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.

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!