Tag Archives: Walt Disney

Sunday Afternoon Rainy Day Matinee’

Simon's Cat copyright Simon Tolfield UK

Simon’s Cat copyright Simon Tolfield UK

It’s a rainy September Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. The skies are a weird colour combination of lead grey and dull white clouds. The breeze is noticeably chilly, and the rain is hissing down loudly. There was even some thunder earlier today. We don’t get too many thunderstorms in southwestern BC; it’s a bit of a spectacle when they actually happen here.  I debated with myself about what kind of post I should write today. God knows there’s plenty of serious stuff I could comment about, but I’m always thinking about the balance I try to keep between serious topics and humourous ones. I don’t want to ignore the things that I think might matter to people. On the other hand, I want the blog to be enjoyable for my readers (Hi Mum!)

Today I’m going to keep things light. I was mucking about on Youtube recently, when I discovered an animated cat video.

Don’t run away! It’s not THAT kind of Youtube cat video!

There’s a British cartoonist named Simon Tolfield who has created some wonderfully clever animated videos called Simon’s Cat. How have I missed this guy? His videos are hilarious and spot-on. He absolutely nails the attitude and behaviours of cats I’m sure we all have known in our lives.

Our next feature for today’s rainy day matinee’ is a delightfully whimsical cartoon created in France by students from the Gobelins School of Graphic Arts. It’s called Pandore, and it’s based on the famous Greek myth of Pandora’s box.

The next feature is Disney’s beautifully poignant telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale The Little Match Girl that he wrote in 1845. It’s such a sad, yet sweet story that I sort of remember from my childhood. It strikes a strong chord in me today because the message in Andersen’s story is still very relevant to all of us in the 21st century. It reminds us all that ‘there but for the Grace of God go I‘. We must all do what we can for those who are desperately in need.

Speaking of the 21st century, our final feature for today’s matinee’ is a very clever cartoon called ‘Glued‘, created in 2012 by Israeli animation students from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. I think this piece speaks volumes about our obsession with technology.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Sunday afternoon matinee’. I thought it might be appropriate on a rainy September weekend 🙂

The Grumpy Ferret (Hey! Who ate all the popcorn?)

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People I Really Wish I Could Share a Cup of Coffee

The other day I thought to myself, if you could have a cup of coffee with anyone, who would you want to meet?‘ I’m not big on celebrities or insanely famous people, but there are some folks who have influenced my life and I genuinely wish I could just sit down with them over a cup of coffee for a half hour and just have a chat.

In no particular order:

Douglas Coupland

The man who coined the term Generation X and wrote all those books like Microserfs and JPod about modern day technology that kind of mirror my own life. He’s an author, a designer, and an all around interesting guy I wish I could talk to. I’d probably ask him if he had any useful advice for how to discipline oneself when it comes to writing a book, since that’s something I want to do but I’m not sure I have the will to see it through. Any advice he might be able to share would be very much appreciated.

John Lasseter

This man founded Pixar back in the 1980’s. I remember watching one of his first computer generated films in 1987 at a conference in Vancouver and being blown away at how imaginative it was. John is now chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Animation and a god to all those who worship at the altar of computer animation. What I particularly admire about him is his commitment to story development. Pixar spends alot of time fleshing out the story for its movies before they begin production. I would love to have coffee with him, if it were in any way possible.

Andrew Weaver

Andrew is a professor of climate science at the University of Victoria and the first elected MLA for the Green Party in British Columbia. He’s also a Nobel Laureate who was part of the United Nations InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I admire what he’s accomplished in his life – I would so very much like to talk with him about where he thinks humanity is heading as global climatic conditions continue accelerating ahead of what was originally estimated. In fact, the IPCC stated in its original 2007 report that its findings might be considered as ‘conservative’. Did anyone remember that?

JK Rowling

If there’s an author I really respect for sheer perseverance and not giving up on an idea for a fantasy novel, it’s JK Rowling. I watched a documentary on CBC News about her long journey on how she came up with the idea for Harry Potter, and what it took for her to create such a brilliantly fanciful series that re-ignited people’s imaginations. There are one or two people who feel I ought to be writing fantasy like JK Rowling. I’d love to just get some pointers from her about how to start the process and go from there, although I suspect she’d tell me that it all boils down to just getting on with it (I know, I know – it’s so blindingly obvious, but so hard to do).

Annie Lennox

I will never forget the first time I saw Annie Lennox. It was in the old Colony Motor Inn Tavern in Victoria, a known biker hangout. Me and my fresh-faced Uvic buddies arrived late on a Saturday night in 1983. I saw her performing in the music video Sweet Dreams are Made of These. I was smitten not only by her looks (oh God, those eyes), but her voice was incredible. I never saw her perform live (damn it!), but I’ve always loved her music, especially when she sang the haunting Into the West for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I saw Annie’s performance at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics. She was still fiery and original. I would go anywhere, do anything, just to have a cup of coffee with my favourite diva.

Brian Greene

Brian Greene is a professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University. He produced a PBS special called The Fabric of the Cosmos, a brilliant layman’s introduction to the world of quantum mechanics and quantum physics. The series was absolutely mind-blowing – it changed my perspective about life, the universe, and everything. For example, when you look around, you see what your eyes tell you is empty space. But that space isn’t empty at all – it’s filled with particles that at the smallest levels of existence are popping in and out of what we perceive to be reality. Not wild enough for you? How about the concept of multiple universes existing right now? I really wish I could sit down and have a chat with Brian Greene.

Robin Williams

I wish I could be as funny as Robin Williams. His rapid-fire improvisation and satire have given me so many needed laughs over the years. There are still some times when I think I ought to give stand-up improvisational comedy a try (but I’m afraid I couldn’t be as profane and vulgar as what most audiences seem to prefer). Sure, Robin has had numerous ups and downs in his life with alcohol and drugs, but he’s a comedic force of nature that I really enjoy. I think one of his best stand-out performances was when he did voice-over for the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. Sigh. I would so very much like to have coffee with this man, caffeine be damned 🙂

So there we go. I would truly like to share a cup of coffee with any one of these fine folks. Who knows? Maybe it might happen 🙂

The Grumpy Ferret (Hey! A ferret can dream, can’t I?)

Songs That Are Stuck Forever in my Brain

It’s the dog days of summer – that time of the year when you know there’s a hundred tasks demanding your attention, but you really don’t feel like doing them. The sun shines down brightly, the skies are brilliant blue. and you’re feeling about as energetic as a sloth. Looking out the window, the nearby pool is tantalizing me with its cool, flat aquamarine surface. Oh heck, how can I get anything done?

That’s when I start suffering from ‘Songs that are stuck forever in my brain‘.

You know what I’m talking about. Those songs you can’t forget – the ones that pop up from deep within your mind and transport you back in time to another place. You try to fight them off, but it’s no use. The internal speakers are cranked up and you can literally hear the music with your ears. At least, that what it feels like for me. I can actually hear the song although I know it’s coming from my mind.

So what’s on my sub-conscious playlist these days? It’s a really interesting assortment of songs. When I was nine years old, the Beatles released their famous psychadelic animated movie The Yellow Submarine. My mother refused to let me see it, fearing the effects on my impressionable young mind (But Mum – it has Blue Meanies in it!) Still, I loved the title song as a child. It always seems to play in my head when I’m working on something creative.

The next song that’s firmly wedged in my cranium is a funky Italian style tune I heard on CFAX Radio in Victoria back in 1981 called ‘ Ah Shaddup You Face‘, by Joe Dolce. It’s such a sweet, silly song. I start hearing it on those days when things just don’t seem to be going my way and I’m feeling overwhelmed. It reminds me that things are not always so bad – I’ll muddle through somehow.

Speaking of cheerful songs that just won’t go away, this one is definitely a strong contender for ‘The Anthem of my Life’:

There are some songs in my mind that are phantoms – they drift into my consciousness like echoes from the past. They’re reminders of thoughts and feelings I had at important crossroads in my life. Of all the phantom tunes that visit, this one haunts me most.  I hear it when I’m walking outside in the moonlight, or when I lie in bed at night, pondering the meaning of things. I know what this particular phantom represents – a feeling that after all these years, I still haven’t found my life’s destination.

Let’s get back to something more cheerful, shall we? 🙂

One of my life’s wishes is to return to the Big Island of Hawaii. I visited the northeast section for three days during a rainstorm back in February, 1994. I always wanted to go back for a longer stay so I could experience the Kona Coast, see the Mauna Kea observatory, and witness the power of Kilauea volcano. I really like native Hawaiian music – this song He Mele No Lilo  from the Disney animated feature Lilo & Stitch often pops up in my head to remind me that I must go back to the Big Island one day – soon.

So there you have it – a small snapshot of the playlist in my mind. And it just keeps on growing.

The Grumpy Ferret (Aka the walking cerebral jukebox!)

We Heil! Heil! Right in Der Harper’s Face!

If you want to see me do an imitation of a rabid raccoon, just say the magical words, ‘Stephen Harper‘. My eyes go wide, I start growling, hissing, foaming at the mouth, and immediately want to bite someone so I can infect them with the same amount of loathing I have for our bland, pudgy, helmet haired Prime Minister 😦

Whenever I feel the feral madness coming on, I immediately go to Youtube and inject myself with a heavy dose of Donald Duck. You heard me – Donald Duck. I recently discovered an outrageously funny Walt Disney cartoon, ‘ Der Fuehrer’s Face‘, that was produced in 1943. The song became famous during World War Two; the cartoon even earned an Oscar! I wish I was a cartoonist, because I would just LOVE to see the faces of Herr Harper and his hapless caucus of Tory clowns being satirized. This cartoon sums up exactly what I think about the ‘Harper Government’ and its relationship with the Canadian public today.

Just to twist the satirical knife blade a bit deeper, here’s a biting scene from Spitting Image about the British Conservatives during a national election. I think it accurately reflects how the Conservative Party in Canada views the average Canadian voter. Notice how former Prime Minister John Major is portrayed as a bland, grey man. Remind you of anyone we know in the House of Commons?

I know what you’re thinking: what about the opposition parties? What do you think of them? One of the joys of being in opposition is you can come up with all kinds of great policy statements without providing any specific details about how you’re actually going to pay for it.

Quick! Stop me if you’ve heard this one before ! Justin Trudeau walks in to a TV studio and says to the host:

Not to love der Harper is a great disgrace! So we Heil! Heil! Right in Der Harper’s Face!

The Grumpy Ferret