“Together We are More”: How Power Rangers Stayed True to Its Roots

[There will be some spoilers]

It’s been a month since I saw the Power Rangers movie bright and early on the Saturday of its opening weekend and I still can’t believe my childhood favorite was a good time. The most surprising thing is that the film stayed true to its roots. Mainly that teamwork, friendship, and optimism is what’s needed to face the world.

It would have been so easy for the movie to embrace the cynicism of the world and have the team crack sarcastic quips about one another and spout out the ridiculousness of the intellectual property that the movie was based on. And yet, it avoided all of it. The movie decided to be genuine, something that seems impossible in our age of crafting near-perfect online personas, and instead asks and answers an important question: Can friendship and optimism still exist in this world?

The answer is a resounding yes as we see a group of teenagers that, as Kim describes, are a bunch of screw-ups. Yet here they are coming together as symbolized by their morph and the eventual formation of the megazord (by the way, I love that moment). It works even better when contrasted with what we’ve seen of the former team. Zordon, the former red ranger, is a cynical old guy who believes he is right and doesn’t care about this new team. Rita, the former green ranger, is a great example of when people decide to choose selfishness and power over the greater good and their team. Both ultimately couldn’t accomplish what they wanted because they cling to cynicism and forgoing any thought of others. Zordon becomes a greater help when he finally releases of his cynicism and lets Billy have the chance to live.

While I don’t believe it was their intent, the timeliness of this movie’s release couldn’t be any more perfect as we all grapple with what’s going on in the world. We have to ask ourselves, do we become Rita and only go for power? Do we become Zordon and believe only we are right? Or do we become Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack, and Trini and come together despite our differences?

 

 

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What College Students can Learn from “Hamilton”

As the Fall semester begins college students could use all the encouragement they can get. Especially for new students who are entering a whole new world. What better way to get the students motivated than with beloved Broadway musical Hamilton? But the songs aren’t just good for a good laugh and cry. There are some good words of wisdom to be found in the songs.

  • My Shot: If you haven’t already, it’s time for you to start thinking past tomorrow. Time to start passionately smashing all expectations of yourself that only limit your ability. If you have the opportunity to better yourself, take it. You don’t have to stay the same person you were in high school (please don’t keep that teenager mindset!)
  • Right Hand Man: If George Washington can recognize his need for a right-hand man, you certainly can learn to ask for help. One of the big things that helped me through college was having study buddies. Even if we weren’t in the same classes, being around people who care about their education forces you to step up your game.
  • Wait for It: While sometimes you need to be passionate, other times you need to just wait for it. Be patient and don’t try to push yourself too hard. Enjoy your time in college. Trust me, those will be the best years of your life. This brings me to the next song.
  • Take A Break: It’s not good to be non-stop (see what I did there?) in life. Take a break and enjoy your family and friends. If you don’t, you could end up making some big mistakes. Hopefully, you won’t cheat on your significant other.
  • It’s Quiet Uptown: Forgive yourself. If God can forgive you, then you certainly can. Stop flogging yourself over your past mistakes. That F you got in that class doesn’t have to define your path in college. That nasty break up doesn’t mean you should give up on love. You can grow from it and still graduate. Stop stressing and push through the pain.
  • The World Was Wide Enough: Competition can be a good thing, but there’s a limit. If you find yourself resenting the people around you, it’s time to pull up and reevaluate the path you’re taking. At the end of the day, you’re all trying to graduate and get jobs. Challenge others to be better, but don’t be jealous or mad if they’re doing better than you. And for God’s sake don’t challenge anyone to duels.

College can be both an exciting and frightening time in your life. I hope these songs and their messages can help you during these years of your life.

Surviving and Thriving through Impostor Syndrome

Do you have a tiny voice in your head that constantly calls you a fraud with only lies to back up its claims. Telling you that everything you have was unearned and you’re not that knowledgeable? That you only got where you’re at because of luck or circumstances. It can even tell you that you’re not worthy of love from God or your fellow human beings?

Congratulations, you may be suffering or on the brink of getting Impostor Syndrome!

So what is this syndrome? As I described above, the syndrome occurs when a person starts to become really successful and has doubts that their success is legitimate. What separates this from the usual doubts is that it’s not true. (For a more detailed look into the syndrome, check out Cal Tech’s website. )

Now you’re probably wondering how to avoid or survive when the syndrome strikes. While I don’t have all the answers, these are some of the ways that I have coped when I feel doubts coming on:

  1. Practice confidence without the pride.
  2. Don’t compare yourselves to other. The fastest way to feeling like an impostor is to compare yourself to others.
  3. Give yourself a break once in a while. If you can, try and take a self-care moment and do something you love not related to your doubts. It could be reading, dancing, or hanging out with friends.
  4. Listen to the people who care enough to critique you. They’re the ones who will tell it like it is but aren’t doing it to be petty or to build themselves up. They’re also the ones most likely to tell you that you’re better than what your own thoughts leave you to believe.
  5. If you really think you’re not that good, fix it. Learn new skills while keeping your old skills sharp. Not only will you improve, but you won’t have time to contemplate whether that voice is true or not.
  6. Remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Whatever your circumstances, you’re here now and God won’t let you handle anything He doesn’t think you can.

In short, it’s okay to toot your horn once in a while and shout to the world that your accomplishments were earned. Always have a support group that doesn’t enable, but encourage you to succeed and celebrates your successes.  If it gets to rough, talk to a counselor about it.

Now I want to hear from y’all. Do you think Impostor Syndrome applies to you or someone you know? How do you cope with it? Please let me know in the comments.

 

The Doer and the Planner at War

[Based on this prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/learning-style/]

There are two approaches when it comes to creating: Be the doer or be the planner. The doer takes action and dives into their work, hoping that whatever they create will work out in the end. The planner is the one who believes in outlines and using a pencil before inking in pen.

For me, I possess both and it feels like they are at war with one another.

The planner in me will have outlines for everything in a notebook, plans for the future that may or may never come to past. Lines struck through sentences and new sentences written above the to indicate new changes in the script or writing. They are more likely to learn from others, fervently reading numerous writing blogs and books.

The planner in me can freeze when it comes to making the art itself. Whether it’s pursuing unattainable perfection or simply having new ideas, nothing concrete comes out of it.

In contrast, the doer has done what the planner couldn’t accomplish. They will pound out a story or a blog post like this in a matter of hours, maybe even minutes and post it for the world. To learn is to use one’s own hands and eyes could be considered the motto of this other persona. And if that means that grammar will be overlooked or an important point was missed, then so be it says the doer.

So, who should take priority in my creative process?

I say it’s time for the two to make peace. The planner can make the doer slow down and make sure the best product is put forth while the doer can shove the planner out of the room of could and should and into the world of action. I do not have to choose between the two as I sit with my notebook in hand with a new plan of attack for this novel.

They are two halves to the whole of my creative self. Neglecting one for another will only stifle my creativity and prevent my from learning to be the best.

 

Is Reality TV Dead?

One of the lessons I’ve learned during my time as a Film major that reality television surged in popularity because of how relatively inexpensive it was to make compared to scripted shows. I remembered discussing the target demographics and the history of these shows.

And now it looks like it may be dying out.

According to Bloomberg, viewership for reality TV is dropping while streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are opting for more original scripted shows and dumping reality shows. You could make the argument that it’s because reality shows inherently have a short shelf life but the fact they are opting to spending more money on scripted shows is what made me raise an eyebrow.

Now I honestly don’t believe reality TV will completely die out. Contrary to some conventional thoughts reality TV has been around since the 1970s with one of the shows being An American Family that revolved around a real family. The fascination with other people’s lives, be it the upper class of The Kardashians or the lower to middle class of Honey Boo Boo, will never leave completely leave our society. I do however believe that it won’t dominate the pop culture scene and people are losing interest as scripted shows are easily accessible in terms of money and time. If anything, it won’t be considered the guaranteed money maker that it once was in the 2000s.

So the next question is can reality TV be saved? (Some would ask if it should even be saved)

What can change is going back to the core idea of An American Family and even the first season of The Real World and return to a more documentary type lifestyle. Reality TV was novel because it (seemed) to be real and the people were not the polished and primped celebrities but real people with real issues. For some, the genre has slowly turned towards becoming a jumping board into fame and creating situations for drama that it almost seems like a farce to call it reality. It has become a brand rather than a true look into people’s lives.

This could also save reality TV from a shorter shelf life. If presented as a moment of recorded history for future generations or be unflinching in its honest presentation of people and events like other documentaries perhaps the value would rise.

Or maybe we should treat them like vlogs. Just have a camera and a person recording themselves and go on with out lives.

Georgia On My Mind: Will Georgia Become the New Hollywood?

In a recent article by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, five Georgia film studios are forming an alliance in hopes of supporting future film and television production and education endeavors in the state. The group will be known as the Georgia Studio and Infrastructure Alliance that includes Tyler Perry Studios, Eagle Rock Studios Atlanta, Triple Horse Studios, Mailing Avenue Stageworks, and EUE/Screen Gems Studios.

So what does this all mean?

From what I can tell, Georgia is really trying to leverage itself as the place to be for film and TV right up there with New York City and Los Angeles. The Atlanta Business Chronicle has already reported that the industry accounted for $5.1 billion impact on the economy in the last fiscal year, a high jump from the $242 million in 2007. This move isn’t totally surprising to me since I’ve noticed the tell-tale sign of the Georgia peach in the credits of quite a few shows lately and have known that Georgia has tax incentives for those who come to work here.

As for the alliance itself working, I think it’s got a great chance. The alliance has already partnered with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s office and Georgia’s College and Career Academies to help to develop a training curriculum for careers in the film and television industries. This shows a good amount of foresight on their part, in particular with the training curriculum. Having this curriculum will keep the students from the schools and universities (such as the Savannah College of Art and Design) to work in Georgia instead of elsewhere. Not only that, it may entice graduates from out-of-state universities such as NYU, University of Texas at Austin, or UCLA to come work in Georgia (not to mention it may be cheaper).

If the alliance does work, the next question is will other states implement their own. Would Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios want to ally themselves with other Texas studios? What about in New Mexico or Louisiana?

Also, tell me your thoughts on the alliance and whether it should be implemented in other states.

J.L.’s Review of Japanese Kit-Kats

Google Japanese Kit-Kats and you’re going to find a variety of blogs and articles talking about the “strange” flavors and vlogs of people opening the candies and showing their reactions to the flavors. As someone who has traveled and loves to try new foods, I wanted to join all the others. Unfortunately, I had put the idea out of my mind since it seemed like I had to know someone in Japan to send them to me.

Still, I decided to just search for places to buy them and lo and behold it wasn’t just a dream! I purchased the Kit-Kat “Western Japan” box that included two wrapped candies of six flavors. In this box, the flavors were hojicha, ujimatcha, kankitsu, strawberry, sweet purple potato (beniimo), and wasabi. A good place to start I would say.

When the box arrived, I was impressed with the neat packaging and thankful for the pictures so I and romanticized words so I wouldn’t have to Skype with my friend. One of the things I noticed in the picture is that Nestle’s name is featured on the box. To give a little background information, Nestle, the company that owns the Kit-Kat, does not distribute the candy in the U.S. Instead, Hershey distributes the candy under a license from Nestle and state on their bags and website that Kit-Kat is a registered trademark (you can read about it here). I have to admit, this was a bit of interesting trivia and I briefly wondered if the regular chocolate Kit-Kats from Nestle tasted different than the Hershey ones as I settled into my box.

The first thing that got me when I opened the package was the scent. I was pleasantly surprised by how fragrant the scents were and it made my day when I tried the candies.

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The first flavor I tried was the sweet purple potato that was lilac in color and had a very sweet scent. I never had a sweet purple potato to reference from to see if the flavor matched. Despite that, it was very sweet to the point that I had to pause between the bars and grab a glass of water. Definitely something to try if you had a sweet purple potato or have an extreme sweet tooth.

Next was kankitsu, the citrus flavored candy. Taking that first bite, I was immediately reminded of an orange dreamsicle as the orange overpowered the other citrus fruits mixed in with what tasted like white chocolate. This time I had my mom tried it as well to get another opinion. She found the candy to be a bit too sweet for her liking. However, she did agree that it lived up to its name with how powerful the citrus flavor was.

The next sweetest flavor was strawberry and of all the flavors I think this is the one that could make it in the U.S. It had a very creamy texture and the strawberry flavor was in full force when you bit into it. Definitely a must to try if you’re a strawberry lover.

My favorite was the ujimatcha. It’s a little less sweet but it’s very fragrant and there’s no mistaking that it’s green tea. I think this flavor would go well in the more metropolitan areas who want to try something “exotic”.

Wasabi was the one I was a bit apprehensive about since the last time I tasted wasabi my sinuses were cleared and I could smell the whole world around me. The adventurous part of me won out as I decided to taste the candy. Of all the candies, this surprised me the most because it’s actually not that spicy! I don’t know if the heat was tempered by the candy coating or they intentionally made it not spicy but the wasabi kit-kat tasted more like sweet horseradish than anything else.

Finally, the last flavor I tried was hojicha which according to Google is a green tea that is roasted. This contrasts to the usual Japanese method of steaming the tea. Like beniimo, I had no idea what hojicha tasted like and was prepared for anything. Of the flavors, this one was the most bland in terms of taste and smell. Maybe it was because of the roasted tea but I didn’t get much out of the candy. I gave the second piece to my friend who actually told me she liked it and it reminded her of tea, in particular oolong. Maybe I have to be a tea connoisseur to appreciate the flavors.

If you want to take a trip on the adventurous side definitely give Japanese Kit-Kats a try. You can find them on Amazon, eBay, ShiokJapan, Tofu Cute, and Asian Market Stores in your area. Personally, I enjoyed myself trying each of the six flavors and plan to try more of the Japanese flavors.

My question to you all is have you tried a Kit-Kat from Japan? If so, what was your favorite flavor? Least favorite? If you hadn’t, what flavor do you want to try? Leave a comment below.