7.25.2009

Animaniacs Art

Hey guys! I am so excited to show you my latest art masterpieces featuring the Warners! First off, let me turn your attention to the chalk drawings that I first did of Dot and Yakko.
I know, Dot's head is wrong and Yakko's mouth is weird. Don't remind me. I did these about a week ago anyway. They were done from memory though, so it must count for something. "Where did the chalk-board come from?", you might not be wondering. Well I'll tell you. While me and Bettina were adventuring in Boston, Shira took the time to paint a section of our kitchen wall with this special black paint that turns any wall into a chalkboard! Since then it's been much easier to jot down phone messages and do cute doodles and then erase them whenever we please. This is a good solution for creative little ones who love to do stuff like draw on the walls. It's so much fun!
<--- And now, for my big achievement, a doodle of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot hugging Steven Spielberg! This is what I did with a pencil...
And this is what I turned it into using Photoshop! I love eeeet! I swear, this has got to be my best work ever! However, that will not stop me from making even more sketches of these guys, they are so much fun to do! It's as if they leap off the page with their manic energy as soon as you draw the final line! That's the joy I believe in being a cartoonist. The thrill you feel as you make friends with a new character. I wish I were Steven Spielberg in this picture.

Please share your opinions; the comment link is right under the title, you can't miss it.

7.18.2009

How's the week been?

Finally, I'm glad I got my whole story of the Boston trip off my back! I tell you, it was one of the best adventures ever! Since then I've been taking it real easy, maybe a bit too easy. Here's a quick overview of how my past week has gone:
  • Bettina and I have been driving to the library by ourselves (it's fun to have licenses!)
  • Whole family attended a birthday party for 1-year-old Osher July 11 (He's got these big adorable ears and this bright baby-face, and we saw him take his first steps!)
  • Watched movies almost every night ("Wakko's Wish", "Bolt", "Hotel for Dogs", and "Bedtime Stories" are the most recent ones)
  • I've been learning some new Adobe Photoshop tricks, like turning any photo into a painted masterpiece, check it out!
  • Currently reading this Deepak Chopra book called "The Way of The Wizard", 20 lessons about living like Merlin (it's better than it sounds) plus this book about this voice actor, Harlan Hogan and how he got into the business. Never heard of him, but he's a funny bio writer. I'd sure like to be a voice actor someday.
  • All my meals are home-prepared! It's been awesome, because that's where the good stuff comes from; salads, pasta, sandwiches, no need to go out for food when you've got a huge refridgerator with no stranger's stuff in it!
  • Watched "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" on the very day it started showing in theaters July 15 (I had a good time watching it, it's funny at times, but I only got really scared once in the whole movie. Harry's costars have gotten more screentime in this movie than any other HP film, so that's nice for them.)
  • Bettina and I are happily reunited with our adorable cockatiel birds Sasha and Sammy. While me and Bettina were off having good times in Boston, Adam, Shira, and Benny had to care for them all by themselves, and eventually after two weeks of not seeing their "mommies", our boys have gotten a bit hostile. Now that we're back they're easier to handle, but they still hiss at us or make as if to bite us. Do they forgive us for "abandoning" them for so long? Who'll know for sure?
  • I am still zany for Animaniacs and I keep searching on YouTube for any clip I haven't seen before. I'm also learning how to play their theme song on the piano, so I've got the song almost stuck in my head.
  • Last but not least, last Monday us three kids (Bettina, Adam, and me) played a long-awaited game of Monopoly, and I won yet again! We didn't play a full game, but I still won!

7.15.2009

Boston ~ Day 16, The End of Boston Trip '09

July 8~The last day! Finally the moment me and my sis had been waiting for! We both woke up very early, at 6:30 in the morning. We packed away our remaining belongings such as toiletries and notebooks and other stuff, but that only took about an hour, no big whoop. Then we walked to a nearby coin-operated laundromat to wash the bedsheets for the next person who would live there. (Our mom got a new tenant signed up!) It was our first time doing a laundry all by ourselves! Not much to brag about though I suppose, I mean how exciting can you get when the best part is watching the sheets go round and round and tumbling in the dryer? Not much higher. Still, it's a grown-up thing, right? We had to put in the soap, set the dial to the right temperature and press a button. Hard work huh? (Not.)

When we were done with that, we had to give our keys to our renter upstairs, Bob, who would then give the keys to the next person who'd take our room. Then Bettina and I decided to take our last walk around the reservoir. We took the long way around this time. Along the way we spotted a couple chipmunks, and more than a few robins. It's a shame we didn't bring our camera, though. It was half-sunny, half-cloudy on our last day, lovely weather. It felt like a bittersweet moment knowing how soon we would leave. After that, it got more cloudy than rainy, so we stayed inside for the rest of the afternoon and watched Animaniacs cartoons not featuring the Warners (segments like "Chicken Boo" and "Katie Ka-Boom", funny enough on their own, but not as wacky as Yakko, Wakko and Dot), and Michael Jackson music videos.

Then we decided to Skype our family for the last time since in a few hours we'd be going back to Florida. We only got our dad, Benny, because Shira and Adam were out, but it was great talking to him, knowing we'd see him and our family shortly. We told him how we did what we were supposed to do and that we were all packed and rarin' to go. Then we had a small lunch and went back to YouTube. I don't remember how, but we came upon this new cartoon, another Steven Spielberg owned character, "Freakazoid!" He is very very funny! Does anyone growing up in the nineties know what I'm talking about? He's a crazy blue-skinned superhero dude who drives his arch-enemies insane with his zany-ness! He's goofy, he's loud, and he works alone (except for the occasional temporary sidekick). You have to watch him! Search "Freakazoid cartoon" on YouTube and tell me what you think.

Anyway, we watched episodes until 3:00, which turned out to be exactly when we had to pull up stake! We already had all our things packed except for the computer, so we put that away and picked up the four big bags of our stuff and said goodbye as we locked up our room. We stopped at the kitchen to gather our snacks, apples, cereal, bread, and peanut-butter (we hoped to make some sandwiches at the airport, but later the guard confiscated our jar. How about that?) and left the apartment with all our belongings intact. We had to lug the bags to the "T" stop, and we might've missed it, but because of divine time, right after we got on, it started on it's way. We relaxed and wiggled in our seats with excitement until we had to change to the Blue line, and then it was only 4 stops to the airport station. We took a free shuttle to get to the actual airport, and by then we were crazy excited! We had to wait in line to get our boarding passes printed, but this nice lady helped us by using a "do it yourself" machine to print them out, so that was nice and quick.

After that we made it past security (minus peanut butter) and waited for 2 1/2 hours at the gate watching CNN and eating apples, Joe's Os, and plain bread sandwiches (it's all good, we weren't too hungry). The flight was delayed 15 minutes, so the wait was a smooch longer. While we waited we were entertained by overhearing the antics of a young boy whose name didn't come up. He found a penny and hid it in his hat so his older brothers wouldn't get at it, try as they did. Later he went up to the gate where we would soon be boarding and he told the lady at the gate that he wanted to be first in line when he and his family went on the plane. Such a cute little guy. (Turns out he didn't get on first, because first they boarded people who were in wheelchairs and also parents carrying babies under 2 years. Oh well.)

It was very exciting when we got on the plane. This time we got window seats, and so takeoff was awesome to watch. Also we were able to witness the most glorious sunset ever in the history of glorious sunsets! Above the stratosphere, the sky was clear as can be, and down below we could see what looked like mountains and hills of puffy white clouds. It was like seeing what Antarctica looked like, only it was sunny. Anyway, the activity of watching the sky occupied us for quite a while, but after the sun completely set and we couldn't see any more light in the sky (although we could make out many tiny lights down on land), I took a nice nap. I couldn't sleep as well as I would've liked because it was hard to make my body forget that it was flying in a plane, but I had an okay rest.

At around 10:45 the flight finally ended (the landing was smooth and I was up by this time). We were quick to get out of the plane because our seats were near the front of the plane. As soon as we got out I found a payphone to call our parents to pick us up. We sat outside on a bench to wait for them, and I found it strange and familiar to feel again the humid warmth of a night in South Florida. It took a while for them to get there, but when they did we recognized our car right away and excitedly went up to meet them. As soon as Adam got out of our car, he saluted us with a "HELLOOOO Sisters!" So sweet, because the Warner Brothers always say "HELLOOOO Nurse!". Anyway it was wonderful to ride home, and talk to Shira, Benny and Adam face to face again. Mostly we told about how our last day had been, and we also chatted with Adam about Animaniacs snippets. When we got back home, Shira had a homecooked dinner ready and waiting for us to enjoy. Stirfried vegetables and couscous! Even though it was a bit late at night to be eating, we were quite hungry and so we had the delicious meal.

When it was time for us to get ready for bed, it felt good to use my good old electric toothbrush instead of the manual one I've been using for 2 weeks. I remember just before I fell asleep I felt as though I were still in a dream, that the next day I would wake up in Boston again. But here I sit, a full week later, finally finishing the epic saga that was our adventures in Boston. In the words of the great Yakko Warner,

"Goodnight Everybody!"

7.14.2009

Boston ~ Days 13, 14, and 15: Last days!

July 5~Today we had a very relaxing day after all the excitement and fireworks from the previous day. We went to Coolidge Corner by train to buy bagels from Kupel's just like last week, only this week we didn't hang out at the three-parks for very long. Instead we decided to spend an afternoon at Revere Beach, which took an hour or two to get to. We had to change from the Green Line Train to the Blue Line. Anyway, we brought our bagel picnic and our bathing suits, and we braved the freezing Atlantic Ocean. (We went in up to our necks, so yay for bragging rights. Hah!)
(Also, Bettina found a bumble bee that was drowning and she saved it. She stood very still and waited very patiently for it to dry off and fly away. It's nice to think that perhaps the bee might tell all her friends never to bother Bettina seeing as she saved her life. I'm using the pronoun she here because bees are mostly female anyway.)
After being in the cold water it was nice to just lie in the sun and get a little tanned. We enjoyed bagel sandwiches as well, and we hung out there for a good couple hours. In that time I taught Bettina the last 2 verses of the Yakko's World song, and by the time we decided to pack it up she could recite the whole thing perfectly. Then we sprung for some ice-cream cones. I bought a scoop of banana-strawberry and Bettina got Reese's Cups flavor. I know, unimportant detail, but it's my blog here so I'll write what I want to write. It's my memories right? Right. So I'll keep writing.

July 6~Ah, the day we visited Berklee College of Music, the best tour ever! We went there because it was our dad's alma mater, and we were curious to just check it out, not necessarily to pursue a musical career or anything. (Although frankly, who knows after the great tour we got!) We got there right when we needed to, at 12:00 noon. We had 2 tour guides, both guys, Thomas and Alex. Thomas was a little quiet and shy, but he spoke clearly and he knew his stuff. Alex, on the other hand, was funny and friendly, and he really got the group involved by encouraging questions and asking a few questions himself. After showing us a few places like the SAC (Student Activity Center for most colleges), Berklees' very own radio studio (BIRN), and a few important offices (career couseling, financial aid, etc...), they split the group up in two, and Bettina and I got Alex. Sweet!

He took us to the main classroom/residence hall building, where we saw the library (where a Michael Jackson shrine was put up recently), rooms full of Mac computers equipped with ProTools 8 (industry standard music editing software), and the guitar, strings, bass, and vocal departments. Alex also introduced a couple tourees to some people who shared their major, for example this girl who played bass got connected with someone in that department and had a nice friendly chat. Alex was a great talker himself, explaning every part of the school from the "hallway of hell" (a non-sound proof hall of one-on-one classrooms where on busy days, you can hear many students practicing at the same time and therefore create a loud discordant din), to the bulletin boards where a performer can find gigs to earn extra money. We also stopped at an actual recording studio where we met Courtney, a good friend of Alex's (perhaps even crush?) who told us all about the hands-on-learning that takes place there. She said that she knew next to nothing about music when she came to Berklee, but she's learned a lot since then (which is encouraging for potential students). She had a lovely smooth voice, and reminded me of Jada Pinkett Smith. Last of all we stopped at the Berklee Performance Center, which seats 1,212 people (comfortably) and has an impressive sound system.

After that we parted ways with Alex and the rest of the group and found a pizza place called Little Steve's, where we bought a slice each. The owner was a big Italian-sounding fellow, who creeped me out a tiny bit because he reminded me of a Mafia guy or something. In any case we took the slices to go. We ate them and some leftover bagel sandwiches from yesterday in the Public Gardens, where we chatted about what a good tour we just had. Also Bettina kept singing Yakko's World song over and over (having learned the whole thing only the previous day), and she finally was able to sing it as well and as fast as me and Yakko. Yeah! We are masters of "the Nations of the World"!

We didn't do much at night except follow our brother Adam's recommendation and watch a couple episodes of the Disney Channel show "JONAS" on YouTube. I am a big fan of their music, but I don't really care very much for their TV show. I remember when it first aired a couple months ago I was pretty excited, but now I can honestly say I much prefer their music to their show. That's my opinion anyway. Bettina and Adam seem to like it.

July 7~It pretty much rained all day July 7th, which was a bummer because we were planning on doing an Arboretum trip "take 2", but no such luck. Instead we did the usual. (Watched Animaniacs clips on YouTube.) Unfortunately we couldn't find any more new skits of theirs, in English that is. We had to settle for episodes in Spanish. Still, the voice dubbers did a pretty good job, and the Warners' comedy sure crosses the language barrier in this case. Even though I couldn't tell exactly what the characters were saying I still got the idea of what was going on.

When the rain started to let up a little, we decided to take the chance to walk around the reservoir for one of the last times. During that time me and Bettina tried singing "Yakko's World" faster than the other one, and we also made up in our minds a slower, jazzier version of the song. That was good fun. I consider the song to be the anthem of our trip to Boston. After we made it all the way around, the rainy weather picked up again, and we had to go back inside. There wasn't much to do except clean up around the apartment, so I did just that. I swept the halls and washed the dishes, and later Bettina and I packed up a few of our clothes just so we wouldn't have to later. It was a very slow day, but it was nice to not be off to somewhere different for one day.

For dinner we treated ourselves to spaghetti at "Presto's Pizza". They came with nice big pieces of garlic bread, and the servings were huge and hot! The pasta and sauce had too much oil for my taste, but other than that it was fine spaghetti! I just love the way Italians do it, and this was only a take-out place. After dinner, we mosied on down to the special tree near the reservoir where me and Bettina carved our initials last year and we climbed up (it was mostly dry luckily) and had a good talk. We were going home very soon. The future was closer than we thought. We had just survived and thrived 2 weeks without our parents. Every day was a new adventure. Soon we'd be going back to regular old suburbia in South Florida. Only if we continued to do things the way we've done in the past. We promised to keep learning everyday and someday we were going to be successful. We also had meaningful pauses of silence. For fond friends, silence is anything but awkward, in fact, it is a joy to know someone who you don't have to say anything to to get your point across.

We stayed up there until it was almost sunset, and then we climbed down and went back to the apartment. We talked to our family using Skype, and then we watched some Michael Jackson music videos on YouTube, like "Black and White", "Scream", and "Bad". These are music videos I never got to see while Michael Jackson was still alive. It's a shame. He was a really really good performer. I love the way he dances! Long live the spirit of MJ!

Hey there, you only have one more day of this Boston trip to read about!

Boston ~ Days 11 and 12 ~ July 3rd & 4th

July 3~The weather was simply glorious on this day, so we knew that we were in for a good time. This morning I drew a picture of Yakko's face (shown here, cute, isn't he?), and memorized the first verse of the song called Yakko's World (watch the movie, it's amazing). It's not really that hard once you watch the clip over and over to memorize the first verse, but the other countries later in the song are sung faster and faster and they're harder to pronounce. (Animaniacs. It's an obsession.) Anyway, around noon we went off to the Science Museum to see a space show at the planetarium at 2:30, but we got late because of train trouble. How annoying, having to be delayed because of technical difficulties, plus it was very crowded too. When we finally got there we decided to get tickets to another show playing at 5:30, a Laser Beatles Show.

Had a few hours to kill, so we decided to hang around the gift shop. They had some pretty interesting doodads, like fancy-colored cut rocks, wind-up insect toys, the usual plastic dinosaurs and action figures, t-shirts, keychains, overpriced candy, you know, typical. Later we went outside and ate some mayonaisse sandwiches that were all smushed up from our journey (can you relate?), and then since we had so much time left, we took a walk and found this neat little playground to hang out at. Me and Bettina had lots of fun going over the first verse of Yakko's World again and again for maximum retention, and we also found these awesome things that spin! I don't know what they were called, but whatever they are, you get on, you hold on, and you spin like crazy! *.*

Well anyway, we made it for the Beatles Laser Show, which was absolutely fantastic! It was held in the planetarium and we laid down and just gazed at speedy laser displays consume our attention and the Beatles' timeless tunes fill our ears. They had some of the best ones too, from "She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)" and "Paperback Writer" to "I Am The Walrus" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds". I only wish my dad could've been there to see it. He's a major Beatles fan. After the incredible show, we decided to get to the Hatch-Shell by foot, because it wasn't that far away. When we got there, it was very crowded. The real festivities didn't start until 8:30, but we got there at 7:00 and it was still pretty packed. Many hours earlier, me and my sister prepared a plastic container filled with spaghetti and sauce and we had brought forks and a blanket so we could have a lovely picnic (when are we not having picnics?), but when we got in line and the safety officials checked our bags for suspicious stuff, they found our silverware and confiscated them! What the?! Did we look like the type of people who would think of using forks against someone? Well, we managed anyway, by eating the spaghetti straight from the tupperware with our fingers! Sticky, but satisfying. Lucky thing we brought napkins!

The concert was absolutely awesome! When you're in an audience of thousands of people, it feels like you're a part of something bigger than yourself. Neil Diamond was there and he performed a few of his best songs, like "Cracklin Rosie", "Coming to America", and "Sweet Caroline". "Sweet Caroline" was especially a hit, because it's sortof the theme song for the Boston Red Socks. The whole concert was a couple hours long. At one point we got hungry again, so Bettina volunteered to go out and buy a pretzel from the concession stands. She didn't return until about 20 minutes later! I was starting to get pretty worried, and I would've gotten up to look for her if she didn't come back when she did. She said she got lost and couldn't get to the entrance for all the hordes of people blocking it up, and for a last resort she had to cross the fence! Well, aside from that, the whole event was a lot of fun! Besides the concert, there was the whole Boston Pops orchestra performing the 1812 Overture, complete with cannonballs! Plus a patriotic sing-along that got me singing at the top of my lungs to hear myself over the rest of the audience. We didn't get back home until 11:00, and when we did, we went straight to bed and slept like logs!

July 4~We started Independence Day by planning out exactly what we would do that day and preparing snacks for the big night. I also wrote down on a piece of paper the last three verses of Yakko's World so that throughout the day I would be able to learn them and memorize them. I would not rest until I had the song down pat! We took a train to Faneuil Hall and spent just about the whole afternoon there. We had wanted to go to the Haymarket to get some fresh fruit and the Famous One pizzeria to buy a pie for later, but both were closed for July 4th. How irking can you get?

Well we had a nice enough time. We just had fun walking around Quincy Market and observing all the vendors and entertainers (street performers known as buskers). We had a caricature artist do a picture of both of us, and here is a photo of the final product! In my opinion he made me look more like Tina Fey than myself, but other than that he did a good job. It only took him 7-8 minutes to draw, so I'm pretty impressed. We chatted a little as we posed and he drew, and it was really fascinating. I am intrigued by artists of this sort, because through the years they must meet a lot of people and gain a lot of experience in honing their talent.

Later we sat down by a wharf, and admired our caricature for a while. Then we decided since we couldn't get pizza we'd get "Boloco Bowls" instead. We still had coupons, you see. We also bought some big chocolate chip cookies, just because. Then we walked and walked to the Hatch Shell, and we showed up at about 4:15. Already after a 1/4 of an hour there were hundreds of people already on the lawn, with umbrellas and barbecued picnics to wait out the long afternoon. Unlike last night, me and my sister got a good spot much closer to the Hatch Shell, and we didn't get our forks confiscated (probably cuz they were made of plastic). To occupy ourselves, we spent the 4 hours singing Yakko's World over and over, and eventually I actually managed to memorize the entire song! I was so good at it that I taught the 2nd verse of it to Bettina, who had a bit of a frog in her throat at the time, so she couldn't sing it as well as me, but she still did good.

At one point, while everyone was waiting for the show to begin, someone began throwing around a bunch of balloons and beachballs, and it became a great big game of catch! So much fun! The balls came in all sizes and colors. Sometimes a ball would hit someone in the head, but it was all in fun because they're only beachballs. It felt really special to be part of it, and I could see that a lot of other people had bright happy faces too. Finally the program started. The whole show was almost exactly the same as last night, only this time it was televised live, and loads of people would scream and wave their hands for the chance they might be caught on camera. Me and Bettina had our own camera to take movies with. Neil Diamond played the same songs and the Orchestra played the same pieces, but I had the time of my life! The weather continued to be awesome, which was amazing because it had been quite a gloomy week before.

Before the concert was fully over, Bettina and I decided to get up and find a good spot to watch the fireworks later. It seems a crowd of other people had the same idea. Everyone was super-smushed together, and there was a sort of traffic-jam of people; some people were going one way, others wanted to go the other way. The show lasted a very long time, but at around 10:30, they finally announced that the fireworks would start! It was amazing, the best fireworks show I'd ever seen! We didn't get the best spot ever, but it was good enough for me and Bettina. We took a bunch of cool movies of the display, until our camera ran out of memory! Here's one of the videos we took, of the grand finale.
video
Awesome, no? This was taken just around 11:00! After the fireworks were over everyone made a beeline for the exits, and me and my sister were swept with the tide. Luckily we stayed together the whole time. It was nice walking at night, along with all those people, because there was no road traffic, and for a time people were allowed to walk the streets. It was like some sort of march that we were part of. We didn't get back home until half past midnight, because we had to wait and wait for our train to come. You can bet that we slept fiiiiine that night. (And you would win, but what you would win I'm not telling you. ^_^)