Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#TrueFacts 24


Did you know that the five second rule is not true? You can leave pickles, bologna, cheese, a wide variety of casseroles, and almost any other foods except baklava, on the floor for at least 2 minutes before any wild bacteria will even begin to muster up the courage to climb on board. #TrueFact

Did you know that the moon used to be a part of earth? It was a land mass located between Australia and Antarctica. The moon people were so annoying that the Australians and the Antarcticians got together to build a giant slingshot, scooped the whole continent out of the water, and launched it into space. The moon people are still mad about that, and are vengefully plotting against Australia. Their Antarctic revenge has already been enacted. #TrueFact

Did you know that dwarves are just children wearing fake beards? #TrueFact

Did you know that leprechauns are just dwarf dwarves? #TrueFact

Did you know that gnomes are just dwarf dwarf dwarves? #TrueFact

Did you know that fairies are just dwarf dwarf dwarf dwarves with wings? #TrueFact

Did you know that the ocean in and around the Bermuda triangle is ruled by an evil dolphin named Frank? He is responsible for all the mysterious phenomena that have happened there over the years. #TrueFact

Did you know that caviar was originally called fish grapes? #TrueFact

Did you know Bigfoot is just a man in a suit? The suit's Armani. It's real nice. #TrueFact

Did you know that Adam Sandler changed his last name before he became famous? His last name was originally Birkenstocker. His father also changed his last name before Adam was born, as his parents' surname had been Flip-Flopper. #TrueFact

I regretted writing that last, exquisitely, excruciatingly horrific pun, almost immediately after it had entered my brain, but it's too late now. It exists, and there is nothing I can do about it. I can only apologize and move on with my life. I am so, so sorry.

Monday, July 31, 2017

This Month in Internet (July 2017)


So the Photobucket crisis is behind me now. I still haven't updated a lot of my old posts, but I did update my previous TMI post. I went into the HTML, took out the code for the broken Photobucket links, and then uploaded the logo to that post. Then I copied the resulting code from that, and pasted it into this post. So if you see a logo above, then you'll know it worked, and that's probably what I'll do from now on.

On to the main article! These are my favorite videos from all around the internet from the month of July! Enjoy!

So let's start out this post with some music from my current favorite cartoon, Steven Universe. I have two videos here, the first is the creator of the show, Rebecca Sugar, singing one of the songs she wrote for it.



And the second is a mashup of the music done in 8-bit style by an artist I'd never heard of until this video came up in my recommendations, Joe Jeremiah. I took one listen and subscribed immediately.



Steven Universe has some amazing music, I've been saying for quite some time that I want to do a post of just Steven Universe covers, and I still plan to. Maybe I'll do that this month...

Caleb Hyles is back with a new cover, (with Jonathan Young and Adrisaurus) and while I have never played the game that the song is from, I really liked this song.



A few years ago, when Vine was still a thing, I came across an account by someone called Katie Ryan, the account had hardly anything by her, it was mostly just short clips of her daughter Ava  being hilarious. Vine is now gone, but Ava is not. She has only gotten funnier, and now that she's old enough she's writing her own characters, and she is just absolutely hilarious. If I hadn't been following her for years, I would not believe that someone this young could be so naturally funny without being told what to say.



If you want to see more of her, they compiled all of her old vines, so if you have a half an hour, you can just watch this video HERE. I highly recommend it if you need something to make you laugh. :) Also, just in case you need proof of her natural hilariousness, here's an interview she did with people magazine a few days ago.



Side note: "It's frickin' bats" has been stuck in my head for like three weeks, and it's now one of my all time favorite quotes. :p

Next up, Lindsey Stirling did a video with Kurt Hugo Schneider! I had literally just been thinking to myself just a couple days before they released this, 'I wonder why Lindsey and KHS haven't teamed up to do anything recently, they really should!' And like two days later, Boom! This came out! I think I'm like psychic or something. :p



And of course, KHS is a very prolific artist, so the video with Lindsey was far from the only one this month, he also did this video with someone I'd never heard of before, Lara Somogyi, but I loved her! She plays the harp! Like, no one does that anymore!



Now, before you go on to the next video, I must warn you, it is very weird. If you remember the few other videos I've posted with Poppy, you know that what is coming isn't normal, but I love things that aren't normal, so I loved this. :p And this song is just so weirdly catchy, it just gets stuck in your head. I'm just giving you fair warning in case you decide to proceed. :p



Mike Tompkins is back with another amazing cover!



And Pogo is back with another amazing original song! This doesn't have a video to go with it, but I LOVED the song so much, I just had to include it. :p



And finally, Simply Three released an EAR-MELTINGLY AWESOME cover of Eurythmics Sweet Dreams!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Photobucket Killed My Blog

Yes, that's an exaggeration, my blog is still here, but almost every linked image, my article logos, the fake likes and other images I used in my old Facebook parody posts, it's all gone. Photobucket recently, without warning, just shut down every single free account, and replaced everyone's images with this.


I thought it was a mistake, so I went to the website, where all my pictures are still stored, to find nothing. Nothing looked different, so I went to the address in the picture, where they nonchalantly tell you that their terms of service do not cover image hosting for free accounts. But, you can get that service by signing up for a "Plus 500" plan. They also don't have any pricing plans visible anywhere.

This still seemed sketchy, so I did some digging, only to find post after post of angry people who's blogs and businesses have been essentially held for ransom by photobucket, who, without warning, have turned off every image hosted on their servers. This started happening a few weeks back, and they have just been slowly going through and turning accounts off. I suppose since I've been using photobucket for almost a decade, I had more time, which is why I didn't notice anything until just now.

Now, I understand that they need to make money, but they failed to notify anyone, and further investigation revealed that they aren't even being upfront about the price, because the "Plus 500" plan, the only plan available for image hosting, is $399.99! I would have been mildly miffed had it been something halfway to reasonable like $19.99, but had they given plenty of advanced notice, and time for people to transition, I would have understood. The way that they have gone about this is tantamount to extortion, (if not just straight up extortion) and even if I have $400 just lying around, I wouldn't even begin to consider it.

Normally I wouldn't even write anything about something this, but this affects my blog so completely that I felt like I had to address it. Just look at the current sidebar, and you can see all the missing logos. I don't have the hours upon hours of work it will take to go back and update links, so, for all the old blog posts that had photobucket hosted images, they're pretty much dead. The TIIA posts and the posts with logos will still be readable, but the Facebook parody posts are basically ruined. I might go back and fix them someday if I'm bored and have time, but for now, for all intents and purposes, they're ruined.

Anyway, my most used logos will be replaced eventually, so I am looking for a new image hosting site. Preferably one that is free, so if you know of any good ones, specifically ones that allow html embedding, let me know!

Monday, July 17, 2017

7 Years

I very rarely remember my "Bloggiversaries," but thinks to Facebook's handy, "On This Day" feature, I realized that today was the 7 year anniversary since I started this thing.


I didn't remember writing that, like a lot of the things I find in "On This Day," but I just thought this was interesting. It really is just like me. For the last few days I'd been seeing posts from that year talking about starting a blog, looking for feedback, no one ever responded, but I decided to do it anyway. And that about sums up my decision process. I get an idea in my head,  I think about it long enough, and then I just decide to randomly go for it one day with no warning.

Completely coincidentally, today is also the two month anniversary of my YouTube channel. I uploaded the first video on May 17th, and just like my blog, it was something I'd been thinking about for quite some time, and then one day, with no warning to myself, I just randomly decided to film and upload a video, and I haven't looked back since.

Well, I guess that's about all. I didn't really have much more to say beyond that. I just found it interesting that in some ways I am a completely different person than the one who posted that first blog post 7 years ago, but as different as I am, I'm pretty much still basically the same person. And I know that sounds like something that makes no sense, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. Just how I like it. :p

Monday, July 3, 2017

#TrumpFacts

Before we begin, I just want to say that this is not meant to be an offensive political post,  it's meant to be nothing more that the nonsensical randomness that all my other #TrueFacts posts are. Plus, I'm not only picking on Donald Trump, I did this to a ton of other presidents like three years ago as well. You can find that post HERE if you're curious.

Also, before we begin, I just want to say, that I tried to avoid the easy jokes. I really did. But there are just so many! Everyone always makes fun of his hair, his hands, his cold and distant wives, and I really didn't WANT to think of any of those kinds of jokes. I really did try to have everything in this post be just as weird and random as everything else I always write, but the easy jokes just kept coming to me!

So, to compromise, before we get to the real jokes, here are the dumbest, lamest, stupidest, easiest jokes, that I came up with. I'll leave these here, outside of the "Official" #TrueFacts list, as some bonus content that doesn't actually count as my list. They were too dumb to include, but they still made me laugh, so here they are.

I apologize in advance. :p
(not the real)

Did you know that Donald Trump's hair is actually a nest of living orange hamsters? #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump has a secret White House pet that no one knows about? It's an orange beaver named Winston that lives on his head. #TrueFact

Did you know that Dunston Checks In, the classic movie from the 90's about an adorable orangutan who's living in a hotel, was based on Donald Trump's hair? #TrueFact

Did you know that before Donald Trump married Melania, 27 other brides got lost in the mail? #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump's hands are so tiny that he has to use a carrot with an apricot poked onto each end to lift weights? #TrueFact

Did you know that during a rough patch in their marriage, Donald Trump once tried to ship his first wife Ivana to Abu Dhabi?  He forgot to poke holes in the box and she died.  #TrueFact
(I am SO sorry, I know it's terrible, but I just couldn't help myself. And also I was literally laughing at this for hours after I wrote it, so I had to keep it. :p)

Did you know that Donald Trump once tried to tear down the Muppet Theater because he thought there was oil under it? #TrueFact

Did you know Donald Trump once tried to open a fast food franchise to sell french fried frog legs as well as turn Kermit the Frog into his own personal mascot-slash-appetizer? #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump once tried to seduce Miss Piggy and steal the Baseball Diamond from Lady Holiday? #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump once kidnapped Big Bird and locked him in a giant birdcage in order to force him to perform at his circus? #TrueFact

Okay, yes, the last four jokes are all the plots of various Muppet movies with Donald Trump replacing the villains. I once heard a comedian say that Donald Trump was like a cartoon villain who'd bulldoze a kid's playground to build a hotel, so of course I imagined him as a Muppet villain instead. :p

Now, on to the real(totally not real) #TrueFacts! I make no promises that any of these are any better!

Did you know that Donald Trump uses orange marmalade as styling gel? His gorgeous coif both looks and tastes incredible! #TrueFact

Did you know that while the average human is 60% water, Donald Trump is actually 60% tanning lotion? And also like, 10% hemorrhoid cream. #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump has a ventriloquist dummy modeled after himself named Li'l Trumpy? He uses it to talk to Melania when they're alone. That's the real reason she has her own bedroom. #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump's childhood idol was Scrooge McDuck? That's why he's always puckering his lips. He's just trying to be like his beloved childhood hero. #TrueFact

Did you know that Trump Tower is actually one of Donald Trump's massive money bins? Most of his hotels and properties don't have any floors, they are just giant fancy boxes to keep his money in. Just another bit of inspiration from his fine feathered idol. #TrueFact

Did you know that Donald Trump once tried to recreate Scrooge's iconic money bin dive? In 1992, he installed a diving board at the top of his Plaza Hotel in New York. Unfortunately the Plaza went bankrupt in the middle of his dive and he ended up in a body cast for 6 months. #TrueFact
(And before you ask, yes, the moment he went bankrupt, all the money magically disappeared in a puff of smoke. I know it makes no sense! Does any of the rest of this?)
Did you know that Donald Trump owns a body cast signed by Scrooge McDuck? He actually went all the way to Disneyland himself to get it signed. Ivana Trump, his wife at the time, said it was the only time she'd ever seen him cry. It was a single tear of happiness, but it still counts! #TrueFact

Did you know that one of Donald Trump's first acts as president was to break the Presidential Lasagna Eating Record? The previous record had been held for 136 years by President Garfield.



Did you know that one of teenage Donald Trump's first jobs was to be the clown mascot for a small chain of hamburger restaurants called McDoogals? He did such a great job, they actually renamed the whole chain in his honor. #TrueFact

Did you know that the real reason that Donald Trump hates Hillary Clinton is that she rejected his elaborate musical-flash-mob-prom-posal back in 1963? He actually still has a secret crush on her, and is masking his wounded pride with insults. #TrueFact

Friday, June 30, 2017

This Month in Internet (June 2017)


This Month's TMI is going to begin the same way the last one did, with a new video from Avriel and the Sequoias. The EP is out now and it is so good. I can't wait until he puts out a full album.



Next we have another Peter and Evynne Hollens duet! This time they are doing a song from one of my childhood favorite movies, At the Beginning, from Anastasia.



One of my favorite artists from years ago, Lights, just released a new song, and it sounds like the perfect fusion of the way her recent music has sounded, and the way she sounded years ago when I first discovered her. I love it!



And speaking of old favorites releasing new music! Owl City just released a new song! The music isn't his normal electronic sound, but I like it, and the acoustic sound just goes so well with his voice. There will be plenty of time for electronic music when he releases his next album. I can't wait!



And for a completely different kind of old favorite, here is Rob Paulson, voice of Yakko from the Animaniacs, singing Yakko's World, absolutely perfectly, more than 20 years later! I don't know how he managed to memorize this thing, but I suppose it's one of those things that once it's in your head, it's there forever.



The premise of this sketch by Studio C is kind of dumb, but the over-the-top performances by the cast, as well as some of the hilarious, ridiculous lines, just make me laugh so much that it somehow became one of my favorites. "Tell my roommates, I hate them!!!!"



Puddles just released a new song. It's amazing.



And in case you were missing Postmodern Jukebox in Puddles' video, here's their best song from the month. It is amazing. Especially considering that I used to hate the original song with an unreasonable and unprovoked passion. (Don't ask me why, I'm not even sure young me knew why.) However, I absolutely love this version.



The only thing I don't like about this latest Disney medley by Voctave is how terribly short it is. I just want them to sing every Disney song ever, for hours on end.



We'll end this with another Disney medley, Peter Hollens recently collaborated with another YouTuber, Whitney Avalon, on a Disney villain medley, and it was one of the best things he's done in a very long time. And I love everything he does, so you know this one's amazing.



What the heck, internet? I wrote this post the night before it was to go up, June 29th, and I wake up this morning, June 30th, and apparently half the internet had decided to save their best videos for the last day of the month! So, I am sorry Peter Hollens, you are no longer my grand finale!

First up on this bonus half of the post, Puddles is back with another David Bowe cover!



Nataly Dawn covered the BeeGees.



And Walk Off the Earth just released their first original song in ages! I absolutely love this song, and it is literally the best song I have heard all month. Hands down, no contest. I love it so much, I will probably be playing this on repeat until I can't listen to it anymore. Yes, it is that good. This will now be the final video is my post. What a way to close out the month!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Donna East

So I guess I'm jumping on the whole "Throwback Thursday" bandwagon. As you can see, I even made myself a logo, so you know it's serious. :p

For awhile now I've been thinking of doing posts about things I liked as a kid, or like, 5-10-15 years ago, any non-recent things. I tried to think of my own clever title. Wayback Wednesday, Flashback Friday, no, those were taken as well, and really, aren't they just cheap imitations of the real thing? I mean, if I'm going to do this, why not just go with the original. There's a reason it is the Internet's standard for all nostalgia-based social media postings. So Throwback Thursday it is.

This is not going to be a regular series. This is probably just going to be one of those things that I'm only going to post when I feel like it. As long as it's Thursday. And today I felt like it. Actually I felt like it a few days ago, but I waited for Thursday, because otherwise, what's the point of jumping on the trendwagon?

Anyway, today's post is about Donna East. "Who's Donna East?" you ask? Well, I suppose you can be forgiven for not knowing. After all she has less than ten videos on YouTube, and almost all of them were posted literally ten years ago. And that's probably when we watched them. I think it was either my Aunt Sherri or my cousins who first showed her videos to me. I think it started because there was a series of clean stand-up comedy DVDs that had gotten semi-popular in Christian circles called "Bananas." She was featured on one of them, and I know, especially Shaina, was really into those comedians for awhile. Here's a clip of her from that show if you're interested.



I think that led one of them to do some internetting, which eventually led them to her channel. And what they found would change our lives forever. Or not. Really, it just gave us a bunch of lines to quote for years to come, and taught us to call our fingers 'Phalanges.'



That one is probably the most quoted because of the 'Phalanges' line. Here's the second most quoted.



"Let's think about that for a moment, shall we?"

They're not all extremely quotable, but they are all insane. All of her characters seem to be completely out of their minds. And I love that about her. :p



This next one is probably her most insane character, and maybe her best. I saved it for last because it's probably my favorite. Well, Alice Coopers is probably my favorite too, but this one has a puppet with rage issues, and if you know me, you know how much I love insane puppets, so please don't make me choose. :p



Anyway, that's Donna East. The greatest comedian you've never heard of. Until now. I guess now that you've heard of her, that sentence no longer applies. She's still pretty great though!

According to her website, she's still out there, doing comedy somewhere. She makes live appearances, but she just doesn't have a very big online presence. And I really wish she did. She'd probably be one of my favorite YouTubers if she'd bring her act to the internet. I'd love an ongoing cooking show with Alice, or a weekly puppet rage show. I just need more of her characters! Donna! If you're out there! Please come back to YouTube! The world of the internet needs you!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

So, am I a YouTuber?


Awhile back I mentioned that I had started a new YouTube channel. I have had one before, a channel where I posted some personal projects, school assignments, some videos I'd done with my friends, etc. I'll link to that channel HERE if you're interested.

Anyway, I have wanted to make YouTube videos for ages now. I've thought about it off and on since probably 2011, 2012, ever since I'd really started getting into watching YouTubers on a regular basis. The problem was, I never had time, I was always in school, I had work, I had a lot of reasons why I never started.

And of course there's also the issue that I never felt like I would be any good at it, so I just didn't. I've let that feeling stop me from doing a LOT of things over the years, and I am working on getting over that.

When I started getting closer to the end of my time at Iowa State, I started thinking about it again, a bit more seriously this time, so I brought it up to one of my fellow writers at the Rotoscopers, Rachel Wagner, and she asked me if I wanted to co-host an episode of her podcast/YouTube show with her. Eventually we decided to review Doctor Who, and every week since then we have been talking about the new episodes of season 10 as they air. I'll link you to the latest one here so you can see how that's going.



That sort of let me test the waters before I fully committed to making my own channel and after a few weeks, I just decided to go for it. I had no more excuses. I was out of school, at the time I wasn't working because I was preparing some projects in order to apply for more internships, I had (some) free time, plus this would be a very good way to practice video editing, which I had been needing to do, so one day I just spontaneously decided to record a video and I put it up. And the next day I put up another one. A couple days later I did another.

I've now been putting up at least one video a week for over a month, and I am very close to being happy with them. I am of course, still self critical about most of it, but I think I am slowly improving, which is what I wanted. I still don't care for my on-camera presence very much, but I think a lot of people feel that way, and I just need to get over it.

Right now my channel is mostly movie reviews, I love reviewing things, as you can tell from all the time I've spent working for the Rotoscopers, however, I am open to experimenting with different kinds of videos. I just need ideas. The main reason, other than the fact that it's fun, that I am doing it for now, is to practice different video editing techniques, so the more things I do the better. Right now, the reason I have been so consistent with my output, is that I've started a series called Wonderland Wednesday. Every week I look at a new version of Alice in Wonderland, and there are a LOT of versions, so I have plenty of material.

When I first started thinking about this project, I really only thought there'd be like, 10 versions out there, but when I went to make a list, I found that there were far more than 10. However, I am a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, so instead of feeling daunted, I thought it would be a lot of fun to review them all.

This series started with me reviewing the 2010 live action Disney version of the story, because Rachel Wagner does not like it at all, and I do. She suggested that I review it to explain what I like about it, so I did.



The next version I decided to do was the 1999 version, because ever since I was a kid it has been one of my favorites.



After I did those two, Rachel told me that she really liked the 1933 version of the story, so I did that one next.



As you can tell from that video, I reference watching it with my cousin. Sarah is also a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, so I had decided that I would watch some of them with her before I reviewed them. However, the next week we watched the 1903 version of the story, and she absolutely loved it, so much so, that I asked her if she wanted to guest host the next episode with me, and she agreed!



We actually had so much fun that she agreed to keep co-hosting as long as we had versions she wanted to watch. We filmed two more episodes the next week, but due to computer cord issues, I had no power to edit with for a few days, so I filmed a quick review with my phone that week, and uploaded directly to YouTube. I am actually almost proud of that video, because I managed to make it through with very few stumbles, and I did it all in one take, with no cuts or edits. As you can probably tell from my other videos, I usually am normally heavily editing myself.



This week's video is another one with Sarah, but after my issues the last time, I ended up losing the micro SD card that I had filmed the other two videos on. So on Monday we got back together, and refilmed both of them. Then I stayed up until 4 this morning editing it to get it done in time. The first one here is the 1910 version, and the 1915 version will be out next week.



So that's what I've been up to recently. Am I a YouTuber now? I don't know. I make videos for YouTube, but I only have 6 subscribers, and one of them is me, one of them is my mom, and one of them is Rachel, so really it's more like I have three. :p I'm not sure what "Being a YouTuber" means, but if I'm not one now, I might be someday. Right now I am having a lot of fun with it, and I am getting a lot of practice in editing videos, as well as in Photoshop for the thumbnails. And since being a video editor (and graphic designer) is one of the jobs on my list of "Things I want to be when I grow up," I think the time I'm spending on it is time well spent. :)

If you have a YouTube account, I'd love it if you'd subscribe. I'm not one to ask that in every video, but since I'm mostly talking to friends and family here, I thought I'd ask this once. It would be nice to have a few more subscribers so it doesn't feel like I'm shouting into the void. :p You don't have to if you don't want to of course, but hopefully you'll get some sort of entertainment out of them. And if you like them, feel free to share them with your friends! Okay, now I am sounding like a real YouTuber so I'll stop. :)

I probably won't repost every video to my blog, but I'll probably do an update post every once in awhile to let you know how it's going. Right now it's going well, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes me!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#TrueFacts 23


Did you know that in 1857 five states went missing? Michconsin, North Michigan, South Ontario, Old York, and Pennsylvania's Hat all vanished one day, leaving nothing behind but the ocean they were floating on. The locals didn't want to alarm anyone, so they just pretended they'd never been there at all, and called the leftover ocean holes the Great Lakes. #TrueFact

Did you know that there is a man in Idaho that grows parsley instead of hair? #TrueFact

Did you know that a cat named Prrbld outlawed the use of vowels in Brazil? It didn't do any good, Prrbld holds no positions of authority and everyone ignored him. #TrueFact

Did you know that bagpipe dubstep is the single-most hated genre of music in the entire history of ever? In fact, it is currently illegal in almost every country except Scotland and Germany. #TrueFact

Did you know that the vacuum of space is a Dyson? It was a Kirby, but after about a million years, God got tired of lugging that heavy thing out of the closet every time, and replaced it with a far lighter, and far superior, Dyson Upright. #TrueFact

Did you know that the world has ended 6 times in the past? The most recent was the great donut apocalypse of 3400 BC. A giant bismark comet collided with a caramel pecan asteroid, just a few miles west of the moon, shooting creme filling all over the earth. The few who survived said it was the most delicious apocalypse they had ever experienced. It was way better than that time it rained fiery Brussels sprouts from the heavens in 3456. #TrueFact
P.S. Yes it is spelled with a capital B, and yes it does end with an S. It was named after the Brussels region of Belgium. Boom. You just learned something actually real from this blog post of facts that is anything but. #ActualTrueFact

Did you know that Charles Darwin's luxurious beard was not real? He lost his original facial hair in a tragic bearding accident and was forced to wear a prosthetic beard for the rest of his life. #TrueFact

Did you know that in 1991 it happened? It's true! I saw it! #TrueFact

Did you know that everyone mispronounces Babylon? It's actually pronounced Baby-Lawn. #TrueFact

Did you know that some 5 dollar bills are purple because Abraham Lincoln is holding his breath? #TrueFact

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Twist Ending 12

I haven't done one of these since 2014. I suppose I could have, but most of my "bad" experiences are usually just minor annoyances. Ames is generally such a friendly city, I never have any encounters with people mean enough to immortalize in fiction. I probably see hundreds, if not thousands of people a day, as opposed to the maybe a couple hundred, at the very most, that I see at home, and I really can't complain because most everyone in Ames is just super nice.

Sadly, this story happened at home. Literally my second day back. Not even kidding. My cousin even joked about me being inspired to write another story as soon as I got back to work. We laughed, but little did I know that her joke was practically a prophecy. Why is my small town so much grumpier than a big city?

Since I haven't written one of these in so long, I haven't even created a logo for the series. I think I started doing logos for my different series after I'd written the last one. Anyway, since I like my stuff to have images,  I decided to quickly whip one up. I really hope I never have anything worth turning into one of these stories again, but just in case...


 photo End_zpsivlibkcn.png


"Give me a pack of Pall Mall Blue 100's," the elderly man demanded.

"Sure thing. Do you have an ID I can scan?"

"F@&#! Why the h@% don't you type in a birthdate like everyone else?"

"We're not allowed to, we have to scan everyone's ID."

"Don't give me that $#!!, you could skip it if you wanted to!"

"I'm sorry, only the managers can skip the ID, I'm not a manager."

"Yeah, I can see why!"

"I'm sorry, but unless I call a manager to override the system, I have to scan an ID."

"Yeah, you just wait until I get this whole place shut down!" He exclaimed angrily.

~

That night, as the man sat in front of his flickering, 12 channel television set from 1975, eating a lukewarm, Swanson's frozen dinner, his doorbell rang.

"Who the #@&% is it at this hour! It's 6:30 at night! Why aren't you people in bed!?"

He hobbled over to the door and swung it open angrily. Outside there was a pale man in a black suit, holding a legal pad on a clipboard. On his lapel was a tiny pin shaped like a scythe.

"I was told you had a complaint?"

"What? What are you talking about? I have a complaint about you interrupting my dinner!"

"My records indicate that you had a complaint regarding the way an employee was following his company's policies. Do you care to elaborate?"

"Yeah, can you get that place shut down? Can you fire that guy?"

"No, that's not really my area. My area has more to do with karmic justice." The pale man began scribbling on his clipboard.

"Karmic? What's that? Are you some kind of freak? Get off my property before I call the cops!"

The old man slammed the door in the pale man's face and turned around to go back to his chair, but the pale man was suddenly inside, right in front of him, holding his clipboard.

"What!? Get out of my house!!!" the old man yelled.

The pale man tore the top sheet off his legal pad, handed it to the old man, and tucked the clipboard under his arm.

"You are hereby ordered to cease and desist from all temporal operations, both present and future. From this moment on, you are being reassigned to a new plane of existence. In the meantime, you will be required to complete a standard metaphysical training seminar to help you deal with the issues that brought you to the point of cosmic intervention. Someone will be along shortly to escort you to your next destination. Thank you for your cooperation, and I look forward to our next meeting. Good luck on your journey."

And with that, the pale man was gone, and the house was silent, save for the television, still flickering in the corner.

"I'd like to solve the puzzle Pat!"

"Go right ahead, Stever!"

"'Don't Fear the Reaper By Blue Oyster Cult!'"

"You are correct!" Pat exclaimed, and the audience burst into wild, cheering applause.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nishna Valley Bakery Project

As most of you probably know, my family used to run a bakery. That ended a few years back, even though my parents can't seem to give it up, and are still constantly baking for people. :p

Anyway, last semester, our final project for one of my advertising classes was to create a logo, an advertisement, and a menu for any restaurant or bakery, real or fictional. So I decided to resurrect Nishna Valley Bakery. It turned out better than I thought it would, and now I wish it still existed so they could use my stuff. :p




I did two variations for the logo, even though I only used one in the final material.


This was the ad. I decided to imagine an alternate reality where NVB never ended, and we opened up a physical location.


And this was the menu. It's probably one of the most complicated things I've put together from nothing. Everything, even the woodgrain on the plaque behind the logo, I created from nothing. I had to follow a tutorial for the woodgrain, but everything else I just made up as I went. I even drew all the pictures freehand with my mouse.

So that was the project. Do you own a bakery and need some menus? As you can see, I have baked-good-drawing-skillz to spare, so feel free to hire me for all your pie drawing needs. :p

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The REAL Story of Little Red Riding Hood


The last time I worked on this story was May 11th, 2014. I had written a few other "Real" fairy tales around that time, and I had planned for this one to be a sequel to my Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. You can find that HERE if you're curious. But after writing the first act, I kind of got lost.  I always planned to get back to it, but I'd never found the right way to continue the story.

Last semester I took another fiction writing class. I needed to write a story approximately twenty pages long in order to pass the class, and I had no idea what to write about. A few other people were talking about finally finishing stories they'd worked on a long time ago, and then I remembered this one. I thought about revisiting it, but didn't make my mind up until some of the other finished stories started coming in.

No one else in the class had anything like this story. Almost every story that was turned in was some kind of a romantic tragedy or story about suicide. They were all mostly dark, violent, and depressing. There were a few exceptions here and there, and some people did actually have some great stuff, but no one else was writing any comedy. After a while I really wanted some levity in that class, so eventually I decided, that the way that was going to happen, was for me to open this story back up.

I procrastinated, like I usually do, until about three weeks before it was due. I really had no idea how to pick it back up. I loved my first act, but I didn't know where to take it after that. When I finally had an idea, I worked on it straight for hours. Every day I spent at least a minimum of two hours, sometimes far longer, writing and rewriting the story until I was finally happy with it.

When I finally turned it in, it was a huge hit. Everyone loved it, multiple people told me it was their favorite story of the semester, and one guy, on the day of the critique, walked into class, dropped all of his stuff dramatically, spun around, pointed at me and exclaimed, "You! Thank you! You turned my whole f$@#!%g day around!!!" It was the nicest expletive that's ever been directed at me. :p

There were still issues with it of course, but after the critique day, I had a ton of pointers from the class, so I knew how it needed to be improved. By the end of the semester I had finished it, and it was probably the longest peice of fiction I'd done so far. It's probably not perfect, but I am still quite happy with it. I hope you'll enjoy it too. :)

Red & Gold

(The REAL Story of Little Red Riding Hood)
Jonathan North

Sirens screamed and spotlights scoured the edge of the woods as Goldilocks ran into the darkness. She had been a prisoner at Emerald City Juvenile Corrections for a year and a half on multiple charges, breaking and entering, destruction of property, assault; and those were just the charges in the Three Bears’ case. Who knows what else she might have done that she was never charged with.

By the time she’d come up with a plan of escape, she could not take one more day in this hellish green prison. She was sick of the food, she was sick of the emerald jumpsuits, she was sick of this hideous prison haircut that made her look like a Munchkin, but most of all, she was sick of being told what to do.

Goldilocks was used to being able to do pretty much whatever she wanted. She was only twelve, but for all intents and purposes, she was on her own. She had never known her father, and her mother was always off somewhere drinking, or gambling, or doing yoga with her girlfriends. Sometimes all three at once.

A few months ago Goldilocks had made friends with one of the wardens, a wolf who was sympathetic to her story. He too had had a rough childhood, and told her he saw a lot of himself in her. He’d purposely looked the other way as she made her escape, and made sure to give her a head start before pulling the alarm.

Goldilocks was not heading home. Her mother had been out betting on the gnome fights, gambling away her last unemployment check the day Goldilocks was arrested, so they got her on charges of child neglect. She’d been in prison for as long as Goldilocks had, so going home wasn’t even an option, even if she’d wanted to.

~

The only member of her family that Goldilocks could ever count on, and the only one she even liked, was her grandmother. Her grandmother was her idol. She’d been an assassin in her day, going by the name "The Red Shawl," she had done plenty of things that would make the most hardened criminals whimper in fear, crying and sucking their thumbs.

A few years earlier, a number of particularly nasty jobs had taken their toll on her, and The Red Shawl had decided to retire. She had emerged from those final battles victorious of course, that pack of wolves, Biff the Giant, the two-headed dragon of Gelth, not to mention that ogress and her seven husbands, they were all deader than doornails. But that had been such a stressful day that she’d had to stay in bed recovering for almost a week, and she just hated having to miss her Zumba and water aerobics classes. So at the age of 72, she’d decided it was time to hang up her shawl, and she moved into a little cabin in the forest.

~

Goldilocks fled over the river and through the woods until she could no longer hear the sirens behind her. She had no idea how far it was to her grandmother’s house, so when she came upon an old shack that seemed to have no one home, she broke the door in, climbed into the bed, and immediately fell asleep.

~

The next morning, she awoke to the glorious smell of gingerbread wafting through the entire house. She sat up in the bed and saw a little old lady hunched over a fancy new Maytag brand cauldron.

"Who are you?" Goldilocks asked nervously, not sure whether or not the old woman would be upset about the door she had broken, or the fact that she had spent the night in her bed.

"Well, my name is Grunhildabeth, but I think a better question is, who are you?" the old lady asked, a slight smile playing at the corner of her mouth. "Why are you here?"

"My name is... Pollyanna..." Goldilocks lied, thinking it would be best to keep her identity a secret. Pollyanna had been this extremely annoying little girl that Goldilocks had met in Emerald City. The girl would NOT shut up about how glad, Glad, GLAD! she had been that she had been caught in the middle of her candy spree because this would give her a chance to turn her life around.

"Oh, really?" Grunhildabeth asked, hobbling over to her on a gnarled looking walking stick. "THE Pollyanna? The infamous tri-county candy thief?"

"Um... Yes?"

"Because I’ve met Pollyanna." the old woman continued, shaking her stick in Goldilocks’ direction. "I caught her tearing the shingles off my garage last year. I forgave her and offered her a place to stay while she hid from the police, but after a couple of days she just up and bashed me over the head with a lamp and fled! For no reason!” She shook her head sadly. “I have no idea why; I'm such a sweet little old lady.”

Suddenly she perked up. “Care for a doorknob?” she asked cheerfully. “It's dark chocolate coconut truffle!" She bent over and pulled the knob off the door that Goldilocks had broken down. "It's ok, I'm baking up a fresh door right now."

"Your door is edible?" Asked Goldilocks, taking a bite from the doorknob.

"Oh, yes." Grunhildabeth replied. "My whole house is. I just love children so much; my house is specially made for any who might happen to wander by. Help yourself to any furniture or appliances if you like. I can always make more. Care for a hunk of ceiling fan?”

The old woman reached up with her walking stick and knocked down a large slab of chocolate. Unfortunately, the fan was still on, and the missing blade set it off balance. The whole thing rocked back and forth a few times before it snapped off the ceiling, flew across the room, and took out a huge plate glass window.

"Whoops!” Grunhildabeth said cheerfully, handing the fan blade to Goldilocks. “Oh well, I’ll just add sugar glass to my to-do list! So, anyway, who are you really? And why exactly are you wearing that green jumpsuit?"

Goldilocks looked at the old woman like she was insane, but took a bite of the fan blade anyway. It was actually pretty amazing. "Okay, fine. I'm not Pollyanna," she admitted, taking another bite of the fan blade. "But I can't tell you who I am. Other than your awesome candy skills, I have no reason to trust you."

"Well, those green jumpsuits aren't exactly haute couture you know. It's obvious you’re here because you need a place to hide. But I really don’t mind, you can stay here with me. My home is your home. I LOVE children, and I really don’t care what you did. This is a 100% judgement free home. Judgement free, not sugar free!" She cackled to herself.

"I’m really sorry, but I can't stay," Goldilocks said, handing the fan blade back to the old woman. "As delicious as this place is, I really need to get to my grandmother's house. By now she’ll probably have heard what happened to me, and she’ll be worried."

"Please, at least just stay for a couple of days." the old woman pleaded. "I'll make you a cherry chocolate cheesecake filled marshmallow fondant throw pillow with licorice cross-stitch and fringe!"
"Sorry, I really need to go."

"No,” the old woman said, suddenly deadly serious. "You can never leave."

"What?"

"You heard me. You aren't leaving. Ever." Grunhildabeth pointed her walking stick at the oven which flew open, shooting out the new door which fixed itself in the doorway and locked into place. She turned and pointed her stick at Goldilocks, causing a huge cage made of thick candy canes to materialize around her. “You’re going to stay here, and you are going to eat my house, and you are going to get nice and fat, because I am sick of eating my own appliances, and I am starving for a fresh, juicy child!”

"Forget this, you frickin’ cannibal!" Goldilocks yelled, and grabbed the bars of the cage with all her might. She had spent the last year and a half doing almost nothing other than working out in the prison yard, and summoning all her strength, she snapped out two of the oversized peppermint sticks, and leapt out of the cage. "Take this, you witch!" she screamed, and cracked the old woman upside the head, knocking her backwards into the cauldron. She kicked open the freshly baked door, and ran for her life.

Ignoring the old woman’s shrieks and wails, Goldilocks ran back into the woods, and kept running until she could no longer hear the angry cursing in the distance.

~

Goldilocks walked in silence for a while until she eventually found the path again. At least she hoped it was the right path, they all look the same when you’re this deep in the forest. She followed the path until she came to an intersection, marked by a sign with a bunch of arrows, all pointing in different directions. One of them was pointing back in the direction of ‘Grunhildabeth’s Candy Cottage,’ and another arrow, pointing down an overgrown path, was marked ‘Mother Melgrid’s Tower Salon: We Don’t Do Haircuts!’ There were a seven small signs underneath those, all pointing in the same direction, marked with the names, Happy, Sappy, Grumpy, Dumpy, Sneezy, Wheezy, and Kevin, and below that was a small, obviously newer sign that simply read ‘Grandmother’s House.’

“Well, that’s convenient,” she said to herself, looking at the arrow that seemed to be pointing her toward her grandmother. “I hope it’s actually MY Grandmother, and not some random old lady.” She figured it probably was her grandmother. What other grandmother would want to live out in the middle of the forest? Besides that old witch of course. And the witch probably wasn’t even a grandmother. Who would have ever wanted to marry that ugly sack of wrinkles?

Just then, she got the distinct feeling that she was being watched. Afraid that Grunhildabeth might have followed her, she decided to go back through the forest and try to keep going in the general direction of the arrow, staying close enough to the path that she wouldn’t get lost, but far enough in that she could remain hidden.

As she was about to go back into the forest, two little children burst out of the trees and crashed into her, sending one of them, a little boy, tumbling to the ground. "Owie, mister!" he exclaimed, rubbing his rear end.

"I'm not a mister." Goldilocks sneered, "What’s wrong with you?”

"Well, you're wearing pants," the little boy said. "And you have short hair. Only boys wear pants and have short hair."

"Someone needs to let go of their antiquated gender stereotypes, little girl," Goldilocks glared at him.
"I’m not a little girl!”

“I’m the girl!” his sister exclaimed.

“See?” Goldilocks replied. “It doesn’t feel very nice to be misgendered, now does it?”

“What?” the little boy asked, totally confused.

"Can you help us?" The little girl interrupted. "We're lost and we need food."

"Yeah! We're starving!" the boy agreed loudly.

"Oh, hey, yeah!" Goldilocks exclaimed, feigning excitement. "You kids should go that way." She pointed to the sign and motioned behind her, back in the direction she’d come from. "There's a huge house all made of candy and gingerbread and chocolate and junk!”

“Junk? It’s made of garbage?” the little boy asked.

“Not literal junk, geez!” she said, reverting back to annoyance. “It’s a figure of speech! The house is made of candy! You can eat it!” She switched back to faux enthusiasm. “Plus, there’s a nice lady who lives there who will give you all the food you want! And I think she’s magic!”

"Really? Awesome! Thanks mister!" the little boy exclaimed, and the children ran off in the direction of the witch’s cottage.

"Yay! Run! Go get that sugar!" she hollered after them. "Good riddance," she said to herself, and continued on her way, no longer worried that Grunhildabeth would come looking for her.

~

Goldilocks followed the path for a few more hours. Around three in the afternoon she found a small apple orchard and decided to stop to get something to eat. A sign on the fence around the orchard read, ‘Queen Grimillian’s Totally Not Poisoned Apples!’ “Hmm,” Goldilocks said to herself. “Sounds legit,” and she helped herself to a few of the biggest apples she could find.

As she ate, she thought she heard someone walking up the path outside the orchard, and instinctively she reached for the taser in her pocket. Unfortunately, it had been confiscated when she was arrested, so she shimmied up a tree and out of sight. She really needed to get a new weapon ASAP. As she watched from the branches, a wolf appeared around the corner and sniffed the air. Suddenly it looked directly up at her.

“My, my, my… What have we here?” asked the wolf, in a deep, powerful voice that sounded like a rich fusion of Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones. “A little girl like yourself should not be alone out here! What would your mother say?”

“Steppen?” Goldilocks asked. “Is that you? What are you doing out here?”

“I could ask you the same thing!” the wolf replied. It was the same wolf who’d helped her escape the Emerald. “Why are you out here? I thought you were going to your grandmother’s as soon as I’d gotten you out!”

“I’m on my way,” Goldilocks said, climbing down from the tree. “My grandmother lives out here somewhere, but I have no idea how far away she is.”

“Well, lucky for you, I was the one who found you, and not one of the other wardens. There have been people combing the woods for you since last night, you know.”

“Oh,” Goldilocks said. In all the excitement with the witch, she’d kind of forgotten that there might be a manhunt out looking for her.

“I have an idea on how to get them to call off the search,” the wolf told her, “But you’re going to need to change your clothes.”

“Oh, believe me, I’d love nothing more, but if you haven’t noticed, these woods seem to be rather lacking in Walmarts.”

“Okay, here’s what we’ll do. I’m pretty sure there’s a house not far from here, I can smell smoke from a wood burning stove. We’ll stop there and get you some clothes. Then you give me your jumpsuit, and I’ll tear it up, and take it back to Emerald. They’ll just assume you got eaten by a bear or something, and give up looking.”

“A bear, really? You realize I took down three of those on my own, they’ll never believe I let one get the drop on me!”

“Okay, fine, we’ll set it on fire and tell them a dragon got you!”

“Now that’s more like it!” Goldilocks exclaimed gleefully. “I’d never stand a chance against a dragon!”

“You’re a very odd little girl,” the wolf told her. “You know that, right?”

“I have been told that before,” she said, smiling.

“Okay, let’s get going,” he said. “We’ve got a death to fake.”

~

They set out on their way and after a while they came upon a small, brick house. Goldilocks knocked on the door and a moment later it opened a crack. A little pig poked its head out, but it took one look at the wolf and squealed, “Not again!” and slammed the door in their faces. From behind the door they heard several deadbolts click, and shortly they heard the sound of an engine roaring to life. They looked around to the back of the house and saw the pig fly out of the garage on a motorcycle as fast as it could go.

“Nice!” exclaimed Goldilocks, and picked up a rock, chucking it through a huge plate glass window.

“Well, that’s one way to do it,” the wolf said. “Or we could have just gone through the garage.”

“Yeah, but where’s the fun in that?” Goldilocks asked, carefully climbing over the glass.

Inside the house, they found some clothes that fit her. The pig was about her height, but he was much rounder, so she had to use a belt to keep the pants up.

“Well, this’ll have to do,” Goldilocks said, stepping out of the bathroom and handing the jumpsuit to Steppen. “Not sure about the smell though.” The clothes smelled like mud and old ham, with a hint of… taco seasoning? Whatever it was it was gross.

“You’ll just have to put up with it I’m afraid,” the wolf said. “This is the only way to get them off your scent.”

Goldilocks gave him a look, and he laughed.

“Thanks so much for that,” she said sarcastically.

“Don’t mention it,” The wolf said, ripping a leg off the jumpsuit.

“Wait!” Goldilocks exclaimed. “I thought we were going to set it on fire!”

“Oh, right.” The wolf spit out the leg and found a lighter next to the pig’s stove.

Outside, they burned away about half the material, but made sure that the prisoner ID number was left intact.

“Why don’t you stay the night here,” the wolf said. “It’ll be getting dark soon, and I doubt that pig’ll be back. I’ll take the jumpsuit back to Emerald, hopefully they’ll call back the search party right away, and you should be good to go in the morning.”

“Thank you so much, Steppen,” Goldilocks said. “If I was that kind of person, I would hug you right now.”

“Please don’t,” the wolf said, smiling slightly. “Goodbye now. Good luck.”

“Thank you! I hope I’ll see you again someday!”

“Definitely!”

~

The next day Goldilocks set out again. She walked for a few hours before she finally spotted a small house off in the distance. Grandmother’s cottage! She’d finally made it! She knocked on the door, but no one answered, and the door creaked open slightly as it had not been latched. She pushed it open and found the whole place was a mess. Chairs upside down, the bedclothes were everywhere, the nightstand and mirror were both overturned and broken, and there were gouges in the floors and walls, like someone had gone crazy with an axe. An axe which was now lying in pieces on the ground outside, next to the back door, which had been broken out of its frame. Upon closer inspection, Goldilocks realized the the axe looked like it had been bitten in half, bitten in half by something with very sharp teeth. There was no blood though, so maybe her grandmother was still okay? She was a trained assassin after all.

Goldilocks ran out the back door. “Grandmother?” she called. “Grandmother!?” There was no answer. “GRANDMOTHER!?” This was pointless. If her grandmother was still alive she was going to have to find her herself. But first she would need a change of clothes and a weapon. The little pig’s clothes were rank, and she was even more eager to get rid of them than she had been the jumpsuit.

She went back inside and opened the closet, glad that she and her grandmother were roughly the same size. She pulled out a dark colored dress, and then she saw it. There, inside the closet, was her grandmother’s infamous red cloak. “Perfect,” she said to herself, and put it on over the dress. If her grandmother was dead, she was sure she would have wanted her to take it, and if she was alive, she could return it when she found her.

Glad to finally be out of the smelly clothes, Goldilocks began searching the house for a weapon. Obviously the axe was out, but there had to be something else around here. Her grandmother would not have become one of the most feared assassins without a collection of weapons.

She looked in all the kitchen cupboards, under the bed, even in the bathroom. Finally she began pulling books off the bookshelf, hoping to find a hollowed-out book hiding a gun, but when she pulled out the Encyclopedia of Cupcakes, the bookshelf shuddered. Creaking and groaning, it pulled away from the wall and slid to the side, revealing a staircase leading down to an armory, almost the same size as the main room of the house!

The armory was absolutely FULL of weapons. There were swords and daggers, guns and crossbows, maces and mace, there was even a large selection of tasers! Her favorite! Goldilocks grabbed a taser that looked a lot like the one she’d used to take down the Papa Bear, and a can of mace, like the one she’d used on the Mamma Bear. Knowing that her grandmother was probably unarmed, she grabbed a huge sword, her grandmother’s weapon of choice. She thought about grabbing a gun too, just in case, but none of them were loaded, and she didn’t know how to load them. Oh well, three weapons should be plenty. Goldilocks found a sheath and strapped the sword to her side, and set out with the cloak covering her and the weapon completely.

~

Goldilocks followed the trail as best as she could for about a half mile before she came to a clearing with a pond and cave on its shore. She thought she heard noises coming from the cave, so she crept closer.

“I’ll never give up, you murderer!” a familiar deep voice shouted. “I know you killed my parents! You will pay!”

“Steppen?” Goldilocks asked aloud.

“Well it’s a good thing I’m a patient woman!” she heard her grandmother yell. “As soon as I can get my hand on one of those cave spikes, you’ll be dead in a second!”

“Well, why don’t you let me go, so you can grab one?”

“Nice try, you smelly bathmat! I’m not going anywhere! As soon as I’ve finished with you, I’m going to dye you pink and turn you into a toilet seat cover!”

“You won’t live long enough to try!”

Goldilocks crept into the cave and saw something that was, quite frankly, pretty hilarious. Her grandmother, a woman in her 70’s, still in her nightgown, had apparently wrestled the wolf to the floor of the cave, and was sitting on his back, pulling his front paws up over his head so he couldn’t move.

“Grandmother!” she shouted.

“Goldilocks!” her grandmother cried in surprise.

“Steppen!?” Goldilocks shouted. “What are you doing!?”

“Wait,” Goldilocks’ grandmother said, “You two know each other!?”

“What do you mean, what am I doing!?” Steppen continued, ignoring her. “I’m getting my revenge! Your grandmother killed my parents!”

“What!?” Goldilocks exclaimed, thoroughly confused. “What do you mean? How do you know?”

“When I was just a pup, my parents disappeared without a trace. There were rumors that they had been slaughtered by an ancient evil cloaked in crimson! When you told me all about your grandmother’s “amazing exploits,” I knew she was the one who’d killed them! That cloak you’re wearing is proof enough! The Red Shawl!”

“You don’t know that! How could you know that?”

“Come on dear,” Goldilocks’ grandmother said, “Let’s be real. If his parents were wolves, I probably did kill them. Now will someone please tell me what’s going on?”

“He was one of the wardens at Emerald.” Goldilocks explained. “He helped me escape! I thought he was my friend!”

“We could never be friends after what your grandmother did to my parents! I was just a puppy! She murdered them!” He turned to her grandmother, “You murdered them!”

“I was hired to do a job,” Goldilocks’ grandmother said. “It wasn’t personal.”

“Yeah, well it is now!” The wolf thrashed with all his might and threw her across the room. She rolled into a row of stalagmites, breaking several of them off, and was still.

“Stop it!” Goldilocks shouted drawing the sword. “I don’t want to hurt you, but if you’ve hurt my grandmother I will! Why did you help me? If we weren’t friends, why would you go through all that trouble to help me escape?”

“I did like you at first, I wasn’t lying when I said you reminded me of myself, but once I figured out who your grandmother was, it didn’t matter. I helped you escape so you would lead me to her. I’ve been looking for her for years, I couldn’t let this opportunity to finally get my revenge pass me by. I’m sorry, Goldilocks, this was never about you. I wish you weren’t here to have to see this.”

The wolf leapt toward her grandmother with his teeth bared, but with one swift motion, Goldilocks’ grandmother leapt up, throwing one of the stalagmites with all her might, stabbing the wolf in the chest.

“Well it seems like luck is on your side, old woman,” gasped the wolf, staggering backwards.

“Yes, it would seem so.”

Goldilocks ran toward them.

“You know I’m not giving up, right?” he said weakly. “You’re just going to have to kill me.”

“Why, Steppen?” Goldilocks asked. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

“Oh, but it does,’ the wolf replied. “All my life has been leading me to this moment. From the moment my parents died, I made it my mission to seek justice on their behalf. I can’t let their murders go unavenged.”

“Hand me my sword, dear,” her grandmother said, and Goldilocks passed her the blade.

The wolf looked at her pointedly. “I’m sorry, but if you’re going to stand in my way, you’re going to have to go too.”

Summoning the last of his strength, the wolf leapt towards Goldilocks, but she was prepared, and before his teeth could even brush her skin, he was on the ground, writhing with 50,000 volts. As he lay twitching on the floor of the cave, Goldilocks’ grandmother plunged her sword into the wolf, and he was dead.

“Grandmother!” Goldilocks cried, dropping the taser and running forward.

“Oh, Goldilocks,” she replied, as they fell into an embrace.

“I’m so sorry,” Goldilocks said. “I never should have told him about you!”

“Don’t worry about it dear, you didn’t know. Besides, I’ve been needing new carpets anyway. He’ll make some fine mats for the bathroom.”

Goldilocks laughed quietly.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” her grandmother asked, pulling the sword out of the wolf. Last I knew they’d sent you up the river!”

“Well, that’s kind of the problem,” Goldilocks said. “I sort of need a place to stay. I may or may not have just escaped from prison and faked my own death.”

“Oh, that’s my little girl!” her grandmother exclaimed happily, putting an arm around her as they left the cave. “Of course you can stay with me! After what happened this morning, I’m pretty sure I’ll be needing help fixing my house anyway!”

“Thank you, grandmother! Oh, and I’m assuming you’ll be wanting this back.” Goldilocks began to take off the red cloak, but her grandmother stopped her.

“No dear, you keep it. After your amazing performance today, I think you deserve to keep it. Who knows. Maybe one day you can follow in my footsteps. Perhaps you could be the next Red Shawl.”

“Really? I know how much this cloak means to you.”

“Think nothing of it,” her grandmother said, stopping at the pond outside the cave to clean her sword. “I’ve lost count of how many of those things that I’ve owned. You really think that I’ve had the same cloak for 50 years of assassining? Those things wear out way too easily, especially when you fight things with claws!”

Goldilocks handed her the sheath.

“I can make myself another cloak,” her grandmother said, strapping the sword to her side. “You keep this one.”

“Thank you, Grandmother. I’ll wear it always.”

Her grandmother laughed. “Well, at least until it gets shredded in a bear fight or something.”

“Hey, I came out of that fight without a scratch! And there were three of them!”

“Of course, but I meant wild bears. Oatmeal eating, chair sitting, bed using, domesticated bears don’t count. Plus, one of those was a baby!” her grandmother said with a mischievous smile.

“Grandmother…” Goldilocks said, laughing.

“Goldilocks…” she replied, playfully mocking her tone, then stopped. “Goldilocks. Hmm… How would you like a nickname? If you’re going to follow in my footstep, you need an alias.”

“Really?” Goldilocks asked.

“Of course!” her grandmother exclaimed. “Goldilocks sounds too sweet. Too innocent. Why do you think I called myself The Red Shawl? I couldn’t go around killing monsters with a name like Rosemary, could I?”

“Well, I guess not,” Goldilocks replied. “But what do you think I should be called?”

“I think that cloak really suits you,” her grandmother said. “Let’s call you, Red.”

Friday, June 2, 2017

Umbrella Ave.


This summer I have been working on a ton of different projects, photography, graphic design, video editing, all with the end goal of making a well rounded portfolio that I can use to apply for internships and jobs. Now, I was planning on waiting until that site was live to share much of anything, but I have been working on something, literally all day, and it turned out so much better than I ever could have hoped, so I'm sharing it right now!

My sister-in-law, Alex, has a small business where she sells one-of-a-kind, handmade toys and art, called Umbrella Ave. Last year I filmed her and her creations for well over an hour, in the hopes of getting enough footage to make a commercial for her business. When I first went through the footage last year, I didn't really know how I was going to use it. There was a lot of bad lighting, poor sound, and long stretches of silence. At the time I didn't really have the time to dedicate myself to the project, so I put it away, and planned to get back to it when I had more time.

Well, this summer, I have forced myself to have time to work on this kind of stuff, and after starting a YouTube channel where I am reviewing movies and TV shows, (more on that later) I felt like I had gotten back into the editing groove, and gained enough new knowledge that I could finally tackle Alex's commercial. Plus, she has a big art show coming up this weekend, and I wanted to surprise her by finishing the video in time for her to play it at the show.

I started it this morning, and it was really slow going at first. I was really struggling to try to figure out how to turn around an hour's worth of semi-worthless footage into a commercial she could use to promote her business. I was clipping out some decent shots here and there, whittling away at some of the worst of it, when I started noticing that in our small talk while she worked, there was actually some good little anecdotes about her work and why she does what she does. So instead of just making a commercial, I switched gears and I decided to use the clips of her stories, overlaid with footage of her just working, along with some shots of her creations, and make them into a mini-documentary!

It is now well after one in the morning, I just finished uploading the video to YouTube, and I am as close to being thrilled with something I've created as I've ever been. I've done video editing before, and I'm not usually completely happy with it, but not this time! I am really shocked at how well this went together, so I had to make this post to share it right now, in the middle of the night. You can watch the video here!



If you liked what you've seen and you want to look into Alex's work some more, I'm including links below.

Alex's Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/UmbrellaAve
Alex's Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/umbrellaave
Watch another of Alex's creations come to life:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMiakfobPWE

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This Month in Internet (May 2017)



Let's start this post by getting the bad news out of the way first. Remember in my last post how I was so excited that Avi Kaplan was starting a side project in addition to Pentatonix? It isn't a side project. He is leaving the group. I should have known, but I didn't think it was possible. As long as they find another bass as good as Avi, Pentatonix can survive without him, but it won't be ever quite the same. Anyway, here's the next song from his new EP. It's amazing. As sad as I am about PTX, I know Avriel & the Sequoias is going to be amazing.



Okay, let's lighten the mood a bit, shall we? Here's a sketch by Studio C that has me in stitches every time I watch it. And I've watched it quite a lot. :p



You haven't lived until you've listened to Steve Urkel as remixed by the amazing remix master extraordinaire, Melodysheep.



Here's something quite a bit different. I recently discovered a YouTuber who goes by the name Peter Draws, as that is what he mostly does. However, there is no drawing in this video, but it's one of the best videos he's ever made. And make sure you watch until the very end.



Lindsey Stirling has been busy. She released several videos and a full length documentary this month! This was her best video of the month, a thematic sequel to her Shatter Me video.



And then The Piano Guys came back with a bang! This is their best video in ages!



And the trifecta is complete with an amazing new Peter Hollens video! You're Welcome, from Disney's Moana, with Andrew Huang!



Then Blimey Cow released a new Homeschoolers video, several points of which were, as usual, uncomfortably real. :p



And speaking of real, this video from Glove and Boots, BEAUTIFULLY explains my social media policy. It uses a little more language than I myself would, so, fair warning, but the sentiments expressed are exactly how I feel.



Next, we have a brand new video from the other remix master extraordinaire, Pogo!



Next up we have an AMAZING video from Funny or Die. However, unless you and I share a similar taste for absurd humor, you are unlikely to find this as side-splittingly hilarious as I do. Side note, have I ever mentioned how much I love Louie Anderson? The man is a treasure.



And finally, we have a brand new, amazing video from Puddles Pity Party. Normally when I feature the most amazing clown in the universe, it's with Postmodern Jukebox. Not that he's not good on his own, it's just that he's usually at his best with the musical styling of Scott Bradlee and Co. Well not this time! This video was (mostly) on his own and it's amazing!!! Side note, P³ is on this season of America's Got Talent! I am so excited! I hope he goes all the way!



And that was May! There were a few more videos than I normally put in one of these posts, but it's probably going to vary from month to month, depending on how many great videos I see. This month we had a lot of great ones! I'll see you again in June!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Catch Up 3: Everything Else

So, the past two days I covered everything from the holidays that I'd missed, today, I'm just going to finish it off with everything that happened between January and May.

First up: I learned to knit!


On my way back to Ames for the Spring semester, I stopped at a Barnes & Nobel, where I found a really cheap knitting kit on clearance. I had been talking to a couple people about how I'd kind of wanted to learn, so I impulse bought it on sight.


And I made a scarf!


After I started knitting grandma found this (very) old skein of yarn in a desk and gave it to me. I took me well over an hour, maybe two, to untangle it. :p


Then I started buying more stuff and started a new scarf.


It was done in just a couple of weeks!


I was pretty happy with it!


Then I got some ring looms to help me knit hats.


These were for Shaina, and she loved them. :)


There was a flock of Canada geese on central campus one day!


They just made themselves at home.


There was a lot of melting happening, so maybe they thought it was a lake?

In late January I came home for a family get together, (where I took no pictures) but since I was going to be home, and since we'd had so much fun at the last one, and since we'd already been planning to binge watch the brand new Netflix Series of Unfortunate Events, my cousins decided to throw another themed tea party.


It was not quite as themed as before. No real decorations or costumes.
A lot of it was just stuff they wanted an excuse to make. Like more scones. :p


And eat. :p


Some of the sandwiches had mushrooms on them.


And some had horseradish.
If you've read book 11, then you know why these things are appropriate. :p


I don't think the tea was themed. I just wanted a picture of my cup. :)


Peppermint cream cheese bon bons.
Peppermint being the themed ingredient. Book 3, the Baudelaires were allergic. :)


We also had cold soup. (See book 3 again. :p)


These were basically Little Debbie cakes with gummy snakes frosting'd on.
A nod to the Incredibly Deadly Viper from book 2. (And 13!)

And that was that event. Like I said before, I didn't take any picture at the family thing I'd come home for, but Jackson was with us too, and I did get a couple pictures of him. :p


He was getting swaddled. :)


So cute! :p

The next big thing might be news to you if you haven't seen me in awhile: I got contacts!


I've had glasses since I was 6, so this is kind of a big deal.
This was a picture I took to text to Shaina when I first got them.

The next event was another trip to Minnesota. I was doing a job shadow at my cousin Kyle's workplace, and Shaina and Sasha came along for the ride so we could visit Mandi and Co. Sadly, I again neglected to take many pictures. :( I did take a bunch this one night though. :)


Trinity decided to bury Shaina alive. :p


She wanted me to document it.


Shaina found it hilarious. :)


Then Trinity decided that wasn't enough.


She wanted to model.


And then she wanted my phone. :p


And proceeded to take pictures of everyone and everything.


Most of them were of the floor and halves of faces, so I pruned before posting. :p


Mandi knows what kind of kids she's raising: Goofballs. :p
Awesome goofballs. :)

My last big event was another job shadow, and I did take a few at this one. I was applying for an internship at IPTV. (PBS) I didn't get it, but I had fun that day anyway. :)


I sat in on two episodes of Iowa Press.


In the first episode they were interviewing former governor of Iowa and former US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.


It was so interesting learning a lot of behind the scenes stuff!


They had these guys standing in the offices.
I think I remember them from PBS pledge drives when I was a kid!

And that's pretty much it. I didn't photograph much else. I am however photographing a LOT of things this summer as I am building a portfolio of my work, photography and otherwise. To do that I'm going to lots of different places and taking a ton of pictures, hoping I'll get just a few awesome ones I can show off in a portfolio. But that means I have tons of other pictures that don't quite make the cut that I can just post on my blog for fun! So stay tuned! I've got lots of stuff coming! I'll leave you with this one picture I took after I got back to Harlan this summer. :)