Felix Assivo


Movie Review: Own the Room * Heartfelt Journeys of Young Entrepreneurs Bringing Change for Future Generations

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Movie Review: Own the Room * Heartfelt Journeys of Young Entrepreneurs Bringing Change for Future Generations

Own the Room chronicles five students from disparate corners of the planet as they take their budding business ventures to Macau, China, to compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. Santosh is from a small farming town in Nepal; Alondra works the register at her family’s bakery in Puerto Rico; Henry is a programming wiz from Nairobi; Jason is a marketing machine from Greece; and Daniela, an immigrant fleeing the crisis in Venezuela, is taking on the chemical industry from her lab at NYU. In the uplifting film, each of the business hopefuls has overcome immense obstacles in pursuing their dreams, from hurricanes to poverty to civil unrest. As they represent their countries as the top student entrepreneurs, the high-stakes global finals are their opportunity to win worldwide attention and the coveted $100,000 grand prize to make their life-changing business ideas a reality and transform the world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D. comments, “…an uplifting movie that has us digging into our “emotional toolbox” as we follow the heartfelt journeys of young entrepreneurs bringing change for future generations. The optimism of these individuals is so incredible and can certainly be appreciated by anyone working hard to pursue their dreams.” See his full review below.  

Own the Room  By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Own the Room is a new feature documentary from National Geographic Documentary Films directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster. This directing duo delivers an uplifting movie that has us digging into our “emotional toolbox” as we follow the heartfelt journeys of young entrepreneurs bringing change for future generations. The optimism of these individuals is so incredible and can certainly be appreciated by anyone working hard to pursue their dreams. Own the Room follows the paths of five young innovators from across the globe who showcase their business plans to “change the world one big idea at a time.” These individuals overcome cultural obstacles and push the limits in order to reach the top.  Santosh, Alondra, Henry, Jason and Daniela have each qualified to represent their country at the annual Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Macau, China. Each has the dream of taking their business to the next level to become the world’s most influential change-maker. Aside from setting their eyes on the prize of $100,000, each hopes to raise awareness that “no matter where you come from, it does not define where you are going.”  They are each proud of their culture, their family support, and the chance to represent their country.

I enjoyed the emotional conversations in which the students share their cultural backgrounds and find their words to be genuine and spirited. Their determination, confidence, and fearlessness kept me wanting to see more. Costantini and Foster are clever to include the lifestyle, family background and the obstacles that each of these students face. That allows viewers to appreciate the students’ journeys even more and perhaps to gain a better understanding of each of the young entrepreneurs’ business ideas. The cinematography is fantastic, taking us into five areas of the world and showing viewers a variety of ways of life. The society in which you live does indeed partly shape you as an individual, and yet this documentary proves that it doesn’t have to hold you back. 

Own the Room delivers many messages and mainly demonstrates how determination is at the root of all success. If you are determined, you will be driven to work hard to achieve no matter how many obstacles confront you. Challenges serve to strengthen us. It is this determination that we see in each of the student entrepreneurs and which becomes so inspiring to viewers.  Given the current state of the world right now, an inspiring film such as Own the Room is exactly what we need.  I give Own the Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18.  Adults would certainly love and appreciate this film just as much as kids. Own the Room will begin streaming on March 12,, 2021, on Disney+. Mark this date on your calendars because this is a film you’re going to want to see.

Looking Out!

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Empowerment
Looking Out!

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“The heart is like a garden. What seeds will you plant there?” Buddha

The first vista I witness every morning as I traipse downstairs in my pink fluffy slippers to grab a cup of java invigorates my day. Outside my stairwell window,  a tall crimson camellia tree sways in the breeze flanked by a shimmering evergreen flowering pear. Rounding the corner, I look to my right. Through the hand-made stained-glass arch, winter and spring co-mingle. The bright cerise flowers of the peach tree frame the hillside carpeted by sprouting ranunculus, anemones, and hundreds of daffodils in a myriad of colors and textures: yellow on yellow, white and yellow, peach and white, white with white, orange and yellow. Frilly, singles, doubles, clusters…all with throats singing to the sky. Bare branches of pistache trees hug the redwoods. Butter-hued Meyer lemons hang like well-placed ornaments. I never fail to be awed by the majesty and beauty regardless of the season.

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Looking out to my colorful panoramas was carefully planned many years ago when I planted the first seeds and bulbs. Bringing the outdoors in has always been a priority for me. For over two decades I practiced interior design as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. I believe that our landscape is an extension of our homes and as such must reflect our moods, tastes, personalities, and preferential palettes. For me, color is an essential element to my happiness. When I look through a window, I want to see my internal penchants reflected by nature. Looking out is looking in.

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With less than three weeks to go before the vernal equinox, this is an auspicious time to contemplate how we want to orient our window views for the future. When you look out your windows, what do you want to see? Do you want flowering or fruiting trees? Do you want a monochromatic design? Are you like me and want to luxuriate in color? Are bulbs the surprise you anticipate yearly, or do you prefer planting annuals and perennials?

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My garden is abloom with pear, peach, and plum trees. Orange, tangerine, tangelo, lemon, and lime trees are filled with ripening fruit. Daffodils blanket the landscape, tulips are beginning to pop, columbine, wild strawberry, and vinca minor are flush with flowers. I couldn’t finish pruning all my rose bushes because so many were still budding. Nature orchestrates a steady stream of amazement.

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Although the nights are still cool, the days are warming allowing the soil temperatures to rise. Weeds are rapidly sprouting, and the ground can be worked in preparation for seeding and planting. Read garden catalogs or books for ideas on how to design spaces that will offer you years of enjoyment.  I’m preparing beds in full sun where I’ll scatter seeds of Lauren’s dark grape poppies. Poppies can handle frost and bloom best when started in early spring. These seedlings will emerge within fourteen days. The flowers will boast four-to-five inch chalice-shaped flowers in a showy port wine hue and they will self-sow for future enjoyment. 

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Another favorite perennial plant that I’m adding to my garden is the Lenten rose or hellebore. These plants which feature chartreuse, white, pink, and purple flowers with evergreen foliage are hummingbird friendly, deer-resistant, and water-wise. They thrive in part sun to full shade and are hardy to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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What will you plant in your spring garden as you look out?

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Cynthia Brian’s March Gardening Guide

  • RESTORE your mental and physical health by planting a beautiful vista outside your windows.
  • FILTER your indoor air with houseplants. According to NASA, 87 percent of volatile organic compounds are removed by live plants naturally. Now that is nothing to sneeze over!
  • RETHINK the design of your landscape to coincide with your interior spaces.
  • PULL weeds as they sprout.
  • PERUSE garden catalogs to plan a 2021 victory garden of healthy vegetables and herbs.
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  • FERTILIZE lawns.
  • SCATTER slug and snail bait.
  • REACH horticultural heights with a selection of flowering trees and shrubs. 
  • SUPPORT the Moraga Garden Club’s project, Moraga for Monarchs by helping to install a Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Education Garden at Rancho Laguna Park. Visit www.moragagardenclub.com.
  • FORCE branches of crabapple, quince, forsythia, and redbud by placing your tree prunings in a bucket of water in a dark place until the buds swell. Move the branches to a beautiful vase filled with warm water and enjoy the show. Change the water daily and add a few drops of bleach to ward off bacteria.
  • TRIM dead foliage from your ornamental grasses using sharp hedge clippers.
  • PICK up camellias blossoms that have fallen to the ground. Decaying blooms harbor petal blight.
  • AERATE your lawn. The soil is compacted from winter rains and foot traffic.  Leave the plugs to add nutrients back into the grass.
  • SPRINKLE poppy seeds as spring approaches. 
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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing!

More Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1501/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Looking-out.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

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Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Movie Review: The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! * Every Episode Is Filled with a Fun Adventure Mixed With an Enthusiastic Learning Experience

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Movie Review: The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! * Every Episode Is Filled with a Fun Adventure Mixed With an Enthusiastic Learning Experience

Bus, do your stuff! Field trips with Ms. Frizzle are wilder than ever, into space, over to the Galapagos Islands even a plunge into the depths of the Sun itself. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rosemary K., comments, “Looking for an entertaining, educational and nostalgic TV series on DVD? Well, then the Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! is perfect for you. Although it is targeted toward a younger audience, I still found myself attentive and interested in the story lines. Each episode has a fun adventure, mixed with an enthusiastic learning experience. It reminds me of how much I liked reading the original The Magic School Bus books when I was younger.” Kyla C. adds, “There are many impressive elements in this show – from trees, to animals, to kids, the colorful animation is eye-catching. The animals are also very cute, as are some of the plot points. Humor for all ages, but primarily aimed toward younger kids, is woven throughout and laughs are spread out nicely. Another touch of creativity is the way that these episodes are supremely entertaining, but also very educational. It’s seemingly just your normal animated show, and then all of a sudden, you’re learning things without even realizing it!” Maica N. wraps it up with, “The message of The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is that exploring and being curious is a good thing, and that curiosity can lead to extraordinary discoveries. The characters aren’t afraid of showing how fond they are of exploring and learning new things. This can be uplifting for kids who may get made fun of for being intelligent or inquisitive.” See their full reviews below.  

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! By Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Looking for an entertaining, educational and nostalgic TV series on DVD? Well, then the Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! is perfect for you. Although it is targeted toward a younger audience, I still found myself attentive and interested in the story lines. Each episode has a fun adventure, mixed with an enthusiastic learning experience. It reminds me of how much I liked reading the original The Magic School Bus books when I was younger.

In the four episodes on this DVD, “Pigs in the Wind,” “Hides and Seeks,” “The Tales Glaciers Tell,” and “Tim and the Talking Trees,” the characters learn about the Earth’s patterns and ways of communicating and how it’s important to take care of the Earth. They also learn about wind patterns, how animals camouflage, how oxygen and carbon is preserved in glaciers for thousands of years and how ecosystems communicate with each other. And they also see many sights from different time periods and places that make amazing field trips.

My favorite episode is “Hides and Seeks,” especially when half of the kids get to travel to different geographic locations and study animals camouflaging to report back to the other half of the kids. We see animals in the environmental atmosphere blending in, and in contrast we see the kids in their game of hide and seek. This show is for younger audiences, but some of the concepts are explained too quickly for me to grasp and won’t make sense to everyone. A few characters are pretty different from the book, which makes them unique in this TV show. The voicing of the characters is realistic and fitting for their personalities. Although there is some repetition in ideas and story lines, it isn’t enough to make the show any less fun to watch. I would definitely watch this show in my free time just for fun.

One of the messages in this series is love the earth and to protect it. This inspires people to preserve the wildlife and habitats. We are also shown that you can always find fun in learning and it’s easier to learn when you get an inside look and explore things on your own, instead of read about them in a textbook. Sometimes the kids in the show find themselves in a scary situation, but they are never in grave danger. Apart from some concepts being a little hard to understand this series is pretty kid friendly great for school-aged kids.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13. Adults and teenagers may enjoy it too. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! Is available on DVD now so look for it. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth
By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is a great choice for young kids and schools. Apart from a few minor flaws, these four episodes are well worth your time. Colorful animation, creative incorporation of important messages and nice humor are a few of the things that make is DVD unique

Based on the original The Magic School Bus, this collection follows an elementary school class on their field trips and creative experiments that are all about Earth. When a scientific topic needs investigation, Miss Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) and the class jump aboard the magic school bus and get creative to figure out solutions to their problems.

There are many impressive elements in this show – from trees, to animals, to kids, the colorful animation is eye-catching. The animals are also very cute, as are some of the plot points. Humor for all ages, but primarily aimed toward younger kids, is woven throughout and laughs are spread out nicely. Another touch of creativity is the way that these episodes are supremely entertaining, but also very educational. It’s seemingly just your normal animated show, and then all of a sudden, you’re learning things without even realizing it! With all of this being said, there are a couple aspects that don’t quite hold up. This collection has the same characters as the original The Magic School Bus, but most of their personalities don’t match too well. Sometimes I find myself wondering if they really are the same characters. This could be disappointing for fans of the original The Magic School Bus series. Also, some things are just not realistic. Besides the school bus’s magic, which is clearly fantasized, a lot of events occur that don’t make much sense. For example, the students build a tower with hundreds of bricks in a short amount of time.

The message of this show is that teamwork is necessary to accomplish tasks. Whether it be setting the stage for a play or playing hide and seek, working together is vital. This DVD is terrific for learning science concepts.  

I give The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9, plus adults. This DVD is available now so look for it.

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth (DVD) Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 13

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is the perfect thing to give you a much-needed laugh and a much-needed lesson. While traveling all over the world, the characters in this show learn essential facts that help them with the problems they face. This series is worth the watch!

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is compilation of episodes from The Magic School Bus: Rides Again, a spinoff of the 90s series, The Magic School Bus. The episodes in this DVD have everything to do with the Earth. Ms. Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) takes her students on epic adventures all around the world, in different time periods, and through various situations. And, of course, this is with the help of their magic school bus. The characters in this show use their smarts and creativity to have a blast, while learning new things about our planet.

When you watch this DVD it’s evident that this is a fantastic show. First of all, the facts they learn are very useful, especially because they are related to concepts being learned in school. For instance, if you are learning about plants, then the episode “Tim and the Talking Trees” is perfect for you. It teaches about how the roots in trees and other plants are connected and therefore communicate in order to survive. Even if you’re NOT in school when you watch this, it’s still great to have the knowledge. Something else that makes this series so intriguing, are the settings. They are all very colorful and have a nice balance. This includes the way the characters are dressed. The colors of the wardrobe complement the backgrounds, context and the personality of each character. There are some flaws, like the comedy. Of course this is a kids’ show, however, some of the jokes are a little unsubtle. Also, there are times when the acting seems very scripted, and the pace of the dialogue and interactions seem a little off. I had a high expectation for this show, since I used to watch the original when I was younger. While this show didn’t exactly meet my expectation, it could prove to work really well for young kids now. 

The message of The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is that exploring and being curious is a good thing, and that curiosity can lead to extraordinary discoveries. The characters aren’t afraid of showing how fond they are of exploring and learning new things. This can be uplifting for kids who may get made fun of for being intelligent or inquisitive. As you can probably already tell, The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is an engaging DVD that you can watch whenever you want to learn something, have a laugh, or just want to watch an entertaining show! I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. This is an amazing DVD for parents to watch with their kids, and it provokes discussion afterwards. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is available now. So look for it.

Movie Review: The Father * Beautiful, Moving Film Depicting Dementia In Its Raw, Brutal Essence

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Movie Review: The Father * Beautiful, Moving Film Depicting Dementia In Its Raw, Brutal Essence

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “The Father cries out to its viewers to enjoy life while they have their senses and to show compassion toward those who have begun to lose (or have already lost) a clear view of the world. It’s a sobering portrait of mental illness and yet an empowering film for those coping with their individual struggles.” Heather S. adds, “The moral of this film is that love conquers all, even the impossible. With the decline of Anthony’s mental health, he always has family by his side. Anne always does what is best for her father, including finding the best caretaker in London. Once Anthony is in a home, his nurse has the patience and love to answer his questions, comfort him and put his needs first.” See their full reviews below.

The Father By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A beautifully-made and moving film, The Father depicts dementia in its raw, brutal essence and will surely make an imprint on your soul.

The French-British film centers around aging Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an Englishman who “has his ways,” as his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) says. As Anthony develops dementia and his condition worsens, Anne finds it difficult to balance her life with caring for her father. The film traces how the two of them go about their lives together and how the disease progresses. The Father is told in a jumbled manner because our perspective of the film is as Anthony would see it:  All out of order. Anne’s husband Paul (Rufus Sewell) and another man who Anthony thinks is her husband, a woman, and several caretakers all appear and disappear throughout the film. Even the settings shift, and you’re never really sure where you are. Director Florian Zeller and his crew design both Anne and Anthony’s apartments to look relatively similar which enhances that perspective of disorientation.

Anthony Hopkins has always played cerebral roles, so this more emotional one is unique in his repertoire. He sheds tears, flies into fits of rage, and immerses himself in the character of a strong-willed man slowly losing his grip on what’s happening. The last scene is especially poignant and hard-hitting; no spoilers, though! Olivia Colman’s portrayal of Anne is one that many who have dealt with a relative suffering from a progressive mental illness will identify with. It’s incredibly realistic, and, at times, you forget that she’s an actress playing a character. Anne herself is layered, especially in how she copes with Anthony’s dementia; first keeping her emotions bundled up, escalating to emotional breakdowns, and eventually to some scary fantasies. Colman deals with these feelings beautifully, immersing herself much like Hopkins does. Director Florian Zeller isn’t actually a director by profession; he’s a playwright, and this film was adapted from his play Le Pére. He’s a master storyteller, and you couldn’t tell this is his first gig as a director. His attention to detail (especially with sets, something I’m sure he took from his career in playwriting), combined with his personal experiences (his grandmother was diagnosed with dementia when Zeller was 12) make this film an earnest yet unsettling project.

The Father cries out to its viewers to enjoy life while they have their senses and to show compassion toward those who have begun to lose (or have already lost) a clear view of the world. It’s a sobering portrait of mental illness and yet an empowering film for those coping with their individual struggles. There is some profanity, slight violence (Paul slaps Anthony), and Anthony and Anne’s father-daughter relationship gets a bit abusive at times.

I give The Father 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults; younger kids could watch the film if they feel comfortable with themes like mental illness. The Father releases on-demand on March 12, 2021.

The Father By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Father is an excellent depiction of the reality for many elderly people. This film offers insight into the minds of those that suffer from dementia and how they think. We see how this illness affects not only the patient, but their loved ones.

The Father follows Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an elder suffering from dementia. The motion picture shows how his mind plays tricks on him. He forgets names easily and he sees his daughter differently, as in with a different face. He also imagines people are there that do not exist. All the while, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) struggles to find her father the perfect caretaker.

This film really is an eye-opener to the reality of dementia. Not only is Anthony forgetful, but his attitude changes rapidly in the blink of an eye. In one scene, he is all happy and jazzy as he converses with a young woman, and then he is angry and demands that he doesn’t need a caretaker. He believes that he can outlive his own daughter and even talks about what he would say at her funeral. In another scene, he even forgets his name and calls out for his mother. This film is perfect for the loved ones of dementia patients. The movie offers the perspective, ideas, and confusion the victims go through. It also serves as a guide by showing how Anne deals with her father’s outbursts and how her love stands strong to always help him. Not once does she give up on her father, insisting he deserves the best care.

The moral of this film is that love conquers all, even the impossible. With the decline of Anthony’s mental health, he always has family by his side. Anne always does what is best for her father, including finding the best caretaker in London. Once Anthony is in a home, his nurse has the patience and love to answer his questions, comfort him and put his needs first. There are warnings that go along with its PG-13 rating. Mild profanity is sprinkled throughout the film, along with realistic depictions of mental illness.

I give The Father 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It premieres on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu February 26, 2021.

Movie Review: Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! * Jennifer Garner’s Distinctive Voice Brings Warmth and Charm as Mama Llama

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Movie Review: Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! * Jennifer Garner’s Distinctive Voice Brings Warmth and Charm as Mama Llama

Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories. Giana N. comments, “I used to read these books all the time, and I was both surprised and happy when I recognized the familiar storylines. The lessons that Llama Llama and his friends learn are something a viewer may need a refresher on, or they may even be something they want to teach someone else. Either way, this show has great reminders of what’s important about life.” KatherJne S. adds, “Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!, like so many of the other Llama Llama DVDs, teaches helpful life-lessons, like patience and discussing how you feel with others. The animation is simple and 2D, with a variety of adorable animals.” Ashleigh C. wraps it up with, “Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30) has a very distinctive and warm voice while portraying Mama Llama. While Llama Llama is voiced by Shayle Simons, whose voice is very young and natural sounding. The animation, especially of the characters, is very colorful and feels like the pages of a storybook awakening. Each episode consists of different plot lines and introduces new characters and scenes. You never know what to expect or what will happen next in each episode, making this show one of a kind.” See their full reviews below.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

The DVD Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is a collection of episodes from the animated children’s show, Llama Llama, on Netflix. In this DVD Llama Llama and his friends go on adventures and learn valuable lessons.

The stories in these episodes follow Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), and his friends having fun and learning along the way. Even though Llama Llama is obviously a llama, this show talks about issues that real kids deal with. Mama Llama (Jennifer Garner) is also a part of the activities with Llama Llama and his friends, encouraging him to have fun, be kind, and trust that everything will be okay.

In all the episodes, Llama Llama and his friends learn something new and viewers can learn along with them. My favorite episode is “Llama Llama Shopping Drama,” because it shows Llama Lama being impatient as his mother shops, which I am sure many kids can relate to. In this episode, Llama Llama learns that, in life, you need to be patient. Another thing I like about this show is that it includes the events that happen in the Llama Llama books, but as a TV episode. I used to read these books all the time, and I was both surprised and happy when I recognized the familiar storylines. The lessons that Llama Llama and his friends learn are something a viewer may need a refresher on, or they may even be something they want to teach someone else. Either way, this show has great reminders of what’s important about life.

The message of Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is that there is always something to learn. Whether it’s an educational or character development lesson, it can be helpful in knowing how you live your life.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is an awesome DVD! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. The DVD is available now so go check it out!

Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!, like so many of the other Llama Llama DVDs, teaches helpful life-lessons, like patience and discussing how you feel with others. The animation is simple and 2D, with a variety of adorable animals.

This collection follows Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), a playful Llama and some of his adventures with his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat. It has 165 hours of fun, with 15 episodes, each lasting around 11 minutes. Episodes include some about the seasons like Last Day of Summer, Spring Fever and Snow Show. Others cover a variety of experiences such as Happy Birthday Llama Llama, Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! and Llama Llama Shopping Drama.

This show is based on the beloved Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney. I admire how the creators of this show do so much with just a little help from the books. Kudos to the writers and to George Gabriel, who wrote the show’s theme song; it’s very catchy. This cast includes Jennifer Garner who voices Mama Llama and her soothing voice fits the role perfectly. My favorite episode is Happy Birthday Llama Llama because it shows how much friends care for one another. My favorite characters are Grandma (Kathleen Barr) and Grandpa Llama (David Orth/David Poole) because wherever they are, they bring fun along with them.

There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including patience, making the most out of everything and problem solving and friendship.

I give Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. This DVD is available now, so look for it. Llama Llama: Fun With Friends 
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends makes the childhood stories we all know and love come to life in a spectacular and fun way. This DVD is a compilation of episodes from the animated series based on the children’s book Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.  

Each episode in this show is full of adventure, whether it’s looking for a missing tooth, losing a race, or just flying kites. Every episode, Llama Llama and his friends learn something new and so does the audience. 

Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30) has a very distinctive and warm voice while portraying Mama Llama. While Llama Llama is voiced by Shayle Simons, whose voice is very young and natural sounding. The animation, especially of the characters, is very colorful and feels like the pages of a storybook awakening. Each episode consists of different plot lines and introduces new characters and scenes. You never know what to expect or what will happen next in each episode, making this show one of a kind. Voice director and series casting by Doug Parker makes this entire show worth the watch! 

Even though every episode has a different message, the overall theme is like the words that Llama Llama’s many friends say: “Never say never! Don’t give up.” You don’t know how far you can go. This showpromotes positive social behaviors, such as caring, helping one another and being there for your friends. Llama Llama: Fun With Friends gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. You can find Llama Llama: Fun With Friends on DVD now. Look for it! 

THEORY U: LEADING FROM THE FUTURE AS IT EMERGES

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THEORY U: LEADING FROM THE FUTURE AS IT EMERGES

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This blog is from the Presencing Institute, whose co-founder, Otto Scharmer, joined Maureen for an interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future.  It is a summary overview of Theory U and a companion to the interview titled The Essentials of Theory U  that aired on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021.

(Cambridge, MA: Society for Organizational Learning, SoL, 2007)

Using his experience working with some of the world’s most accomplished leaders and innovators, Otto Scharmer shows in Theory U how groups and organizations can develop seven leadership capacities in order to create a future that would not otherwise be possible.

Tapping Our Collective Capacity

We live in a time of massive institutional failure, collectively creating results that nobody wants. Climate change. AIDS. Hunger. Poverty. Violence. Terrorism. Destruction of communities, nature, life—the foundations of our social, economic, ecological, and spiritual well-being. This time calls for a new consciousness and a new collective leadership capacity to meet challenges in a more conscious, intentional, and strategic way. The development of such a capacity would allow us to create a future of greater possibilities.

Illuminating the Blind Spot

Why do our attempts to deal with the challenges of our time so often fail? Why are we stuck in so many quagmires today? The cause of our collective failure is that we are blind to the deeper dimension of leadership and transformational change. This “blind spot” exists not only in our collective leadership but also in our everyday social interactions. We are blind to the source dimension from which effective leadership and social action come into being. We know a great deal about what leaders do and how they do it. But we know very little about the inner place, the source from which they operate. And it is this source that “Theory U” attempts to explore.

The U: One Process, Five Movements

When leaders develop the capacity to come near to that source, they experience the future as if it were “wanting to be born”— an experience called “presencing.” That experience often carries with it ideas for meeting challenges and for bringing into being an otherwise impossible future. Theory U shows how that capacity for presencing can be developed.
Presencing is a journey with five movements:

As the diagram illustrates, we move down one side of the U (connecting us to the world that is outside of our institutional bubble) to the bottom of the U (connecting us to the world that emerges from within) and up the other side of the U (bringing forth the new into the world).

On that journey, at the bottom of the U, lies an inner gate that requires us to drop everything that isn’t essential. This process of letting-go (of our old ego and self) and letting-come (our highest future possibility: our Self) establishes a subtle connection to a deeper source of knowing. The essence of presencing is that these two selves—our current self and our best future Self—meet at the bottom of the U and begin to listen and resonate with each other.

Once a group crosses this threshold, nothing remains the same. Individual members and the group as a whole begin to operate with a heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Often they then begin to function as an intentional vehicle for an emerging future.

Seven Theory U Leadership Capacities

The journey through the U develops seven essential leadership capacities.

  1. Holding the space of listening
    The foundational capacity of the U is listening. Listening to others. Listening to oneself. And listening to what emerges from the collective. Effective listening requires the creation of open space in which others can contribute to the whole.
  2. Observing
    The capacity to suspend the “voice of judgment” is key to moving from projection to true observation.
  3. Sensing
    The preparation for the experience at the bottom of the U—presencing—requires the tuning of three instruments: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. This opening process is not passive but an active “sensing” together as a group. While an open heart allows us to see a situation from the whole, the open will enables us to begin to act from the emerging whole.
  4. Presencing
    The capacity to connect to the deepest source of self and will allows the future to emerge from the whole rather than from a smaller part or special interest group.
  5. Crystalizing
    When a small group of key persons commits itself to the purpose and outcomes of a project, the power of their intention creates an energy field that attracts people, opportunities, and resources that make things happen. This core group functions as a vehicle for the whole to manifest.
  6. Prototyping
    Moving down the left side of the U requires the group to open up and deal with the resistance of thought, emotion, and will; moving up the right side requires the integration of thinking, feeling, and will in the context of practical applications and learning by doing.
  7. Performing
    A prominent violinist once said that he couldn’t simply play his violin in Chartres cathedral; he had to “play” the entire space, what he called the “macro violin,” in order to do justice to both the space and the music. Likewise, organizations need to perform at this macro level: they need to convene the right sets of players (frontline people who are connected through the same value chain) and to engage a social technology that allows a multi-stakeholder gathering to shift from debating to co-creating the new.

Theory U Encourages You to Step into the Emerging Future.

Examples of these seven Theory U leadership capacities can be found in a number of multi-stakeholder innovations and corporate applications. The Presencing Institute is dedicated to developing these new social technologies by integrating science, consciousness, and profound social change methodologies.

For more information: www.presencing.com

For a 17 page Executive Summary of the Theory U book, go to www.theoryU.com where you can download a pdf file and print it yourself. Or you can request a free copy, as a small printed and bound booklet, to be mailed to you.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

This article is from the Presencing Institute. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. He introduced the concept of “presencing”—learning from the emerging future—in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence. Otto is co-author of Leading from the Emerging Future. His most recent book, The Essentials of Theory U, outlines the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.

CC License by the Presencing Institute – Otto Scharmer  https://www.presencing.org/resource/permission.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

How many more Day 1s are you going to subject yourself to?

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Empowerment
How many more Day 1s are you going to subject yourself to?

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Whole & One

With Síle

 

Voice America Empowerment Channel

How many Day 1s do you want to subject yourself to?

ANY pleasure pursued to excess can become addictive!

 

It only takes ONE day to change your life.

Feeling the badass of DAY 1?

Alternating… between the Momentum… of Day 1

And

 the White Knuckle Ride… of Day 1,

as morning, becomes evening, becomes night time?

Notice how the mood board of your day changes colour, tone and texture as the day progresses.

What seemed non-negotiable on rising, can become prey to the amygdala as your day unfolds and unfurls and you stop paying attention…

…watch out for the PAWS!

How many DAY 1s are you going to subject yourself to?

Addiction is any pleasure pursued to excess…substances, religion, sex, food, gambling…

Addictions are an attempt to get needs met.

Today, do that emotional needs audit and contemplate how you can get your emotional needs met healthily, so you don’t need the pain relief / instant gratification/ numbing out/ quick fix…

of over eating, eating the wrong foods, drinking hazardously, abusing substances, to name but a few of the destructive habits we can build into the tapestry of our lives, however mindlessly at first.  Pursued to excess, addictive life styles, hijack a very natural process: our natural sense of curiosity –

We are all vulnerable to addictions when our basic emotional needs are not being met.

 

We have evolved to be curious so that we will do whatever it takes in order to get our needs met.  In order to stretch ourselves, to awaken and expand, we have a natural propensity for trying out new things, often involving an element of risk.  This natural curiosity is adaptive when the carrot and stick of this so called expectancy pathway, encourage us to go from couch to 5km for example, to learn something new; sign up for a course or read a book, to eat more healthily, join a group like a choir for example.  Meeting our needs for connection, achievement, meaning and purpose and so on through constant improvement of personal best, is carrot and stick, at its very best.

Addiction on the other hand is a conditioned expectation that

  • The addictive activity will give a feeling of pleasure
  • The addictive activity will alleviate cravings
  • The addictive activity will keep us flexible; as tolerance levels increase and we have to do more of the same, for the same level of pleasure.

When applied to adaptive habits and practices, this expectancy theory would serve our growth and restoration extremely well.  The infiltration of this pleasure circuit however, by quick fixes in the form of exogenous substances and toxic practices, as opposed to things which take effort to pursue (like exercise for a natural high as opposed to drugs of any kind, for a quick fix) only serve to weaken our strength and function as balanced human beings.

KICK IT

1)Get power over that expectation of pleasure, that addiction fools us into thinking we will derive from engagement with it.

2)Overwrite the misguided euphoric memories in the filing room of your brain, with truths.

 It wasn’t the best night of your life, you puked your ring up, spent the night fighting off demons and battled anxiety for days afterwards until you did it all over again.  Rinse and repeat.

FACT

Hijacked.

Addiction does not allow us to remember negative feelings during the craving.

Addiction stimulates dopamine; feel good messages in the brain.  If you can manage the distortion of those ‘feel good’ chemicals and keep your pleasure circuit oiled on truths not misguided euphoric memory, you can control so called cravings. 

Dopamine soaked memories are the illusion that fuel cravings.

FACT

We have evolved to produce good feelings in our brain when we are getting our needs met.  Our brain will serve our need to survive and thrive, by producing bad feelings when we are not getting our needs met.

If you replace this neuropharmacology with drugs from without often enough, endogenous production of same will down regulate accordingly.  Result, you will not get natural highs anymore.  Achievement will not produce good feelings.

Activities that produce natural highs will be dropped over time.

It’s a vicious circle.

FACT

It only takes ONE day to change your life.

Get ready,

to be ready,

to be ready

to do

just

ONE more

DAY 1.

WHOLE & ONE.

You’ve got this!!!

Movie Review: Floogals: Season One * Mini Aliens Help Preschoolers Discover How The World Works

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VoiceAmerica
Movie Review: Floogals: Season One * Mini Aliens Help Preschoolers Discover How The World Works

Join the Floogals on a mission of discovery as they explore Earth and the funny hoomans who live there! The show centers on three three-inch tall extraterrestrials called Floogals who have come to Earth to study its inhabitants. Upon landing, a human boy, thinking their spaceship is a toy, hangs their craft onto the ceiling of his bedroom. The Floogals, however, don’t seem to mind as they carry on with their studying. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giana N. comments, “The DVD Floogals: Season One is a collection of episodes from the animated children’s TV show that teaches kids about new things in a fun way. The characters are colorful and fun, and they never run out of new things to explore. This show is entertaining and interesting, which is perfect for a younger audience. Kayla A. adds, “The theme song of the show is very catchy. I could see myself listening to it multiple times. My favorite character is Boomer, voiced by Hugo Harold-Harrison, because he is funny, caring and kind of silly and that makes him even funnier.” See their full reviews below.

Floogals: Season One By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

The DVD Floogals: Season One is a collection of episodes from the animated children’s TV show that teaches kids about new things in a fun way. The characters are colorful and fun, and they never run out of new things to explore. This show is entertaining and interesting, which is perfect for a younger audience. 


The show is about tiny aliens named Fleeker, Flo and Boomer who are from the planet Floog. After coming to Earth, they observe and learn new things every day. As the aliens roam around the “hoomans” house, they learn about things that people use, such as a balloon, flashlight, and a trumpet. After the aliens are done investigating and learning all about the new objects, they send a report back to their home planet Floog. If the other aliens like their report, the aliens get a sticker. The aliens go to sleep and get ready to learn something new the next day.  


The theme song of the show is very catchy. I could see myself listening to it multiple times. My favorite character is Boomer, voiced by Hugo Harold-Harrison, because he is funny, caring and kind of silly and that makes him even funnier. For example, at the end of each episode, after the aliens send their report to Floog, Boomer either makes a joke or does something funny to make the audience laugh. The storylines are easy to follow because they help kids learn about basic things, such as a doll, a cast, and a tent. Also, the aliens don’t use big words; they use words that young children will know and understand. Many animated kids’ shows don’t show a contrast between cartoons and humans, so that part is pretty cool.


The message of Floogals isyou can learn something new with everything you do. There is always a way to learn something, even if you don’t notice it. This is totally kid-friendly.


Floogals: Season One is a great DVD to watch! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. The DVD releases on January 19, 2021. Go check it out!

Floogals: Season One

By Kayla A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The DVD Floogals: Season One is a collection of episodes from the fantastic animated TV show Floogals. It is perfect for young children with its fun, playful storyline. It’s very kid-friendly and enjoyable for other family members to watch as well. I like how short each episode is. Parents don’t want their young children watching screens all day, and these short episodes combat that problem.

The storyline follows the Floogals, a team of intergalactic alien explorers named Captain Fleeker, Junior Boomer and First Officer Flo, who travel to Earth to learn more about its wonders. In each episode, the Floogals find different objects that the “hoomans” use, learn more about them and report back to their planet. 

This voice-acting in this show is very enjoyable. Ramus Hardiker (Captain Fleeker), Jules de Jongh (First Officer Flo) and Hugo Harold-Harrison (Junior Boomer) perfectly portray explorer aliens on a whole new planet. Their voice-acting really brings life to the characters in this show. Also, I love the animation, which is full of bright colors and perfect for young kids. Lastly, I love the theme song. It’s really catchy and has a memorable tune.


I think the message of this film about exploring. The show really encourages kids to ask questions and be curious.

I rate Floogals: Season One 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 6. This DVD is available January 19, 2021.

Movie Review: Apollo 11: Quarantine * Unique Film Sure To Allure Space Fans, History Buffs And More

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Movie Reviews
Movie Review: Apollo 11: Quarantine * Unique Film Sure To Allure Space Fans, History Buffs And More

Apollo 11 astronauts spend three weeks in medical quarantine after safely returning to Earth in the summer of 1969. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Apollo 11: Quarantine is a uniquely relatable found-footage style film that is sure to allure space fans, history buffs and everyone else, too! The creators of this film have pieced together parts of old footage from newsfeeds and other sources to tell a grand story of astronauts in quarantine.” See his full review below.

Apollo 11: Quarantine By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Apollo 11: Quarantine is a uniquely relatable found-footage style film that is sure to allure space fans, history buffs and everyone else, too! The creators of this film have pieced together parts of old footage from newsfeeds and other sources to tell a grand story of astronauts in quarantine.

Now, more about that story! The film follows the crew of the Apollo 11 spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) in their 21-day quarantine in the summer of 1969. Scientists weren’t sure if they had made contact (and maybe even brought back) dangerous lunar microorganisms like bacteria, so the astronauts had to be contained and swabbed and scrubbed down regularly. But the Apollo 11 crew weren’t as isolated as you’d think: they kept contact with the outside world through a pane of thick glass. This film shows the activities that went on during those 21 days and how much patience and emotional strength the astronauts had to show; it took a lot of resilience for the roving moon-explorers, but they pulled through!

To the fun stuff, now! Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins are the lead “characters” in the film. Todd Douglas Miller brilliantly edited together all of the individual incredible clips. Besides the editing, the music and small intercut scenes of footage shot in the 21st century both help create the ambiance for the film. I also have to say that the audio work is quite interesting; I didn’t think that audio from the late ‘60s was surround sound or stereo. I watch the film with headphones on and was surprised that the audio in parts of the film (like when the crew uses walkie-talkies) goes from one ear to the other. Quite modern for the mid-to-late 20th century!

Apollo 11: Quarantine promotes the message of resilience and sticking through anything that comes your way. The film shows exactly how difficult it was for the crew of Apollo 11 to be quarantined for 21 days, interacting with the outside world through a glass pane or capsule. But they pulled through, and President Gerald Ford congratulated them with a proud speech on Day 21 of their quarantine, the last day. I give Apollo 11: Quarantine 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy this film as well. Apollo 11: Quarantine will be released exclusively in IMAX™ on January 29, 2021, and on Premium On Demand on February 5, 2021.

Movie Review: A Glitch In The Matrix * Rare Documentary That Asks A Question It Knows It Can’t Answer

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Movie Review: A Glitch In The Matrix * Rare Documentary That Asks A Question It Knows It Can’t Answer

Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher tackles this question “are we living in a simulation?” with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “A Glitch In The Matrix is a radical, uniquely-presented look at simulation theory in the digital age – specifically, how those who prescribe to the notion that we’re all living in a simulation came to those beliefs and how this belief affects their outlook. Dense, but accessible, directed by Rodney Ascher, it’s the rare documentary that asks a question it knows it can’t answer.” See the rest of his review below.

A Glitch In The Matrix By Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 15

A Glitch In The Matrix is a radical, uniquely-presented look at simulation theory in the digital age – specifically, how those who prescribe to the notion that we’re all living in a simulation came to those beliefs and how this belief affects their outlook. Dense, but accessible, directed by Rodney Ascher, it’s the rare documentary that asks a question it knows it can’t answer.

In the late 1970s, famed author Phillip K. Dick, known for his sci-fi stories, gave a talk where he laid out his theory that we are living in a simulation. This becomes the entry point into the maw of simulation theory, its depth only outmatched by its complexity. A Glitch In The Matrix utilizes a famed and celebrated movie as its main frame of reference in exploring its theme — The Matrix, a film that put simulation theory into the mainstream. Ascher’s film investigates where stimulation theory stemmed from, how its tenets and principles have been echoed throughout history by everyone from Plato to Elon Musk to current times.

The conceit of A Glitch In The Matrix can’t so much be explored as marveled at, and the possibilities of a simulated reality tinkered with, and so that’s exactly what it does.  This film boldly depicts this proposed reality entirely through CG animation and clips from popular culture that have dealt with similar ideas. I respect that a film about simulations indulges so heavily in them.  For example, many people who speak in the film have their identities shielded by virtual avatars that filter their perspectives, enhancing the feel of a simulation. This method of using simulation techniques in a film about simulation gets very “meta,” but, in doing so, adheres to and honors the film’s topic and not in a show-offy or self-congratulatory way. 

I have respect for any movie that seeks to make you question the world you live in.  Socially and politically, A Glitch In The Matrix does that quite literally. If you’re looking for a documentary that finds the key to its main topic and deconstructs it bit by bit, this isn’t that, but if you’re willing to go on a bit of a journey through a school of thought via the lens of a capable filmmaker that challenges what you think about your own reality, sit down, give this a chance and enjoy it. A Glitch In The Matrix is left incomplete almost by design, but somehow that works to its charm. I give A Glitch In The Matrix 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 14 to 18 for some simulated violence and the description of a violent crime. It just premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it will be available in theaters and at home on February 5, 2021.

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