Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Unexpected Birthday Surprise

Let me be honest: for my birthday yesterday, I wasn't expecting much out of it, only the usual card-exchanging and cake-eating. Because of this, I wasn't too thrilled about it, coupled with the fact that I'm another year older and that I'll have to take on additional responsibilities, so to say the least, I wasn't really looking forward to it. My birthday is always the last occasion to be celebrated before summer vacation is over, and I don't even want to fathom thinking about what freshmen experience will be like in the next couple of weeks. This day has taken on a melancholy feeling, and by this time I wish nothing more than to go back in time and start the summer over. If only that fantasy could turn into a reality.

I mostly spent the day working on videos for my channel and lollygagging on the internet, so I didn't necessarily do anything festive to commemorate the day. But when the time came for me to open my gifts, I was sure in for a surprise.

I was presented with a large colorful birthday bag and was informed to open my gifts from biggest to smallest, all of which were wrapped, so I had no idea what to expect (my family kept pestering me saying that they were giving me boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats, and since I can't eat that cereal anymore after it being my favorite for so long, it kind of stung). The first box was exceptionally heavy, which I wasn't expecting, so I was thinking, "Is this the Blue Yeti microphone that I've been going on about the last couple of months?" However, I was not prepared for the real surprise that was contained beneath the wrapping paper.

The paper revealed a brand new camera, a Canon Rebel EOS T3i to be precise! I was speechless. A few weeks ago during our Tennessee vacation, my previous Nikon camera started falling apart: the rubber grip fell off, and what's worse is that chunks of plastic came off its bottom. I was furious that it'd torn up like that after I've only used it a year-and-a-half, so it was then that I started to research cameras for a future replacement that I'd save up my money for. My Nikon is fixed now with the help of super glue, but it still contains those holes at the bottom that I can do nothing about. I'd complained about its various problems to my parents and siblings, but I wasn't thinking that they'd buy me a DSLR in response!

What's great about my new camera is that it has a flip screen: now I can finally see what I'm filming if I have to get a tricky shot. Also, it has a little remote control, so guess what that means? Smoother stop motions! I was becoming frustrated with my animations because I had to create them by pressing the shutter button manually, and that caused the shot to look like it was shaking. I put up with this a great deal while working on A Day in Berry Bitty City episode seven, so it'll be a breath of fresh air knowing that episode eight will turn out a lot better. In addition to these two points, I can take my photography to the next level now that I have a professional camera, and that excites me. I'd say the only downside is that I have to depend on the lens for zooming instead of having an ultra-zoom feature like on my previous one, but that's not too bad. Perhaps I can save up for a bigger lens, but those things are so expensive that I don't think I'm going to buy any lenses any time soon. The best part is that this camera is compatible with Dragonframe, so I'm on my way to creating professional stop motions like you see in the movies!

With all of this excitement, I was more than ready to start working on some new projects for my channel. But typically, something would get in the way of my plans. I awoke this morning feeling sick, and though I'm feeling a lot better now, I think it's advisable that I get some rest first. If I had known I was going to receive this camera for my birthday, I wouldn't have put up as much of a fuss about getting older. I'm just hoping that this year will be better than the last.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Unanswered Questions in Berry Bitty Adventures: Conspiracies and Theories

After being an avid viewer of Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures for the past five years, I've noticed that the series contains some unanswered questions, which brings me to formulate my own conspiracies and speculations of the situations at hand. These opinions are my own and are in no way actual segments of the series, so please keep that in mind.

First of all, when I watched the opening credits of season four, I paid close attention to the new clips that were being shown. Most of them contained snippets of Strawberry and her friends having a pillow fight, exploring a cave in cowboy hats, etc., and it was then that I noticed that Huckleberry Pie wasn't in the intro except for one brief clip of him from season three. As a matter of fact, there weren't any new clips of him at all, which brings me to believe that he won't be a part of this season. Either that, or he'll have very minor roles in the background that aren't very significant.

I find this as strange: the only boy character in the entire series has disappeared? Whenever new characters were introduced in prior seasons and in the current, no matter what the circumstances, they always moved to Berry Bitty City in the end, giving up whatever jobs or careers they may have had beforehand. Huck is the only exception to this, which leads me to believe that he was an experimental character or perhaps his voice actor decided he didn't want to play him anymore. But then I started thinking about the events that occurred in season three. We all saw it: even though the goal of that season was to prove that he and the girls could remain friends without any romantic relations, one couldn't help but notice that he and Blueberry acted like they liked each other in a more-than-friends way. On the web, others acknowledged it and even started forming a love triangle between Huck, Blueberry, and Cherry. If you don't believe me, watch "Partners in Crime", "Berryella and Prince Berry Charming", and "A Basket of Blueberries" - I assure you that you'll see what I'm talking about. What if the producers saw these posts and decided to pull him from season four just for the sake of this one reason?

Another thing I've come to notice is that you never see any humans on the show besides the protagonists. In Strawberry's 2002-2007 days in Strawberryland, there were actual side characters that you would see when she and her friends visited different locations - and there were a lot of them, too. However, in her current incarnation, you only see people when they're going to become a part of the cast. Aside from that, you only see a variation of human-like insects and animals and berrykins.

So what's going on with the human population in Berry Bitty City? Are there just not many people to begin with or are they going extinct? Are there more people besides Strawberry and her friends?

When Apple Dumplin' was introduced in "Berry Bitty Adventurer", she only spoke of her adventures in the "Macadamia Mountains" and other landmarks that are only associated with rivers, mountains, and oceans. Before the premiere, I was anticipating the announcement that there are other cities and countries (besides Berry Bitty City, Berry Big City, Acorn Acres, Berry Breezy Bay, Brooksville, etc.), that Strawberry and her friends aren't alone in their tiny berry patch home. I even had the faint hope that the producers would finally show us what some of these other locations look like, but I didn't put too much faith in that. Sadly, we don't hear about the return of "Pearis" or of other places that represent other countries, so that was a bust for me and makes me think even more that the human race is fairly small in Strawberry's world.  

Furthermore, I'm aware that this concern of mine probably doesn't matter much to other viewers, but I just want to know how old Strawberry and her friends are, or at least an estimate of what age group they belong to. Kids, preteens, teenagers, maybe even adults? Clearly they know how to drive and operate vehicles (but that's to be expected from a children's show anyway) given Cherry lives and drives around in her tour bus, Huck drives his Pup Mobile to and fro, and Sweet and Sour Grapes run a food truck. And then I started thinking: the company acknowledges that in our years Strawberry is thirty-five, so what if she actually is that age but looks and acts like a thirteen or fourteen year old? Or maybe she and her friends aren't victim to aging since Berry Bitty City is said to be magical. I read online that adults don't exist in Strawberry's world (despite side characters like Jadeybug, Berrykin Bloom, Mr. Longface [who mysteriously started disappearing after season one], and a few berrykins here and there like Berrykin Bill and Berrykin Bruce).

This former point brings me to another unanswered question. Do the girls have parents or any adult relations at all? In the show, you'll notice that parents actually do exist in their world if you pay close attention to some of the episodes. For example, in Sky's the Limit (my all-time favorite SSC movie - oh, the feels!), Mr. Longface cried when the girls confronted him on his fake directions to find the fabled Great Geyser Stone. Amidst his sobbing, he said that the book that was supposedly filled with the wondrous adventures of his cousin Miranda was actually his mother's cookbook. His tone was so sad, so filled with sorrow that he made it seem like his mother wasn't alive anymore. Well, he is in the middle-aged to slightly elderly stages, so that could have been probable. In addition, in a couple of the season one episodes, you'll notice that it was implied that some of the berrykins had their own children. Remember in "Babysitter Blues" where Baby Berrykin splashed another berrykin's color-numbered canvas in Blueberry's bookstore? There was an older berrykin there that was supposedly his parent whom Blueberry told "You should enroll him into some event-taking classes!" Plus in one of the Glimmerberry Ball episodes, Strawberry read the story about the annual occasion, and there was an image of a parent berrykin cuddling what was supposedly her child. With this being said, wouldn't Strawberry and her friends have parents, too, if the rest of the characters have them? I just think it's a bit odd how that works out. Unless they were born in their namesake areas like Cabbage Patch Kids and that's how they got their names. Or maybe they are older, so therefore they don't have a need to live with their parents any longer. Again, I'm probably the only one who overthinks this stuff, but back in the 80s SSC specials, Lemon Meringue mentioned that she had a mom and a brother, and that was the only moment in the history of Strawberry Shortcake that that ever happened.

Finally, for the past couple of years or so, I've become curious of whether or not actual human-sized people exist in Strawberry's world. Strawberry and the gang are bitty, hence the title of the show and where they live, but how would they look in comparison to a normal-sized person? I recall seeing promos some years ago back when Discovery Family was still The Hub, and Strawberry was animated outside playing hide-and-seek with a real girl. In the commercial, Strawberry looked like she was at least a foot tall, which changed my thoughts from thinking she was two or three inches like the mini dolls, but then I realized that the animators probably made her larger so you could see her better on the screen. In another promo, a summer one at that, Strawberry and a couple of her friends were relaxing by the pool in their beach chairs, and they were so bitty that the real people in the shot were giants compared to them. This just makes me wonder if Strawberry and her friends were ever to have an encounter with a larger human being, would they be comfortable around them or become scared and run away? That is definitely a moment I want to see.

I'm certain that there are countless other conspiracy theories out there from other Berry Bitty Adventures fans, so if you enjoy the show and have your own thoughts on some of the events in the series, feel free to leave a comment below to share your opinions. I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Last week, my family and I took a rare vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee so we could relax and unwind a bit. The long drive there and back was the most irritating experience, I must admit, and though I wouldn't say the whole trip was all fun and games, it was overall an enjoyable treat.

While I was there, I vlogged with Strawberry during each day, and knowing me, I just had to take several pictures with her to remember the moments. Here's one of them, and you can view the rest of them on my Flickr page: (http://www.flickr.com/mirandashortcakeofficial)

So now I can proudly say that Strawberry visited the Great Smoky Mountains!

Although this vacation was meant to be a relaxing time away from home, I can't help but feel tired and think I should catch up on some sleep. But in the meantime, I have a bunch of videos I need to film and finish editing, the vlog of this trip being one of them. I just need to relax a bit despite my desire and bad habit of working on more videos at a time than I can handle.