube messaged me on Twitter and it led us to reconnect on Facebook.  I guess I'm not good at keeping my social media life well balanced :P.  As I said when I first began this blog..."blogging is just so much easier", so if it is, I might as well do it!

So some of you might be wondering where I've been.  I'm kind of a weird one...I tend to disappear when something is going on in my life (either bad or good), just as a way to focus on the situation, or a way to escape, 'cause we all need to get some fresh air every once in a while.  I think I'm ready for an internet comeback though starting with this post :-).  

I wanted to dedicate this post to music that I love.  It helps me get through tough times, and it makes good days even better...you can often find me in my cubicle at work or in transit bopping my head to the music or trying to sing along haha.  I love hunting for new music, and when you do find that song you thought you only heard in your dreams - it's like falling in love for the first time...at least for me :P.  I love to share music, because I hope that people feel that same magical connection with a song too and it makes them just as happy.  I used to share a lot of music on Twitter and when I was reintroducing my face on Facebook I went and decided to share music...lots of music...I had a theme everyday.  Some of my favourite themes included: Memory Lane Monday, Whistling Wednesday, and Soundtrack Saturday...I also love alliteration.  Anyways without further ado some songs that made my heart melt and were stuck on repeat.

Flight Facilities - Crave You ft. Giselle: I was actually eating a popsicle on a hot summer day coming across this track.  It's cute, fun and addicting. 

Memoryhouse - Foreground: This is actually a cover by Memoryhouse.  The original is by Grizzly Bear.  I love how hauntingly chill this sounds.  

Neon Indian - Polish Girl:  I feel like I'm on a space adventure where there are dance parties and smoke machines.  This one just brings a smile to my face.

Hammock - Tristia:  Sometimes songs are better without lyrics.  If there were words I think it would say "Things will get better.  We're in it together."  Cheesy I know...but give it a listen and see for yourself.

Goldfrapp - It's Not Over Yet:  Sad and beautiful cover by Goldfrapp.  I like all the instruments and the emotion in the vocals. 

Lana Del Rey - Video Games:  An old Hollywood star reincarnated in this 25 year old beauty by the stage name of Lana Del Rey.  Love her voice, love her songs.  How perfect this song is called video games...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Indie Game Developers Girlfriend

A friend of mine linked me an article today which mentioned my boyfriends and friends recently released iOS game Tobor.  Meat Boy dev has mixed feelings about iOS knock-offs

As you can see from the title of the article and upon reading it, you don't get strong warm and fuzzy feelings from the writer.  There is a lot of negativity being generated from this article, some of which can be seen in the comments (although not all comments are negative and/or ignorant, which is nice to see.)  I felt I needed to share my opinion and feelings on the matter, not only discussing the other side of the argument, but basically my perspective on the bigger picture.   

Just to give a bit of background to those who do not know me.  I've been playing and loving video games since the age of 4.  I attended school for Game Art and Design and have been working as a Tech Artist for nearly 5 years. So I guess I know a bit about video games and game development.

Like many other industries, the gaming industry has suffered greatly because of the recession.  This resulted to the cancellation of many game projects, massive layoffs and game studios having to shut down.  I think we can all agree the recession sucks! 

It's a tough life to pursue the dream of being a video game developer.  Definitely not an easy road by any means.  So now with the result of the recession, there's a bunch of talented people sitting around unemployed, unable to find jobs because there's not a major demand and there's heaps of people who are all racing for the next available job posting.  

Game development isn't just for those who want to make the next major console/PC title.  There's a whole other world to explore!  The world of indie developers is large and continually growing.  It's a really cool community and everyone seems to be very supportive of each other - although this type of game development isn't for everyone. 

Making games isn't just a hobby, for most it's a true passion.  It takes a lot of hard work/effort to make an indie game or any game for that matter.  You can go to school to study how to make games, but a lot of the things you do learn, are from your peers, from personal research and experience.  You most definitely have to be passionate to pursue indie game development full-time, as you don't have the luxuries that come with working for a company or even some of the assurances you get from doing freelance work.  It's tough stuff!

Back to the article.  The writers opinion, is one of which I obviously do not share but thanks for the exposure!  Any publicity is good publicity!  As you can tell I'm an optimist haha.  The game has similarities, yes but I don't see how it's a bad thing to be inspired by and develop something that people already enjoy.  Look at Tetris, Bejeweled, Pac-man, Space Invaders...all fun games which have inspired many game developers to make similar games.  Looking back, the two first games I've made were an Asteroids and a Frogger game.  In the article they even mentioned Edmund McMillen, co-creator of Super Meat Boy felt really flattered and wasn't bothered by it.  Some comments posted on the article even point out the fact that SMB is inspired by Jumper 2.  So why should anyone sweat the fact games are similar?  This is not news...most of everything is inspired by something else.

We can also look at this as a learning experience too!  There's so much that you learn from making your own game because you're doing more than one job, and especially if you're trying to make an indie game for the first time (which was my boyfriends case.)  You should really try it out if you're interested in pursuing this as a career.  It totally helps if you're planning to attend a program in college/university related to this field. 

People need to realize, indie developers not only put in a lot of time and effort into these games, but also a lot of their own money!  0.99 cents for a game isn't asking much.  Many people who have bought and played the game have really liked it.  If the game is fun to play, the only reason you should complain is because you reached a level that seems impossible to beat, but your 7 year old niece completed it with ease.  I don't expect to change anyone's mind who thought negatively about the game - I just want to spread some positivity around!   

Also I just want to say to my boyfriend...you're truly incredible!  You never gave up on your dreams and passions and that is an amazing accomplishment on its own.  You embody so many amazing qualities and inspire me everyday.  The strength, courage and compassion you carry in all aspects of your life, helps me push past my own boundaries.  I don't say it often enough but I am so proud of you!  I'm proud to say I'm an indie game developers girlfriend! (Ya it just got mushy up in here lol.)

To everyone else, please support indie developers.  Come to appreciate all the hard work that goes into making these wonderful titles!  Thank you to those of you who already do!  And most importantly stay positive and have fun!  Thanks for reading! (That's a lot of exclamation points haha.)

Also I should mention if you're interested, Tobor can be purchased here:
Tobor App Store Page

Also here are some of my favourite comments posted on the Destructoid article.  Thanks for your support!:

"Tobor is a very fun game, sure it is similar to SMB, which I also played, but super adventure island was similar to super mario brothers. Both were sweet. Why does everyone do this bulls*** argument. If the game is good, its good. Tobor is filling a void on IOS that SMB was not. So get over it friends." - nickervision

"Tobor is a great game that emulates hardcore gaming on the IOS. Although the game has been out for three days i have been addicted to the to the challenges TOBOR brings to the table.. for a game that costs 99 cents i see it as money well spent." - MrMcpwn

"Lets leave emotions out of this. Comment about s*** game play if you have played it, otherwise your opinion is null and void. What's the same and what's different?
Similarities: jumper platform, block shaped character, avoid blades
Differences: Console, motion controls instead of arrow keys/keyboard (which demands a whole different coding element.) game play is intuitive in it's own right with the motion controls. The reward system is different and bronze through diamond according to performance.
Graphics are unique and reminiscent of 50's retro design. For 99c this game is worth it and fulfills a gap in the market. Every platformer appropriates ideas. Choice and variety is what makes life interesting." - PostPaint

Here's to everyone who has to battle evil robots!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not Exactly Dinner Conversation

This is going to be more of a personal entry.  I thought I was on a roll again to vlog more on a weekly basis and then life happened all over again haha.  I came down with a bad flu, I had many projects on the go, events to attend and some to organize.  Why does life always happen all at once, when you think things are about to settle down?  Anyways I have a lot of thoughts that I felt the need to jot down and share with the world.

I've been reflecting a lot about life recently.  About where I've been and where I want to be.  I'm constantly thinking about life, but more-so than usual.  I have gotten sick more frequently this year.  This last time I started feeling sick at work I was totally unable to function properly.  I went to a drop in clinic to talk with a doctor just to see if anything else was going on other than the standard flu or cold.  She was saying that stress could be the cause of why I was getting sick so often.  I started thinking about what could be affecting me.  I realized even though I was tricking my brain into thinking optimistically my body could not be fooled.

It's really strange because I don't feel stressed, but there are definitely some events in my life that if looked upon would be deemed as stressful.  At the moment though I feel like life is like one big party.  There is a lot to be celebrating about, even though our beloved Canucks didn't win game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins.  Life has so much to offer and I'm always open to new things and meeting new people of all walks of life.

I really don't know what it is about me, but I've had the pleasure of many strangers starting conversations with me, new faces confiding in me, asking for my advice or just asking for my help in general.  I guess I have one of those friendly faces?  It's really nice that I can offer my wisdom to others or just have a simple conversation with a complete stranger.  It's a refreshing feeling to feel connected with someone you just met.

Recently I had one woman, named Debbie start a conversation with me while I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up one Friday evening.  I guess she just wanted someone to talk to as there were some personal things in her life affecting her.  At one point of the conversation she asked me if I was religious.  I told her that I wasn't and she was very surprised.  I believe her response was, "Oh really!  I'm surprised, because you're so nice."  I smiled and just said thank you.  If you know me personally you would know that I had not grown up in a religious household, although my parents are fairly traditional.  I guess that's just part of them growing up in Hong Kong, living and learning as they did and being the wonderful people they are.  Despite my parents not being religious they were able to instill good values and morals in myself and my sisters.  They both have such huge hearts, and they carry a lot of strength and wisdom.  My parents never had anything against those who were religious, it's just that they simply weren't.  I grew up embracing all cultures and religions that came my way.  I had the opportunity of visiting the Sikh temple.  I got to wear my hair up in a scarf,  sit on the plush carpet floor and listen to a Hindu reading, watch my friend sing and perform on a traditional instrument, and eat some traditional foods.  I also had visited a Native long house, where I listened to some native folk lore, watching some traditional dances, breathing in all the smoke and eating some banok!  Even today I learn about Catholicism, attending my boyfriends nephew's communion and my friends Catholic wedding ceremony, in which most of everything was spoken in Vietnamese, (good thing I got the English version first :P.)  I am friends with people of all different beliefs, cultural and religious backgrounds.  The only thing that matters to me is if you accept me as I am; to not judge me based on my own personal beliefs and most importantly have a good heart and are open minded.  I am constantly learning and always willing to learn more about everything life has to offer.

Anyways this one recent conversation reminded me of another conversation with one gentleman I had met waiting for the Skytrain.  It was one very cold winter day, before work, about 5 years ago.  I guess I had looked sad, but in reality I was just very cold and trying to keep my face warm haha.  He asked me if I was okay and it all started from there.  I learned that he had been mentally disabled from a young age due to an unfortunate primary school incident.  He had a speech impediment as he had lost full control of the muscles in his face, obviously due to the damage to his brain.  Since that incident, his life started to take many tumbles including mistreatment from his family members, and society in general.  Later on in our conversation he asked me what I believed in, and I replied that I was unsure, that I didn't want to settle on one belief because there are so many good things that this world has to offer.  He wasn't religious but he led on to tell me that he believed that even though the majority of his life had presented him more bad than good, that he strongly believed someone was looking over him and that he was very grateful for what he had.  This to me was very touching and has since affected me in a positive way.  It was funny because I had made a great connection with an unlikely individual, all in a short 5 train stops.

I think this chain of events just wanted me to remind of that moment, those feelings and thoughts.  It's really strange how things work eh?  I am grateful and appreciative of the things in my life.  I am always looking forward to see what is next.  And on that note I am going to stop writing.  I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe it will remind you of all the wonderful things in life :).

Friday, April 15, 2011

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

This post is for all the laddddiiiieees...actually you guys will like it too. I don't really know anyone who doesn't like a female heroine, unless they're an evil villain or one of their ex-boyfriends :P. I grew up on a lot of action/martial arts movies, but few of them featured kick ass females. Most of the time if there was a main female role, she played the damsel in distress, but that might be due to the fact I was a little girl and watched a lot of Disney Princess movies as well :P.

I knew from an early age that a princess didn't have to wait around for a prince to rescue her. Anyone recall "The Paper Bag Princess" by Robert Munsch? One of the greatest children's books ever written...that and "The Very Hungry Catepillar" :P.

There are a good chunk of females who have graced the silver screen or the boob tube who took on great challenges, both physical and emotional but in my case I'm not talking about figure skating scandals, cheerleading sabotage, ballet turned hip-hop dancing switcheroo type of challenges, although those can be entertaining as well :P. I'm talking about super heroines, evil villianesses and overall rough and tumble chica's. Some of my personal all time faves include (in no particular order):

Sarah Connor, the mother you don't want to ever disobey, from The Terminator films, played by Linda Hamilton

The very intelligent and brave Lieutenant Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise, played by Sigourney Weaver

The mystical, quirky, loving and fighting spirit of Leeloo from "The Fifth Element", played by Milla Jovovich

The mysterious, devious and dynamic Catwoman from DC's Batman, in which I LOVED Michelle Pfeiffers performance

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) the strong-willed teenage girl coming into adulthood, from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" TV series created by Joss Whedon

Max Guevara the genetically enhanced transgenic super-soldier, from the TV series "Dark Angel" played by Jessica Alba

(From left to right) Gabrielle (Renée O'Connor) the faithful and quirky sidekick, Callisto (Hudson Leick) the misunderstood and maniacal warrior, and Xena (Lucy Lawless) THE Warrior Princess, from "Xena: Warrior Princess" TV Series created by Sam Raimi

(In order of appearance) Kiddo Beatrix (Uma Thurman), Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) from the Kill Bill films from the mind of Quentin Tarantino. Sorry to all you Vernita Green fans, I just thought out of all the characters she was lacking something...I think the suburban life kind of killed her in the end :P.

Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley), the runway model turned bounty hunter from the movie "Domino." This character was based on a true story. How much is true, I'm not sure, but she's still one of my faves :).

(In order of appearance) The powerful and independent Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and the swift and rebellious Jiao Long (Ziyi Zhang) from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

The intuitive, highly gifted and graceful River Tam (Summer Glau) from the TV Series "Firefly" and the feature film "Serenity."

The super slick and kick ass Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) from the Matrix trilogy.

The in-your-face Landlady (Yuen Qiu) with big heart and hidden martial art skills from Stephen Chow's "Kung Fu Hustle."

The miraculous and magnificent Quorra (Olivia Wilde) from Tron Legacy.

Here is Nikita (Peta Wilson) in the TV series "La Femme Nikita"

And here is Alex (Lyndsey Fonseca) and Nikita (Maggie Q) from the 2010 version of Nikita launched on the CW network.

There are many other kick ass females I left off the list...but I could be here all night if I keep at this rate hahaha. Right now I just want to focus on Nikita. I used to watch the 90's La Femme Nikita with Peta Wilson, which was created in Canada :). My mother and sisters tuned in one night and got hooked to this character and story. In this version Nikita had been a homeless woman being wrongly accused of murdering a cop, but in fact she was being set up for reasons unknown to her at the time. Although a lifetime in jail seemed like the only thing in her future, Nikita's life was going to change drastically. She had been set up by Section One, a top-secret government agency, who proceeded to fake her suicide in jail and recruit her to be trained as a highly skilled assassin. If she failed to comply she would then be killed. The series was amazing, so I was very sad to see it off the air.

Then 2010 rolled around and I started seeing promos for a remake of Nikita, starring one my fave actresses Maggie Q. I first saw her in a Chinese produced movie that my dad had bought called Naked Weapon. Although the plot line was plenty ridiculous, it was definitely entertaining. Just as a warning, this is not a movie to watch with your parents. I wish someone had warned me as there is one graphic scene in there that is more uncomfortable than just any other regular sex scene hahaha.

So in this remake Nikita has gone rogue, from the secret government agency, called Division. She recruits and trains a young girl by the name of Alex to join in her mission to seek revenge and take down the agency which has both brought destruction to their lives.

I've been waiting for a show like this to come on the air for a good long while. I love action, but I love it even more when the characters and story are multi-dimensional. In some of the episodes they go back in time to help explain more recent events. They give the back story of the characters, so you can see how far along they've transformed and what challenges they had to endure to get where they are today. Plus all the action sequences are very well done. Maggie Q was trained under Jackie Chan and does all her own stunts in Nikita :). If you like action, and a good story, be sure to check out this show.

Here is a link to one of my favorite fight scenes (embedding was disabled, so you're going to have to make the jump to YouTube): Nikita Fight Scene

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SeaNanners For President and My 15 Seconds of YouTube Excitement

I haven't written a post in a while, but really wanted to document my experience when my "A Blurb: SeaNanners Gets Serious" vid gained a lot of attention briefly. Also just wanted to give bit of a back story of why I was inspired to make this video. If you haven't seen it, I've posted it just below :)

I guess I'll start at the very beginning. For a little while I've been trying to teach myself After Effects in my spare time. It's been a challenge with the little free time I do have juggling work, planning birthdays, planning farewells, planning baby showers, being a bridesmaid, spending time with friends and family, necessary chores and life in general haha. I'm at "that age" where life is exploding in my face. Being a young adult is sure something, but I'm making the most of it while I can before my next phase of adulthood haha. Anyways continuing on :P...

For a long time I really wanted to make a motion typography video. Then one day I noticed a new SeaNanners video in my subscriptions box. I tuned in and listened to his thoughts and just found myself really happy with the message he was conveying about life - how each of us fit in the world. I've had similar thoughts before, but it was just nice to see some positivity and wisdom being spread out into the world. I don't think enough people on YouTube really do this, especially people who have huge fan bases that can take advantage of it and do some good with it. Unfortunately this particular video has been set to private and can no longer be viewed. This was most likely done as he is a YouTube partner and he used copy-written music in the background which conflicts with the partnership program rules.

Now some of you may not be familiar with SeaNanners. SeaNanners is Adam Montoya who started posting Call of Duty gameplay/commentary on YouTube and over a period of time he started gaining a huge audience because he's exceptionally good at the game and has a great attitude and outlook on life. I came across one of his commentaries on the "Most Viewed" section called Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro...I think. I found it to be very enjoyable to listen to his random thoughts about women and cooking - I guess he was asking his audience what he should make a video about, if they would want more specific CoD tips and tricks or general life chats and updates. At this point I think he was starting to open up more on YouTube and started connecting with his viewers which drew me in. I'm not huge on FPS's, not that I wouldn't play if I had the opportunity but I'm not really one to sit and watch CoD tips and tricks since I don't play that particular game. My all time fav FPS though has to be GoldenEye 007 for N64...old school I know but that game has some very fond memories for me...like feeling proud after the moment where I played through the train level without any assistance from my older sisters, making up the code phrase "do you want to kill me?" to start up a multiplayer match with my sisters...oh my dad returning the game the first time claiming the game was too violent but in reality my mom wanted him to return it since it was an impulse buy, and we ended up repurchasing it at a later date :P. ANYWAYS getting caught up in memories...moving along.

This is the part where I sound like a stalker but this story has been shared before and I find it very inspiring so don't judge me! hahaha. Adam's whole YouTube thing was purely a hobby and still is. His original career path was more focused on being a filmmaker of sorts. He entered a lot of film competitions and I believe did a lot of freelancing. The economy started to suck big time and the recession happened which hurt a lot of people including him in finding more work. Times were tough - and times are still tough as a lot of people are still affected by it now, including myself - but enough about that! So he posted CoD commentary as a hobby and his audience grew to massive proportions and continues to grow today. I think I joined on when he was around or under 100K subscribers...and now he has well over 600K subs...just insane in the membrane right? So his videos were getting massive views and he was building a very loyal audience. The great people at Machinima.com caught notice and then proposed him a position as a Segment Producer for their Respawn channel. He's been doing very well ever since - making the big move from Washington to California and being part of an awesome team at Machinima. It's great to see good things happen to good people.

So yes I'm a "fan girl" although I really dislike that term lol. I'm not waving around a flag with a banana floating in the ocean or have a huge foam finger with SeaNanners written across of it - :P those are just a few of the images I get when I hear "fan girl/boy." So I really wanted to make something special as a tribute to these inspiring words, from an inspiring person and do it as part of a project in which I taught myself motion typography and other things that is After Effects.

This project took me a period of 2 weeks of working on and off of it, so I don't know how many man hours it took. I would come home from work and try to spend time on it, and there was a weekend in there where I got sick and couldn't work on it at all. After Effects crashed on me several times, and I even had another version I exported before I released the final version on YouTube. There was a lot of reworking and figuring out things in AE, and yelling at my dear ol' computer which needs some hardware updates.

I finally completed it, tweeted it out like any one of my other vids and then it all happened. HE saw it...I figured he gets a lot of @mentions so it would be buried deep under a bunch of tweets. He saw it and I guess he liked it 'cause he retweeted it out to his 100K Twitter followers, and "liked" it on YouTube...then a wave of SeaFanners (lol) were directed to my video and it blew up in to which I have called "My 15 seconds of YouTube excitement." My reaction was not one I was expecting...I was of course ecstatic...beyond ecstatic...my heart was on hyper drive, I couldn't think straight, was purely speechless...well when I wanted to talk it was jibberish hahaha. I think I received 20K hits on the first day and it rose gradually to almost 50K hits today. It received a bunch of video honors, which I'll list some of the more significant ones below:

First Day
#1 - Most Discussed (Today) - Film & Animation - Canada
#1 - Top Favorited (Today) - Film & Animation - Canada
#1 - Top Rated (Today) - Film & Animation - Canada
#1 - Top Rated (This Week) - Film & Animation - Canada
#2 - Top Favorited (Today) - Canada
#3 - Top Favorited (Today) - Film & Animation
#5 - Top Rated (Today) - Film & Animation

Second Day
#1 - Most Discussed (Today) - Film & Animation - Canada
#1 - Top Favorited (Today) - Canada (Landed me on the homepage)

#1 - Top Rated (This Week) - Film & Animation - Canada

I also got #35 Most Viewed in Canada, landing me on the 2nd Most Viewed page on the 2nd day...although I only got a screenshot of when I was #40.

This was when everything was just at an all time unbelievable moment of reality and the same time YouTube emailed me about putting ad-sense on the video (which I declined).

Although a short ride of thrill and excitement, I am forever grateful and will remember this forever. The thing that made this the most enjoyable was actually making someones day a little better. I received one comment that said something along the lines of "before this I was very depressed, now I'm feeling a lot happier." That means the world to me to have affected someone that greatly to change their day for the better :). My ultimate goal is to keep improving my motion graphics, vfx, video editing and etc skills so that I can bring my imagination to life and hopefully bring happiness to others. Anyways that's pretty much the full story. Thanks for reading if you've stuck around for this long :P. Hope you're all doing well!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bob's Burgers & Growing Up In A Restaurant

I have come across the great new animated sitcom called Bob's Burgers and I got to say it hit every funny bone in my body. Basically the show is about a family who run a struggling burger joint. The family consists of husband and wife, Bob and Linda and their 3 children Tina, Gene and Louise.

It's been a while since I've tuned in regularly to catch a new episode of an animated series. Some of my favourite animated series include Futurama (which has been kicking ass since it's resurrection), South Park (so ridiculous but truly smart comedy if you can understand the underlying messages)...I have an on and off again relationship with The Simpsons (I appreciate early seasons, but it's slowly making a comeback from it's downward spiral)...those are just a few I can think off the top of my head. I grew to hate Family Guy and it's okay if you hate me for it, but c'mon can you not agree that it lost touch after the first few seasons? And don't get me started on the abomination that is The Cleveland Show...ANYWAYS moving on!

Every episode has never failed to keep me wanting more. Sometimes I wish the episodes would run longer. I think what I love about this show the most is the different types of humour that each character offers and their relationships with one another. Whenever I see a show on TV involving a family, a lot the time it's about a very dysfunctional family. I think the enjoyability of this program is seeing a very cute and quirky family work together to solve the problems they encounter. Plus the jokes are right up my alley - it's almost like a piece of my personality is in each of these characters haha (strange I know.)

I sometimes think that this family reminds me of my own quirky family. My family used to own and operate a Chinese cuisine restaurant. You have my loving dad, my cute mom, my eccentric older sister, my funny middle sister and my carefree young self. I guess I appreciate this show more because I can identify with the feelings of running a family business. I never really worked in the restaurant though...I was just sort of there to entertain the customers, play with my sisters and train my fish named Smorgasboard, tricks.

I have many fond memories and moments growing up in that place like making old fashioned milk shakes, feeding the pacu (cousin to the piranha) prawn or chicken drumsticks, staring at the spot where a bullet bent the window, throwing a time capsule Popsicle stick up into the rafters, pranking Dwayne the delivery boy by sneaking salt into his Sprite, pretending to be a server asking customers if they wanted to sit in the smoking or non-smoking section, watch my oldest sister sing and play guitar of the New Kids on the Block version of Happy Birthday to one of the customers, sitting on top of the deep freeze and feeling tall, celebrating Chinese New Years with real dragon dancers and chinese drums, watching my dad chop veggies like a pro...and much much more.

But enough about me haha. You have to check out Bob's Burgers Sundays on FOX at 8:30 PM PST/7:30 PM C. I can't do the show any justice by writing about it, you're going to have get your butt off the computer chair and onto the couch and see for yourself. That's it from me...talking about the restaurant has made me hungry! Bye for now.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Refreshing Ye Ol' User Name

So I've been inspired to write a new blog by fellow blogger and best friend Laura AKA bubbasmi. I haven't done so since I went away on Christmas vacation.

I just wanted to keep this post short and sweet and just acknowledge the fact that I'm slowly going through the process of switching over to my new user name "carmahdee" in place of "karmadee888". I was never really happy with karmadee888, even though how similar it is. I really didn't like the 8's...I hate having numbers in a user name, especially when I don't necessarily identify with the number other than being my favorite/lucky number.

I kind of got inspired to do this refresh because I hated the direction my two YouTube channels were going. One was mostly vlogs, a few little video compilations and very few creative skits. The other channel was used for recorded gaming sessions and entertainment news. I kept thinking how much I disliked managing two channels, but only really created the 2nd channel to acquire a better "brand."

So now that I'm re-branding I feel that carmahdee is just a simplified way of putting my first and last name together and adding "dee" for "design" or for the play on "chickaDEE" one of my favorite birds that I grew up with. In the end the 8's just seemed cluttered.

I also got inspired by a lovely YouTuber named Courtney who recently reinvented her YouTube channel and goes by "courtneypants". Her original user name was "sailme90" which she also just grew out of. Despite the fact I'm sure she loves the videos that are on her older channel, the user name just didn't mean as much to her anymore.

So this is my reasoning behind switching up the names - combining the two channels together and hopefully spitting out brand new content which is more in tune with my joy of creating video content. I want to provide entertaining video content about the stuff I like and document my life at the same time, in one place.

I know I'll lose some subscribers and all the views I've acquired over the years, but I'm okay with that. I know the ones who do enjoy what I do will stick with me and that means a lot. It was never really about the number of subscribers and view count for me anyways. Thank you to those who have supported me thus far. I truly do appreciate all your feedback, comments and "likes". You're the bomb-diggity. So on that note, please subscribe to my very empty and plain channel http://www.youtube.com/user/carmahdee and stay tuned for some fresh new content from yours truly!