10 October 2012

Writer's Workshop - What to choose, what to choose?

Mama’s Losin’ It

It's been awhile since I've participated in Mama Kat's writer's workshop.  At first, it was that all my blogging had gone on hold.  Then I'd see the prompts early in the week, say, "Ah HA!  Yes, I've GOT to write about that!" and promptly forget about it 20 minutes later.  This week, however, the stars are starting to align and I'm diving back in.

This week, I've had a tough time deciding between several great prompts.  I mean, look at them!
1.) Tell us about a kids TV show that you would be happy watching…without your kids.
2.) What was the last thing your child threw a temper tantrum over? Write a blog post from his/her point of view.
3.) Do you love YouTube? Share five of your all time favorite YouTube videos.
4.) Pumpkins! Anything with pumpkins!
5.) Open Instagram (if you have an account) and scroll down to the 4th photo shared by a friend. Share the photo, link to the person who posted it, and let it inspire a blog post.

How can I decide between those?!!!  Well... actually, I knew that 5 was out.  I don't have an Instagram account.  And four... well, it didn't draw me in as much.  But with the other three, my brain has been running around and around, trying to decide which one is best.  I mean, there are a few kids TV shows that I love watching even when my kids aren't around.  And I suspect writing about Pete's last tantrum from his point of view would have everyone cracking up.  And the YouTube videos... I've got a favorite list to pull from.  So what to do?

Answer all three!

Let's start with 1) Tell us about a kids TV show that you would be happy watching

I actually have four that I watch without the boys on a regular basis, three of which are comic-based.  I've actually set up the DVR to tape Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man: Armored Adventures and Young Justice.  I've been on a huge superhero kick and this feeds nicely into it.  Avengers is straight up Superhero Team adventures, but it does help develop the characters, and the storylines that they've had are very engaging.  Iron Man is basically asking "what if we put the people in Tony Stark's world back in High School?" The artistic style is CGI, which is kind of eh for me, but the storylines pull me in every time.  Young Justice is a step away from Teen Titans.  They have a lot of the same backstory, but they don't go by the name Teen Titans and their line-up is a bit different from both the comic and the TV series.  Plus is has Mia as Green Arrow's protege in the group and Alan Tudyk as the voice of Green Arrow. *swoon*

Here's a brief glimpse at all three of these shows:

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Iron Man: Armored Adventures

Young Justice

The fourth one is just pure awesome in a 30 minute format: Phineas and Ferb.  Seriously, this is probably the best kids show on television right now.  

For those unfamiliar with the show, it's about two young brothers and how they make their summer count.  Every day, with every episode, you'll hear Phineas say, "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today!"  And they, along with their friends, proceed to build something that is beyond imagination - often breaking a few laws of physics along the way.  Their older sister, Candace, is always trying to bust them to their mother and her attempts just add to the fun.  There's always a B-Plot as well, involving their pet platypus, Perry.  They think that because he's a platypus, he doesn't do much.  What they don't know, however, is that he's actually a secret agent that fights his nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, as the later tries his latest scheme to take over the Tri-State area. 

So why do I like it?  First of all, it's just a FUN show, and one that doesn't take itself too seriously.  There are physical gags, intellectual puns, self-referential humor... there's always laugh out loud moments.  I know that if I'm in a bad mood, an episode of P & F will often turn that around.

Second, the characters are awesome.  They each have their little quirks, their problems, their strengths and each gets explored at one time or another throughout the run of the series.  And it's not just the "stars", but the secondary characters as well.  Whether we're watching Isabella and her crush on the clueless Phineas, finding out the softer side of the bully Buford, or smiling along with Candace's boyfriend, Jeremy, at his girlfriend's latest attempts to bust her brothers, we know that we're getting to know the characters a little better.

Then there's the fact that, unlike so many kids shows that drive me insane, the kids have parents that are involved in their lives and also have *gasp* personalities.  Linda Flynn-Fletcher and Lawrence Fletcher have their own quirks, strengths and weaknesses.  Linda was a former pop-star who is incredibly happy being a stay-at-home mom.  Lawrence owns an antique store and, while he sees a little more than Linda does of the boys' contraptions, he seems to be a little more clueless.  But the important thing is that they are always there, in the background, letting the kids be kids yet being a steadying presence. Soooo much better than Max and Ruby.

Finally, there's the music.  Each episode has an original song, often in a different style.  Being the music lover that I am, I love any show that incorporates songs into their episodes.  Most shows have music, and those that have songs are usually spotlighting an artist for that song.  P & F have a different song, often sung by the characters, every week.  The songs are catchy, they introduce kids to a wide variety of musical styles, and they mesh perfectly with the show.  I honestly would love a copy of every single song they play on the show. It would be on the CD player in my van and I'd listen to it even when the kids weren't with me.  (I do have one of the discs already, and that gets played a lot.)

Now here's a taste of this wonderful show, showcasing one of my favorite songs, "Busted":

And here's another favorite, "Ain't Got Rhythm":

I'd better stop now, or I'll end up posting every song.  But seriously, if you haven't checked out Phineas and Ferb before, go.  It's so worth it.

Now on to prompt 2:  What was the last thing your child threw a temper tantrum over? Write a blog post from his/her point of view.

My mommy can be so mean sometimes!  I mean, I love her and all, but she is so mean.  Like, earlier today.  Teddy was eating a lunchable.  It was my lunchable, left over from yesterday.  You know those little snack pack size ones?  I love the little cookies.  The rest can just get thrown away, but those cookies are so yummy.  Anyway, it was mine, mine, MINE!  And Mommy told Teddy he could have it.

And then when I tried to take it away from him, she got mad at me. ME!  Can't she see that it wasn't Teddy's,to eat?  I don't care that I didn't finish mine yesterday.  It's still no excuse for him to eat it instead of me.  

So she kept pulling me away from him and I kept going back and trying to take it out of his hands.  I even hit him once or twice to get him to let go.  So he's yelling and I'm yelling and Mommy's siding with Perfect Teddy. *rolleyes*.  She threatened to send me to bed for the whole day right then and there!  I was sure she wasn't going to do it, so I kept hitting him and trying to take my lunch away from him, all the time repeating "It's my lunch!  It's my lunch!"  What's so hard to understand about that? 

But I must have made her pretty mad because she came up to where I was just about to get my lunch back, picked me up and started walking upstairs.  By then, I was crying pretty hard.  It wasn't fair to send ME to bed when it was all Mommy and Teddy's faults.  They should have been the ones that went to bed.  But I know how Mommy works, so I decided to try meeting her half way.  "Mommy," I told her, "I just wanna share it wif Teddy!  I just wanna share it!"  And as I knew she would, she stopped and set me down on the stairs.  She blah-blah-blahed at me for a minute or two and I pretended to be listening, but I can't remember what she said.  It probably wasn't important anyway.

Of course, things STILL can't go my way.  I ran back downstairs and asked Teddy if he would share it with me, only to find out that he'd eaten not just the little cookies but all the cheese too!  How COULD he?  I shouldn't have to tell him I want cheese.  He should know.  After all, that's what brothers do, right?  Read each others minds?  Otherwise, how would we be able to annoy each other all the time?  I know that I read his mind.  It would just be nice if he'd read mine at the times it mattered. 

Anyway, I started screaming and crying again because Teddy just made me SO mad.  I told Mommy what made me mad and, in one of her more brilliant moves, she got a slice of cheese out of the fridge for me to eat.  I mean, that's what I wanted all along.  Why couldn't she have mentioned that we had cheese in the house at the beginning of this so we wouldn't have so much drama?  Honestly.  I just don't get her sometimes.  

Oh, and can I say that I thought being four was gonna be awesome, but it just seems to SUCK.

I had a hard time finding his voice on that one, but I'm still happy with the way it came out.  Pete's been temper central lately, so I had a lot to work with.

And now for my final prompt: 3.) Do you love YouTube? Share five of your all time favorite YouTube videos.

I do love YouTube.  It's my go-to place when I want to find visual evidence of a show, introduce Rich to music he hadn't heard before, or find the Funny.  I've got a lot more than five favorites (if you're interested, most of them are on my geekery mix).  Anyway, here goes:

I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman.  He can write literally anything and it will be good.  This book, Instructions, is one of my favorite children's books of all time.  Here we get to heard Neil read the story while Charles Vess' beautiful illustrations are highlighted.

Babelcolour is THE name in Doctor Who tribute videos.  He's made fake trailers, done tributes, shows the history of the show in one awesome video... I don't think I've ever seen him create anything bad.  This is one of my favorites, set to Carbon Leaf's "What About Everything.

When it comes to parody songs, I've always felt the geekier the better.  And being the gaming geek that I am, "Roll a D6" is near the top of both my "most awesome parody songs" list and my "most awesome videos" list.

All of the reboot of Doctor Who is on Netflix... except the Children in Need specials they shoot yearly.  This short episode, where the 10th Doctor gets a chance to meet the 5th Doctor when their TARDISes collide, is one the best.  Especially because of the 10th Doctor's speech at the end.  Because, for so many of us, Peter Davison was our Doctor.

I can't have a favorite video list without putting up a video of one of my boys.  This video was shot a few weeks ago when we had family in town for Pete's birthday.  We'd gone to Steak-n-Shake for lunch and Pete just started singing this song.  I wanted proof, so I turned my camera to video mode and just started recording.  You can hear Teddy prompting him in the background, too.

So those are my responses to three of the five prompts.  I hope you've enjoyed another glimpse into my mind and my life!