sunnuntai 28. helmikuuta 2016

Finnish Mythology: Fox

"Fox of the purple season"
(c) Niina Niskanen


In Finnish fairy tales fox is usually animal that starts and ends the fairy tale. Fox hasn't that big part in folklore like the bear and wolf has but still it is an essential animal in the stories. Many times described to be cunning, clever, smart and careful. 

In ancient Finland fox was hunted for it's fur but hunting foxes wasn't easy. Fox has excellent sense of smell and because of this fox traps had to be kept extremely clean. Sometimes hunters rubbed pine cones to get rid of the human scent.

As a smart animal many times fox managed to escape from the traps. Man who managed to hunt foxes was believed to have great shaman and witch skills.

In Finnish and Karelian mythology all animals and plants are believed to have their own Emuu (coming from ancient Finnish word Emo meaning mother). Emuu's are said to be the very first and oldest specimens of their species. 

In old Finnish poems there are two candidates for foxes Emuu. Käreitär and Lukutar. Käreitär is  spirit of burning flames (when you read the myth of the fire fox this makes sense). Lukutar is earth spirit of sandbanks and jagged rocks, all  places where foxes prefer to live. 

In folklore of eastern, northern Finland and mythologies of the sami people there is legend of the great Firefox. Firefox was a mythical giant fox. Hunter who would capture the Firefox would be a wealthy and happy man for the rest of his life. Just seeing glimpse of Firefox would be a very good omen.



It was believed that when Firefox ran across the snowy hills and it's fur touched the snow magical sparkling lights were born and reflected to the sky and that is how northern lights were born.
This story has it's base on real science. Fur has electric magnetism in it so it really sparkles in cold dry air. 

Finnish word Revontulet (northern lights) is directly translated as foxe's fires. Revontulet comes from the word Repo which is an old Finnish word for fox. 

perjantai 26. helmikuuta 2016

Tigers

"Approaching Tiger"
Brown Ink on paper


"Eye of the tiger"
Black ink on paper

Tigers are animals of presence and sanctuary. They represent raw emotions and intuition. Symbolizing will power, personal strength and courage. Patience is the virtue of the tiger, evident in the manner they live their lives


maanantai 22. helmikuuta 2016

As told by Ginger told by Niina

 

As told by Ginger is an American animated television series. As told by Ginger was produced by animation studio Klasky-Csupo and aired on Nickelodeon  first time from 2000 to 2003. Series was aimed for pre-teens and teenagers. I came familiar with As told by Ginger when series was aired Finland in YLE between 2003 - 2004.

  
  Ginger's best friends forever Dodie and Macie


As told by Ginger tells about ginger-haired Ginger Foutley. Ginger goes to school called Lucky Junior High. Series follows Ginger's journey from Junior High to High School. Series was made three seasons.

Ginger is normal pre-teen girl. Her mother Lois is a nurse. She has little brother Carl. Ginger's best friends are chatty Dodie and more reserved Macie. Ginger is also friends with Courtney Gripling who is the most popular girl in school. However this unusual friendship annoys Courtney's best friend Miranda and other popular girls. Ginger's third best friend is Darren, boy next door.


Hoodsie and Carl hanging



No one says no to Courtney Gripling

Ginger's parents are divorced. Her father Jonas appears in some of the episodes. Ginger and Jonas get a long well. Carl is still mad for his father for his long absences. Carl's best friend is Hoodsie, Dodie's little brother. Ginger and Carl has normal brother / sister relationship. Most of the time Ginger finds Carl annoying but when times are tough they back up each others. Carl is a model example of a young boy with fascination for bugs, human body parts and all things creepy.

Ginger's third best friend Darren is not the most popular kid either. Picked by others because he has huge braces. His brother Will also happens to be captain of the foot ball team and one of  the coolest kids in High School.  During the second season Darren's reputation improves when braces are removed. Later on he becomes a football player and on of the popular students. This transformation also makes him less likable character. Fortunately by the end of the series Darren realizes that there are more important things in life than just being popular.

Courtney, Miranda and Mipsy Mipsen

As told by Ginger portrays life of teenagers from puberty to high school crushes. Series also shows the cruel world of clicks and school cast systems. Ginger would like to be popular but at the same time she is terrified  by the thought of it. Dodie doesn't want anything else than to be popular and in high school she does make it to the cheer leading team. Macie hasn't never cared about popularity. She is the most geekiest girl of all three, she is also the most confident to be who she is. Especially in the third season changing Junior High to High School is big touching stone in girls friendship.

Darren and Ginger

Ginger keeps a diary of her life (hence the name As told by Ginger). She has literal talents and Ginger is a big daydreamer as well. Ginger is also quite serious character and especially in Junior High she suffers from self-esteem problems. It is pleasure to watch how her character gains more confidence during the series.


Adult characters are also very realistic. Ginger and her mom Lois are very close. Lois doesn't get along well with Joanna Bishop (mother of Dodie and Hoodsie). These two mothers are very different. Lois is open minded and humoristic. Joanna is bossy and stresses a lot. Macie's parents are psychologists but they have hard time understand their daughter. Gripling's are rich. Courtney has mother, father and little brother called Blake. One of the saddest scenes in my personal opinion in the whole series is Gripling's family dinner where Ginger is invited. Courtney's father attends via videophone. He is always travelling. Courtney is quite lonely and she is little bit jealous for Ginger. Miranda, Mipsy and other popular girls can abandon her at any time.

Carl, Hoodsey and lungs in a jar

Klasky-Csupo is probably best known from their animation series Rugrats. Studio also produced first three seasons of the Simpsons in the end of the 80's.
As told by Ginger characters have exaggerated body portions. Heads are big compared to the torsos. Some characters have big noses and small eyes or other way around. Mouths are big. Animation has lots of vibrant colors but vividness is not disturbing. Ginger stands out with her ginger hair. Characters grow, change their clothes and hair styles often which is still today quite unusual in an animated television series.

One of the reasons why I enjoy watching As told by Ginger is the visual outlook of the show and attention to details. Hair styles, clothes, rooms, houses, they are all designed to support the characters and the story. For example Ginger has a shelf filled with toy ponies. She also has bed sheet with pony pattern and wall paper with pictures of ice cream cones.


I was a pre-teen myself when I first started to watch As told by Ginger. I felt really sad when series suddenly stopped. YLE had bought rights only for the first season. There was also Finnish voice over made for the first season and I must say it is very well done. Even all the character names were translated to Finnish. At least for me it made it very easy to relate with the characters.

 I do think that YLE should have paid more attention for the airing time of the show. It was aired on weekday mornings together with kids programs. As told by Ginger was aimed for pre-teens and most of the Finnish pre-teens (like myself) were at school at that time. Fortunately my sister was smart and recorded first season episodes. But who knows...series might have become a huge hit in Finland as well if distributor had paid more attention for the target group. 

Few years ago I was surfing on-line and I accidentally found seasons 2 and 3 from YouTube. I was so happy to finally find out what happened to all these characters. 



In USA As told by Ginger has become somewhat a cult animation. In many ways series was ahead of it's time. Series got multiple Emmy nominations and always does well on Nickelodeon cartoon rankings. I recently found out that As told by Ginger story group was planning to show Courtney coming out as gay but the big shots at Nickelodeon were against this. I wasn't very surprised when I heard about this because many animation studios face similar problems with conservative producers and channel owners. 

I do wish Courtney would have come out in the series. Way her character is portrait is very complex. She is not as mean as the other popular girls but she is indeed vain and self-centered. I did sometimes get a feeling that maybe Courtney has a crush on Ginger but it's a story that was left untold.   

Ginger's poem that got her teacher worry

I still think As told by Ginger is one of the best animated television series I've ever come across. It is truthful and handles difficult issues with warm and humor. Like teenage depression in the episode And she was gone... Body changes and body image in the episode Right stuff. In the episode Fast reputation Ginger wants to break her miss nice girl image by crashing high school party... next day her reputation is indeed..gone. In episode Stuff'll kill ya Ginger develops a caffeine addiction. 

For anyone who is interested. Here is list of character names in Finnish and English

Inkun päiväkirja = As told by Ginger

Inkeri "Inkku" Autio = Ginger Foutley
Kalle Autio = Carl Foutley
Oili Autio = Lois Foutley
Joonas Autio = Jonas Foutley

Tytti Piispa = Dodie Bishop
Robert "Roope" Piispa = Robert Joseph "Hoodsie" Bishop
Johanna Piispa = Joann Bishop

Maisa Saukko = Macie Lightfood
Harri Paatero = Darren Patterson
Oona Kaunisto = Courtney Gripling
Eikka Kaunisto = Blake Gripling
Miranda Åhlberg = Miranda Killgallen
Mipsi Mipsala = Mipsy Mipsen



perjantai 12. helmikuuta 2016

Disney Tag




Hello Blogging World!

Great news!

I started Disney society in my university today! Wohooo!! and over 20 people have signed already
Now I don't need to be alone with my Disney addiction.

Last year I did the Disney Tag video to my YouTube channel and thought I should do it to my blog as well. If there is Disney Bloggers out there feel free to do this tag!

Here are the 10 questions:

1. A scene in any Disney movie you wish you could experience?
2. An unforgettable experience / moment you've had at the parks?
3. What Non-Disney song(s) reminds you or brings back memories of Disney and or the Parks?
4. When was the first time you went to a Disney Park?
5. If you could choose any of the characters to be your best friends who would you choose?
6. Who are your favorite Disney female characters?
7. Who are your favorite Disney male characters?
8. Name a scene/ moment in any Disney movie that never fails to make you cry
9. What is the first Disney movie you remember seeing?
10. What is your favorite Disney movie?

Here are my answers:

                     


1. A scene in any Disney movie you wish you could experience?
I love Atlantis! Such an amazing movie. I think it would have been great to be a member of that expedition group when they arrive to Atlantis first time and see this magnificent lost empire!
Unfortunately Atlantis is quite underrated Disney movie. It's one of my all-time favorites. I love the science fiction elements there is.


                      



2. An unforgettable experience / moment you've had at the parks?

Once me and my sister we're on holiday in Disneyland in Paris. My sister saw Ratcliffe from Pocahontas and asked his autograph. He was very much in his character because he took my sister's hat and tried to put it to the garbage can.  Villains there are very authentic. My sister of course got his autograph and picture taken with him. It was all very funny.


                                       

3. What Non-Disney song(s) reminds you or brings back memories of Disney and the Parks?

This was really difficult question. I must say Indiana Jones theme. Every time I hear it I imagine my self in the adventure land!

                    


4. When was the first time you went to a Disney park?

I think it was 2009 my first trip to Paris and of course Disneyland!

                     

5. If you could choose any of the characters to be your best friends who would you choose?

Mary Poppins is one of my favorite Disney movies. I know all the songs by heart (at least the Finnish ones). I like the character of Mary Poppins..but you know she is bit too perfect. Bert would be my BFF! Such a funny guy. We wouldn't never have a dull moment!

6. Who are your favorite Disney female characters?

                       


                       


Disney females that I relate myself the most are Belle and Elsa. They are both quite eccentric and pretty much live in their own worlds. They are both very authentic and that's what I love about them.

 They are also extremely beautiful and have inner strength (and amazing singing voices!)




                     

I have so many favorite Disney heroines..Mulan, Merida, Megara, Jessica Rabbit...
Mulan and Merida are warrior spirits. Megara is so sassy.. I love her. Jessica as well.
Pocahontas has what I like to call silent strength she never uses violence and always looks for the peaceful solutions. Amazing character!

                    


7. Who are your favorite Disney male characters?

One of my favorite Disney characters of all time is the Beast. I never really thought of him as a beast more as a tortured soul. He is ashamed of his outside form and he is quite arrogant in the beginning of the movie. Beast has attitude problem and not very good social skills. Beast goes through an inner transformation and because of that he also transforms back to human. I find beast to be extremely complex creature and every time I watch Beauty and the Beast I get mesmerized by the way animated character can have such depth, sadness, rage, agony, tenderness and love inside him. 

                   


Another of my favorite male characters is Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty.
In many ways Sleeping Beauty was groundbreaking movie for Disney princes before that in Snow White and Cinderella prince-characters were pretty much decorations to support the leading ladies.
Prince Philip is an active character. He is very down to earth, comical (talking with his horse) and very adorable.. especially when he flirts with Aurora. Scenes where he speaks with his father we can see a modern prince who want's to find his own way in life.

                       
                                            Milo James Thatch

My third favorite is the ultimate Disney geek Milo Thatch!

I just love the fact that in Atlantis hero is a geeky scientist. There is really nice balance in the leading roles in Atlantis since Kida is very exotic looking Disney heroine and Milo is..well..Milo.

                        


8. Name a scene/ moment in any Disney movie that never fails to make you cry

In Lilo and Stitch there is a scene where Stitch finds the story of Ugly Duckling from Lilo's room. He asks Lilo what it is about and Lilo tells him the story of Ugly Duckling then Stitch goes to the garden and cries "Lost..I'm lost". It's is so sad. Every time I see that scene I want to step inside to the movie and give him a big hug. 

                       

In Bambi there is one of the most heartbreaking scenes of all movie history. Viewer hears the shot in the night and knows that human has taken Bambi's mother. In the next scene Bambi runs in the forest looking for his mother crying and then it starts to snow. There isn't any music in that scene which makes it just more powerful and extremely sad. 

                     


There is a scene in the end of Toy Story 3 where Andy gives his toys to Bonnie and he decides to give his favorite toy Woody away as well. Andy and Bonnie play together and by doing that Andy says farewell to the toys that he grew up with and loves so much. Then after Andy has left Woody whispers "You'll be all right partner"..sniff

                                      


9. What is the first Disney movie you remember seeing?

Pocahontas! Year was 1995..I was 5 or 6. I remember being really annoyed because my mom was sitting behind me chatting with her best friend in the movie theater during the whole movie!

10. What is your favorite Disney movie?

Tale as old as time...

                     

Song as old as rhyme...

...Beauty and the Beast

I saw Beauty and the Beast first time in the beginning of the 90's. I was 5 or 6. There is that magnificent scene where Beast transforms back into human. I remember watching that scene and decided that some day I will be an artist and create something just as beautiful. Visual memory of that particular scene really is stacked in my subconscious and has worked as a motivator.

Of course later on I found out that Glen Keane was the animator of the Beast.
Beauty and the Beast also started my fascination towards animated movies.

90's was a great time to grow up since it was the golden age of Disney with all the 90's classics like Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast and Lion King. From the official 54 Disney classic's I've seen 52! There's still few I need to watch. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite. My top 10 keeps changing constantly because I watch Disney movies pretty much all the time.

I know all the songs in Beauty and the beast and there isn't any character in the Beauty and the Beast that I don't like. The story, characters and the visual outlook of the film create a magical film experience. It's not just my favorite animation it is my favorite movie of all times.

                           

All pictures in this blog texts are property of Walt Disney company