Yearly Archives

7 Articles

Posted by Joel Greene on

Memoirs of a Pseudo Life | Ages 0-10

So I wanted to start writing a series of memoirs outlining a few details about myself. I’m going to try and keep them short but being a memoir, I make no guarantee but I do promise to try and spare you the lecture. And don’t let the title fool you, my life was real and very much a part of me growing up. I say pseudo because I’ve come to realize in my older age that the world is not what it seems and many of my childhood beliefs were skewed. I’m trying to avoid the word wrong here, as I don’t think everyone is flat out wrong but we should always practice caution and avoid blindly following what we are told. My life is what it is because of my childhood upbringing and likely if I was born someone else, I wouldn’t have my same opinions or beliefs. Possibly even the complete opposite.

By the way, this is probably not a read for everyone. It’s essentially my ongoing memoirs so be ready for some deep and heartfelt details. You’ve been cautioned.

So as many of you might know, I’m not a normal person nor am I married into a normal life. I wear clothes that are normally identified as feminine, my wife is the breadwinner, and I attend a very run after GOD revivalist church. Basically in better words I’m bit more progressive than most people, at least when compared to those who call themselves Christian. Sadly being able to say that is losing meaning. But I was not always this way.

I was born in Florida in 1986. My parents were your fairly normally 80’s newlyweds with dreams and aspirations like any other young couple in their generation. When I was 4 years old, my Dad moved the family to the south Chicago suburbs to find a better paying job. He worked construction and such wages were fairly poor in Florida. So he learned to drive a semi and has been doing so ever since. So let’s start out with my younger years.

I was very close with my cousins at the time, as my mother’s family lived in the area. I can remember frequent trips to the small subdivision that they all occupied. Seriously, the subdivision was nothing but Witvoets. I was the oldest boy of the cousins, with my cousins Heidi and Holly (and technically Charity) being older than me. I was the only boy until I was about 6, when other boys were born into the extended family. First being my cousin Frankie, then my brother, and then my other cousin Andy. Many other boys were born through my teen years but that’s beside the point. For many years my only real friends were girls but that’s not to say I had no other boys in my life. I had both my neighbor friend Joe and a kid of a distant cousin, Tyler. I also from time to time played with other boys from church. So yes, I had many opportunities with play with other boys my age.

But the strange truth is, I found it incredibly difficult to relate with them. They always wanted to be rough and dirty, while I wanted to play things like house, build sandcastles, or play with pipes and water. I don’t look forward to playing with the boys in my life but I would to keep myself occupied. Instead I would look forward to playing with my cousins, who were gentle and loved playing house. Frequently Heidi and I would be the parents, while anyone left would be the kids. Obviously I was made the husband and it was my least favorite role. Each time my job was to pretend to “go to work” for several minutes and then pretend to come home, only to sit down and be pestered by my fake kids and wife. I remember once or twice finally getting to play the wife, but no one took my role seriously. Also at home, while my parents were okay with me playing with dolls and pretend house with girls, I was never allowed to do so alone, at least I should say it was met with disapproval. Not to say I wanted to play with dolls or other girl toys, like the easy bake ovens or Playskool kitchens, they were just more up my ally.

On a quick note, my sister was born when I was about 4. Around this time she was just getting into the older girls toys and I would play with her as an excuse to play with her toys. She also had a very close friendship with another girl at a young age and this sort of made me jealous. But I digress.

Now I’m about to share a very personal detail and please know, that it’s a very hard detail for me to share. Because of the way I was treated and because I was not allowed to be who I wanted to be at a young age, a door had been opened to the devil and he began to try and convince me that I was a mistake and that I was suppose to have been born a Girl. This lie festered and grew, I had dreams of being a girl for years and the first time I felt comfortable enough, I shared this with my cousins privately. I had a hard time getting it off my tongue but when it finally slipped, I felt better like I huge weight had been lifted, that is until my cousins all out rejected me. They told me I was wrong and I should ignore that opinion. While they might not had used those exact words, that was essentially how I felt afterwards.

That moment was the first scar I had, it hurt deep and I never spoke of it again. After that moment, I buried my fantasies but would continue to dream of the what-ifs. During this time, I had made friends with an mother and older daughter who lived a couple houses down. This was mostly due to the fact that I would try to avoid kids my age and keep to having relationships with adults, it was better that way. I shoveled her walkways and watched her two dogs a few times.

One activity I enjoyed was garbage picking, I know a strange hobby and probably not very sanitary but in my neighborhood, nearly every week something good was in the trash. And one week, I found a bag of old clothes belonging to the daughter of the neighbor and out of curiosity I wore them. FYI, it was only things like socks, shirts, and leggings, so no underwear or bras, in case you were curious. There wasn’t anything colorful or cute but nonetheless it was teen clothes and they fit me. I never wore them for more than 10 to 30 minutes at a time but I would get such a kick out of them. It felt so forbidden.

One day, I don’t remember why, my family had several other families or friends over. One thing we kids enjoyed was putting on plays, you know kid stuff. On this day, we rehearsed a fairly complex play and passed out fake tickets for the show to the parents. I for the most part ran the lights, props, and was the narrator. Well except one part, I decided to play an extra, a female extra, just standing in the background of one scene. I wore both the shirt and black leggings I had found and a couple apples for boobs. My scene came and all went as planned; I slipped off stage and after few more minutes, our play was over and the parents were showing their appreciation. Having time to spare we all decided to try and make up bloopers, those were all the rage back then. We got though a few different made-up bloopers and the parents once again loved them. So I wanting some attention, decided to have a blooper of my own and I reestablished my scene, except this time, I made focus of looking bored and taking one of the apples from my shirt and taking a bite from it. The room went quiet, not a single cheer or clap. Once I left the stage, the parents gave one last cheer and returned to their gathering. While all the kids had tons of fun, I on the other hand as deeply sadden. Once again, I had felt denied as a person. I was about 9 at this time and that last hurt caused me to deny my feeling and conceal myself for years to come. You know, a bit of an Elsa story. Shortly before this time, my Mom rekindled a friendship from High school, we called her Aunt Susan, thou she was not really an aunt. She had a daughter named Stephanie and she was roughly my age, so naturally we became the best of friends. Nothing like any other friendship I had before.

So anyways, that concludes my memoirs for now. Stay tuned for the next part.

Posted by Joel Greene on

What Am I Eating Tonight? – Cheesy Cream of Chicken and Potatoes (Gluten Free)

So what am I eating tonight? Well it’s another wonderful concoction made by yours truly and it’s gluten free. That’s right, I made it without a recipe and now I’m sharing it with you!

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb Medley Mini Potatoes (But any bite size pieces of potato will do)
  2. 3/4 lb Chicken Breast Meat (Cut into stripes)
  3. 1 cup Celery (Chopped)
  4. 1/2 Medium Onion (Chopped)
  5. 6 Medium Mushrooms (Chopped)
  6. 1 cup Snow Peas
  7. 2 tbs Corn Starch
  8. 1 cup Milk (I used some nearly two month old RAW milk. I think it makes a difference in these type of recipes.)
  9. 1 1/2 Tbs Butter (NO MARGARINE)
  10. 1/2 tsp Salt
  11. 1/2 tsp Rosemary
  12. DASH Pepper
  13. 1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  14. 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Cut potatoes into about 1 inch pieces, if not already that size and boil until nearly soft but NOT mushy.
  2. Add ingredient 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and a tbs of coconut or olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook until chicken is done.
  3. In a separate small saucepan, whisk ingredient 7 and 8 until well blended. Stir in ingredient 9, 10, 11, and 12.
  4. Heat cream to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer on low for 1-2 minutes to thicken. It should just barely coat the backside of a spoon.
  5. Add ingrediant 13 and 14 with cream and mix well.
  6. Drain cooked potatoes and then combine with chicken, vegetables, and cream. Stir and serve.

Calories: I don’t know but I’ll try calculating it sometime.
Servings: I don’t know but it’s probably 3-6 people.
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes or so.

YUMMY!

Posted by Joel Greene on

Bluehost Review and Full Backup Workaround

I’ve been doing web development for quite sometime now and over the course of all those years, I’ve tried close to a dozen different hosting providers. Rarely did I host with multiple hosting accounts when most hosters offer very reasonably priced resellers accounts. Today I’ve settled with my own dedicated server with 6 or so virtualization containers with cPanel installed on one. While I’m not exactly a fan of using cPanel for everything, I will admit it has it’s advantages. But I digress.

During my adventures of switching from hoster to hoster. I may have had Bluehost once and from what I do remember it’s was one of worst hosters I ever tried. While it’s common for hosters to customize their cPanel dashboards, Bluehost does it the worst by making the menus harder to navigate and replacing basic cPanel features with even dumber (or broken) features. One such feature is their so called Site Backup Pro service. Personally much like the “Hey, we advertise hosting at a $1 per month, it’s $14.99 if you pay month-to-month”, this is just another excuse to milk the customer for more money.

So you can imagine my feelings when my wife and I took over ownership of Holy Worlds a few months ago and learned that they were using Bluehost as a hoster. My first response was that we will be switching hosting to our company dedicated server ASAP. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I learn the current IT volunteers wanted off Bluehost too as apparently the poorly designed website was eating resources and getting blocked frequently. Over the last few months, we drafted the agreements and took over. Plus I started development on a new website that we plan to roll out hopefully by the end of the year.

So fast forward to the beginning of this month when after I returned to my computer from watching a movie and learned that the Holy Worlds hosting was suspended. Without getting into too much detail, the hosting renewal notices got overlooked. I immediately decided that instead of renewing the hosting for a premium I would switch to my dedicated server ASAP but I had one problem, I could not download our website data without renewing and their dumb renewal form would not let me do less than three months. So I contacted chat support and as I learned, you “phone call” Bluehost support because they have one of the worst incompetent support teams over chat that you could ever ask for. In the end, I ended up having no choice but to renew and fortunately (or unfortunately) they let me renew for one month at a steep premium. Once Holy Worlds was back online and I started the file transfer, that is when I learned that Bluehost’s Site Backup Pro service were broken as could ever be. — It’s one of those features that cPanel has but they insist on using their own. — I couldn’t get the backup to cooperate and when I was a few GBs into a download, it would randomly abort claiming there was network failure. And to make matters worst someone online said that once backups get over a gig or so, the archive typically becomes corrupt and apparently this has been an issue for some time now. So about ready to do a manual file by file transfer over sftp, it came to me. “Just because the cPanel dashboard is forcing me to use Site Backup Pro (and the cPanel basic backup feature was no where to be found), doesn’t mean that the basic cPanel feature was completely removed. So I came up with this nifty workaround to their broken backups. One a side note, you will need shell access to make this work.

Bluehost Backup

So first I navigated to the backup feature on my cPanel server and found the URL to be end in “/frontend/paper_lantern/backup/wizard-backup.html”. So starting with a similar Bluehost URL, O replaced the part starting at “frontend” onward. — Keep in mind that the begin part of your URL vary because the hostname is the physical cPanel “box” you’re hosted on and the second part will be your cPanel session ID, like so: https://[server].bluehost.com:2083/cpsess[id]/frontend/bluehost/backup/wizard-fullbackup.html. And would you know it, I was greeted by a similar backup page that is no longer accessible by their dashboard.

SSH Transfer

The presented form is more or less the same as the one on my server. I selected full backup to my home directory and sure enough after maybe 15 to 30 minutes (19GB backup, no idea why!) the full cPanel backup was placed in my home directory. (FYI, the e-mail notifications for the full backups seem broken. So just keep an eye on the page for it to finish, as you won’t receive an e-mail.) Finally, I ssh’d into my shared hosting shell (instructions can be found in Bluehost’s KB) and moved the backup file to my “public_html” directory so I could transfer the file over HTTP instead of using FTP or SFTP. Then I initiated a transfer using wget and after a couple hours the file has been successfully downloaded. — Again, it was 19GBs of data — In the end, no network failure and the archive is complete. I restored the data on my dedicated server and archived the tar in my personal storage, so I could safely discontinue service with Bleuhost.

I hope this little workaround helps those who are frustrated with the service they are getting from Bluehost. I’m just glad to be done with them, I will never use their hosting again! Oh, by the way. Once I migrated the site to my dedicated server, our visitors noticed an easy 300% speed improvement over Bluehost. Plus Bluehost has this problem with blacklisting several of the IP addresses used by Cloudflare, which is stupid for two reasons; First they claim to be partnered with Cloudflare and second, the Cloudflare IPs are made publicly transparent for white-listing. So we had visitors being blocked at random because Cloudflare proxied them over one or more of the blacklisted IPs. For shame Bluehost!

Posted by Joel Greene on

Political Rant of the Year

So I’m finally going to just do it and write a political post on this blog. I’m getting dangerously close to ranting away on Facebook and you should know, that’s not normal for me. I tend to stay away from commenting or simply expressing my political views if I can help it, specially on social media. But this round of presidential elections, have probably become the most toxic yet for America and I don’t think I can hold my silence on this one much longer. It’s laughable how bad people thought the 2004 John Kerry vs. George Bush debates were. And yes, I say verses because quite literally since the two party system has taken preference here in America, that’s basically what it has become. We might as well just throw our best into a ring and have them battle it out by this point. I mean it’s not even worth one candidate over the other anymore. I at least had some love for George Bush but I mean really, is Trump the best we can do? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sort of happy Trump entered this race, but not for the reasons you think. Instead I believe he’s finally the candidate that’s revealing so much hypocrisy in our election system and people don’t like it, sadly I think there are better people for this job but he’s doing great there. Let’s just hope all this effort does NOT go in vain and we don’t end up with a worst America.

Not hold your horse, don’t misinterpret my comments in that last paragraph. So I’ll say this, “I AM NOT VOTING FOR NOR DO I WANT TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT!” But yet again don’t misinterpret that one. So I’ll say this, “I AM NOT VOTING FOR NOR DO I WANT FOR HILLARY” Got it? So who am I voting for? Well, as much as it sort of pains me to say, I’m voting for Gary Johnson. I know, I know, my family would probably think I’m nuts. Who votes for the libertarians, right? I normally consider myself to be a Conservative Republican much like my parents and their parents, but it’s sadden me to see even the Conservatives starting to show sides of themselves I don’t like. There has always been some isolated areas of corruption in the Republican party but with some recent events it’s clear that is no party without sin and it’s disturbing. Sure there are some genuine people in both parties but… how can I even express my disappointment in my political system. Anyways, a while back I told my wife, the two party system needs to be shaken up and having Trump in the race has probably finally done just that. And with Hillary involved in her crimes, this is probably the perfect time for get an alternative into the White House. I think we need a period of having neither a Republican nor Democrat in the hot seat, so the parties can reflect on their faults. The parties are in distress and are starting to attack inward.

So let’s finish out with what Johnson would need to win and what needs to happen. Firstly he needs to be front and center, debating just as heavily as Trump and Hillary, also he needs equal amount of screen time to do so. When he enters the stage he needs to discuss the things that real Americans take issue with, not the same Libertarian talking points from the 50’s. Because sadly, I heard in a debate during the Libertarian primaries, he did exact that and stuck with the typical points. I do understand it was a libertarian primary, so winning votes in your own party makes sense but this can’t happen later, but for now he’s got my forgiveness. But most importantly he can’t get cocky and think that because Trump and Hillary are at odds, that he will get a free pass.

So what does he have going for him?

  1. In a recent poll, 26% of previous supporters of Bernie Sanders said they would vote for Johnson.
  2. He has picked Governor of Massachusetts William Weld as his running mate. — A Republican.
  3. Johnson will be on the 2016 Presidential Ballot in all 50 states.
  4. He’s not Trump
  5. He’s not Hillary
  6. Sidenote: Johnson is for an OPEN AND FREE INTERNET! 🙂

In comparison, there are some great reasons to vote for Johnson, probably more so that why to vote for Trump or Hillary. But unless Johnson turns out to be a total burnout, I can not in good faith vote for Trump and here’s why:

  1. He has NO RESPECT for WOMEN. He treats them worse than majority of ultra conservative christians. It’s one reason I think he did so well in the Bible Belt.
  2. He’s OFFENSIVE in sooooo many ways. Honestly, we thought Obama was going to embarrass our country. Trump will be worst. Obama was ignorant, Trump will be intentional.
  3. He’s extremely racist.
  4. He’s making promises that honestly I don’t understand why people don’t doubt. A wall? Really? And Mexico is going to pay for it? We’ve had so many presidents try and fail at that already. It’s worst than the Libertarian isolationist political views.

Anyways, both those lists above were short and I could honestly list so much more if I did more research but I won’t because I didn’t intend for this post to be very long anyways, it was mostly an attempt at getting some ranting off my chest.

Lastly I just wanted to say something about the recent negativity people have had regarding so many Republicans not attending the Republican National Convention in protest of Trump. “Are they not entitled to boycotting, as much as you are entitled to it?” Yes, I said it and I’m getting so so so tired of all the double standards people have, specially a good number of Christians. I mean really! You decide to boycott Target over their bathroom policy and want others to see how disgusted you are with Target but yet you won’t give these Republicans the same when they boycott the convention? Thank you for proving how hypocritical boycotting was.

Donald_Image_Macro

It’s got to be a scam? Please tell me it is.

Posted by Joel Greene on

The Brawny Man!

So if anyone reading this has probably not figured out by now, I’m by no means a “brawny man.” And further more, you should also know that I have issues with accepting the “quick fixes” both the world and church try to give for the transgender and homosexuality issues facing men today. So you can imagine what my feeling were when a few months ago my church announced a one day men’s conference. Plus it was being organized by men that I would to some degree consider to be brawny men — or they at least try to be.

Without going into too much detail let me touch on these so called “quick fixes”. As anyone should be aware gender identity has become a huge issue in today’s society. No surprise when there is evidence of gender oppression throughout history, most notably is the oppression of women during the 19th and early 20th centuries. But today we are seeing the opposite, as men are now being oppressed from expressing feminine traits, or I should say “feminine” when going by today’s standards. When men show these traits, the world likes to say “Are you sure you aren’t gay?” or worst “Maybe you were suppose to be a women.” While the world might not always say it in those exact words, it still works in deep for most men and even such words could sit dormant for years. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the “church” or more so Christians from various denominations, will say something just as equally hurtful. I’m not going to say what most of these things are precisely since it would be flee breeding cesspool for nasty theological debates but I’ll at least say that Deuteronomy 22:5 is probably on of the most commonly argued verses.

First off, I personally have minor fears of most Christians as most of my opinions are not very popular with the masses. Being that I’m connected to such as wonderful church, it still yanks my chain when I’m not actually 100% certain where my church stands on gender identity. I do know they fully reject homosexuality, much like myself and to be perfectly honest, I’ve yet to encounter any theological beliefs that I disagree with. So I’m sure you can understand that when it comes to transsexualism or the brawny man, I’m feeling a bit lost and in many way fearful of ever just asking. I do want to make it clear that I have very little fear that my theology is wrong in the eyes of God, honestly I actually believe every Christian will one day learn they had something wrong but this is besides the fact. For me, it could be the devil’s voice trying to hold me back much like when I was faced telling my mother about my “hobbies” but nonetheless, I do find myself agreeing so much with my church that I fear that this might just be one thing we will disagree on. But I will note that I’m open and willing to hear them out if the opportunity was ever given. I’ve yet to encounter anyone from my church or in my family that disagrees with me to the level they would outcast me and for this I’m thankful.

So getting back on topic, I was somewhat dismayed when I learned of this men’s conference. And not because I feared this would be the time they finally show their true colors, no! Instead I feared it was going to be nothing but a speech that men need to be more MANLY and that they would probably not take into consideration the reasons why I believe so many men have issues with their masculinity. Rightfully so I had reason to worry, many of the Men’s Group nights were exactly this and it’s one reason I’ve not been so keen on attending every two weeks. Even my mother understand this point when I brought it up.

But then came Saturday morning (6/18) and while the sermons were on the level of a really good Friday night revival service, it was one comment made by our senior pastor that caught me off guard. He got up front and made comment about the bathrooms, which I’ve neglected to note by this point they relabeled the women’s bathroom as being acceptable for the men’s use for the duration of the conference. Which made me think back to a men’s conference I attended in Indianapolis years ago where they did the exact same thing, but much like then I didn’t think much about it. Our pastor got up and said “You know what the world needs to know about gender identity? … Knowing if your a man or women is easy; if you bend over… and pickup… the ice cube…. you’re a women!” and the room grew strangely quiet for a moment. I am of course paraphrasing but he continued with “No matter if you wear pants, dresses, or whatever. If you kick the ice cube under the fridge, you’re a man!” and the room broke out in laughter. Of course, I understand that he was joking but he admitted to intentionally never saying very much about gender roles or identity, which just proved my theory that he chooses his battles. He is known as a very controversial preacher already when it comes to his beliefs on revival and the end times, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would actually choose to stay away from possibly such atomic issues. In the end he patched it up, saying he would most likely ask they remove that comment from the conference CD but nonetheless it was said. Him saying it proved, as I suspected, he at least does not believe in the “brawny man” image that I somewhat feared he did.

In the end, it became a very enjoyable conference. We had great fellowship and we didn’t have any farting nor burping sessions. In fact it was funny that coming to the end of the conference the general opinion was that not all men are like Gideon and I think Cliff Graham said it best. He said that the common ideas of what makes a man is not a man and that you don’t have to be the muscular man to be a man. He said a man is someone that when his home and family comes under attack he goes full Hulk and rips the throat out of the threat and spits on it’s corpse, of course he talking spiritually here and not so much physical. He even said that World War 2 was won because a geek figured out the Japanese encryption code and this guy was mocked by not only his superiors but also his fellow men. But in the end the war ended because he used his God given abilities.

And this is stuff that I can stand behind. While I disagree so much with the hurtful opinions from both the church and the world, I do understand that I was put in a position to defend my wife and my future children. Because I’m under 6 feet and have very youthful posture, I’ve been constantly underestimated by people. But I now understand these are not weaknesses, they are strengths. I was intended to be who I am and prove that even an underdog with questionable hobbies can archive great things. In my opinion I will also extend these characteristics to the women. Women who have no husbands or need it in a time of crises can benefit from developing valor and courage. This also allows for them to back their husbands up when the husband may take a fall or is not available, this is something my wife does for me from time to time. I believe simply as children of God, we ALL need to show the fruits of the spirit and be prepared to take the lead. God never intended for one gender to be subservient to another, so why do we treat it like he did and that men and women are so opposite. But I digress, this is a discussion for another time.

So in closing, I want to say that I was really taken back from this conference. I want to thank the men that spoke and showed that Men can be who God created them to be, even if they wear a dress and have somewhat flamboyant personalities. Thanks for reading.

Posted by Joel Greene on

Frozen: Plot Holes

So this post has technically been overdue for some time now. I promised a continuation of my first Frozen post but it’s been difficult to find time to do the research. Over the last month, I finally found time to do some prep work and I think I finally feel ready to post something.

A Frozen Heart

A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick

One of these many prep work tasks was to read the recent novel based on Frozen, titled A Frozen Heart. I’m sure if push came to shove, it would be regarded as non-canon, but I would say it’s the next best thing to a continuing story that we could ask for. In the novel, we take a sophisticated look at events of Frozen, exploring Anna and Han’s backstories, motivations, and doomed relationship.

Starting with a short review of the book, I’d like to say… it was good! The parts that involved material not included in the movie were well written and in my opinion did not break the original story. The chapters alternated between Anna and Hans, which provided a better understanding to their characters throughout the story. I do however have one complaint; probably half the book is scenes repeated line for line from the movie. While this was tolerable, it only got worse as the end drew near. It wasn’t bad enough that I wouldn’t recommend the book, but there was so much more the author could have done had she explored more original material–or at least an original interpretation of the movie scenes.

That being said, there were a few excellent scenes.  Most notable was the progression of Anna’s heart as it froze. I’ve lived most my life in Chicago and I can say a decent windchill on your face is really painful; give it long enough and your skin will hurt as it literally freezes and then recovers. I was imaging that feeling as I was reading the very descriptive process Anna was experiencing; it just made me hurt. I’d have to say it was the most painful piece of writing I’ve ever read.

Other scenes I’d note would include Hans’s relationship with his family and Anna’s regrets, but I won’t spoil too much.

So what is this post about?  I want to address a few of the plot holes people commonly point out about the movie.  A lot of people like to rail on the movie’s supposed weak links, and I want to debunk (or prove) some of them.  Obviously, spoiler alert, I will be talking about the movie in-depth.  But really, shame on you if you haven’t seen it yet!

Disney's Frozen

Disney’s Frozen

Why does the town accept (and forgive) Elsa so soon?

Let’s start with the easy pickings: Why did the kingdom accept and then forgive Elsa so soon? Well, let’s consider the scene where her powers were first revealed to the public.  We know the kingdom adores her, even if they have only seen her in paintings or in passing at formal events. Suppose the Queen of England was one day revealed to have magical powers; the British are very loyal to their queen, so I don’t think they would immediately start calling for her head unless they blatantly witnessed her injuring people. Furthermore, the people did not have very much time to even fully grasp the situation; when Elsa shot a bolt of ice at the duke, I think people were only taking a step back out of surprise and caution. If they truly thought she was a monster, wouldn’t they be running from the castle in terror?  Wouldn’t the kingdom have descended into chaos after she ran away and Anna took after her? I believe the kingdom had too much trust in their queen to immediately distrust her. Once they had Princess Anna, another beloved member of the Royal Family, show her trust for Elsa, I think things went over better than anyone would have expected.

And as for forgiveness, what was there to forgive? Yeah, she froze the land and put the kingdom though a rough patch, but she never directly injured or insulted them. And for those closer to her, like many of the dignitaries, I believe they came around even quicker once they had a shared enemy to dislike. Again, I don’t feel that this is really that huge of a plot hole for the movie. Speaking in terms of real life, how many times have people like Elsa feared that they could never be forgiven, and yet their family and friends came together to support them?  Maybe the kingdom forgiving and accepting her so quickly serves as an example that sometimes people can surprise us.

Where do Elsa’s powers come from?

So I will admit, this is a pretty good question. Where did Elsa get her powers?  Her father, Agar, says she was born with it. Now we can assume that being cursed with the powers has also happened, since the troll had to ask to clarify, which makes one wonder if ice powers had been seen in this kingdom before.  Well, let’s start by examining the original story the movie is based on, The Snow Queen, written by Hans Christian Andersen and first published in 1844. The book starts by telling the story of “the devil” who attempts to take an magic troll mirror that distorts the appearance of everything into the heavens, intending to use it to make fools of God and his angels. The mirror slips from his grasp and falls to earth, shattering into billions of pieces; carried by the wind, these shards find their way into the hearts and eyes of people, freezing their hearts and making their eyes like the troll-mirror itself. Years later a boy named Kai is cursed with some of these shards; they make him cruel and aggressive, which destroys his relationship with Gerda, who is the inspiration for Princess Anna.

According to the creators of Frozen, they had a long and somewhat winded explanation to where Elsa’s powers came from. Sadly this was all cut for time and continuity, but the demo song “Life’s Too Short” was released in the deluxe edition of the soundtrack.  This song was later replaced with “For the First Time in Forever (Reprise),” and it contains several nuggets of information about the original backstory.  From that song we learn that there is some sort of prophecy; Anna quite literally says, “I’m the only one who is not 100% convinced the prophecy is you!”  She later, in a fit of passion, suggests that perhaps Elsa is  “the prophecy,” causing Elsa to react in anger and accidentally freeze Anna’s heart.  We can therefore assume that Elsa and the kingdom has been aware of the prophecy, and perhaps when Elsa’s powers were revealed, there were rumors that she was the fulfillment.

The prophecy itself was revealed in another deleted song:

Your future is bleak
Your kingdom will splinter
Your land shall be cursed
With unending winter
With blasts of cold will come dark art,
And a ruler with a frozen heart!
Then all will perish in snow and ice!
Unless you are freed with a sword sacrifice!

Unfortunately this prophecy does not provide very much explanation to why Elsa has powers; it only states that, assuming Elsa is the prophecy, she will have a frozen heart and that her magic is actually of the dark arts. Sadly, this sounds more like the original story by H.C. Andersen and, as we know, Frozen has changed much from the original tale. As the troll said, her magic has beauty but she must learn to control it or it will become her enemy.

While the “prophecy” plot seems to have been disbanded, another hint did make it into the movie:  the book that Elsa’s father references in the beginning of the movie.  The ancient book is written in Old Norse Runic, which is the language of the Scandinavians during the Viking Age. The Viking Age is the period from A.D. 793–1066; considering the approximate date in which Frozen takes place, this means the curse and its related lore has been around for over 700 years.

ancient_book

The title of the book, as shown in the first shot, can be roughly translated to “Runes of Known Magic.”  As for the text shown on the inside of the book, I want to thank Panya’s Blog for providing a thorough translation. Here is what I believe the text is saying: “Cursed by the ice sorcery brought forth by the powers of the full moon. The Trolls from the dark mountain realm, who have hands to heal. A soul which was wounded by cold will heal, if brought very quickly to the valley of the Trolls. The Trolls have the ability to remove all ice sorcery from the body, but only an act of true love will thaw a frozen heart.” I suggest you go read the original translation as mine is heavily edited to make more sense.

Deciphering the Runes Book in Disney’s Frozen

As we can see from the translation and the illustration in the book, a man has been cursed with ice sorcery brought forth by the full moon. I say “cursed” because this would be why Grand Pappy asked if Elsa was born with it or cursed. I will go off on a limb and say that one can be born with this “ice sorcery” if they are a descendant of an ancestor who was also cursed with it. I’m going to assume this ice sorcery is taken from the evil troll mirror that fell to earth in H.C. Andersen’s original story. While this isn’t a complete backstory, it does give us a good idea where Elsa’s powers come from.

Real quickly, I want to note that Elsa’s father obviously knew how to read the runes. It actually appears that this language is still in use in Arendelle at the time of the movie. We see Old Norse Runic written on the King and Queen’s grave stones, and we also see it on the cover of books used by the Bishop during Elsa’s coronation and the Trolls while they were trying to marry Anna and Kristoff.

How did Hans expect to take the throne, since royal succession does not work like that?

I’m going to assume that if you’ve read or watched any material on Frozen plot holes, this one would likely be near the top. While I agree that Hans’s plan was far fetched, I feel it actually could have been possible. Why do I think this? Well, let’s look at the official laws of Arendelle… Wait, Arendelle is a fictional kingdom. Well, since we know Arendelle is based on the Norwegian town of Arendal, let’s look at Norway’s government. Norway as of today is a constitutional monarchy, established in their 1814 Constitution; this means that power is divided between the Parliament, the King, and the Supreme Court. While this may not be the type of government we see in Frozen, it still gives us an idea of what Hans would have needed to successfully supersede as King of Arendelle.

So let’s start with the elephant in the kingdom; Hans, as everyone has tried to say many times, can’t take the throne from Anna and Elsa simply by axing them off (not to be morbid or anything). Well… they might be wrong there. Britain also has a Parliament, and according their Bill of Rights (1689) and Act of Settlement (1701), Parliament can regulate succession to anyone they see fit, as long as the sovereign be in communion with the Church, swear to preserve the established Church, and uphold the Protestant succession. While Norway is not England, it is stated in the Norwegian constitution that if the current monarch has no suitable heirs, a council of sixty representatives can select whoever they thought would better “…guard God’s right and the laws of the land…”

So what does this mean for Hans? Well, it means that if the Parliament, assuming Arendelle has one of sorts, could appoint Hans as King if they determined the throne was vacant. There was obviously some kind of council or acting ruler running the kingdom in the three years between when Elsa’s parents died and Elsa’s coronation.  We also see the passel of dignitaries following Anna’s (and then Hans’s) commands almost without question, so I do not think Hans would have had a hard time manipulating them if it came to that.

And lastly let’s just consider that Anna did make the last second decision to run for Kristoff instead of Elsa and froze. Elsa would be dead in cold blood (no pun intended) and, as far as the dignitaries of Arendelle know, Hans said his wedding vows with Anna. While they might have questions, they would still consider him to be the king/prince consort.  While this does not make him king automatically, he would have more leverage with the council. But thankfully he was not successful and we will never know. All I can say is I’m at least more forgiving of this plot hole now that I know he might have had a minor, very minor chance of taking the throne legally.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Law_of_Succession
http://www.royal.gov.uk/ThecurrentRoyalFamily/Successionandprecedence/Succession/Overview.aspx

Other Plot Holes

Why did the town applaud when Anna punched Hans, seeing they had no idea Hans was evil?

When I first saw this one come across the table, I immediately agreed. It was quite odd that immediately after Elsa has ended the winter, Anna gave Hans a nice hefty punch in the face–which I’d love to talk more about Anna’s no-fear complex sometime in the near future–and the dignitaries are seen standing on a balcony applauding her actions, whereas they had supported Hans moments before. I would assume the dignitaries were able of clearly seeing over the entire fjord from the balcony, which might mean they saw more of the final battle.  But even more importantly, their first thought was probably “Princess Anna is alive!” That right there is enough for them to realize something is up, and they are going to immediately side with their princess and follow her lead.  Secondly, wouldn’t you also applaud a woman for punching a man? Society doesn’t tend to ask questions when women defend themselves against men.

Elsa never left her room?

Honestly, yes and no. We have some evidence to show that she did leave her room from time to time. Early on we see Anna seeing Elsa come and go from her room, and when the king and queen leave for their trip, she’s saying goodbye at the bottom of the steps–obviously outside of her room. Later Elsa appears to move into the official king’s chambers, as shown while she’s preparing for the coronation. After her parents died, I’m sure she withdrew even more in her grief, but that doesn’t mean she never left.  It’s more a figure of speech.  Many times people follow this plot hole up with, the question, “What did she do in there?”  Frankly, I believe is a result of people having way too much to do these days. They did not have the Internet or any technology to keep them occupied back then, and I think this leads to people thinking they had nothing to do. I have friends that can sit for hours a day just reading or knitting, so I don’t doubt her ability to find activities.  Plus she, like Anna, had royal lessons to learn during her teens.

Why did the king and queen lock her up, and why didn’t they seek help?

From whom, I ask, should they have sought help? I can assume the king is the only one who has any idea what’s going on. Also I bet the queen married from outside the kingdom and is possibly a sister to Rapunzel’s mother as people have suggested, hence why the king and queen would sail to Rapunzel’s kingdom for the royal wedding. We know that the king and queen talked with the trolls in the opening, but like many parents, they usually don’t know that they are making a mistake until it’s far too late to change it. Such is the risk of parenting when you’re dealing with such an unusual and stressful circumstance.  Sadly they died at sea and they will never learn what became of their daughters.

Parents die and then nobody takes care of the sisters for the next couple of years?

This is actually not true. Both Anna and Elsa were taken care of by their royal servants. We also have Kai–not Kai from the The Snow Queen but instead a servant of the Royal House.  We are told in the book that he has known the family for a long time. The castle might have a limited staff but this does not mean there was no one to care for them. As for who ran the kingdom, Elsa was unofficially made queen when her parents died, although it wasn’t until the age of 21 that she is officially crowned.  Depending on the laws of the kingdom, she may have ruled directly, or a council may have ruled by proxy until she was of age.

Why did Anna never leave the castle on her own?

Okay, so I admit, this one sort of baffles me too. We can only suppose that her parents kept her indoors to keep the family’s affairs private, although that isn’t entirely fair to her.  While it is technically said that Anna “never left” the castle until Elsa’s coronation, that’s not completely true.

frozen-disneyscreencaps.com-1060

As you can see from this picture of the king and queen’s graves, Anna left the castle. Any trips outside the castle were probably accompanied, but that is normal for royalty. While it was minor, she did leave and had the opportunity to do things like learn to ride a horse. She might have been disallowed from having direct contact with people within the village. But like my point about who ran the kingdom before Elsa was officially queen, I bet her parents had rules set, like keeping the gates closed, and family servants such as Kai made sure to follow those guidelines. This is why the king and queen would have close servants to run things while they were absent.

 

And there you have it, my opinion on Frozen’s most popular “plot holes.” I find the story of Frozen a very tragic one, like most of Hans Christian Andersen’s writings. But I feel like the true victim of Frozen is Anna. Anna’s journey is very sad, as she is not only rejected and frozen alive, but she is also forced to live a life of solitude. Elsa might be the one who needed to learn how to get over her fears, but Anna was the one who suffered, to the point that she begged for forgiveness for her desire to simply be reunited with her sister, as said in the book. Frozen is an amazing story and I hope it will become a classic much like the original, but I guess only time will tell. Frozen has tugged on our hearts as it tells a very deep, emotional story. It’s not just a kids’ movie; it’s also a very adult story dealing with death, fear, and grief. In many places of the story, I believe it’s too deep for people to even fully comprehend the tragedy, which is why some people seem to lose sight of the true meaning and instead trip over the plot holes they want to see.

 

Posted by Joel Greene on

My Top 4 Perdictions for the Next 20 Years

So 2016 is here and I’m embarrassed to admit my commitment to write on this blog frequently for the last two months has drop off. I had a few different articles I considered but never got around to fleshing out. But with a new year, I’m going to commit to changing all that, not so much a new years resolution but more just starting again. So saying that, I present my top 4 predictions for the next 20 years. Some of these I believe could be prevented if the right steps are taken but as the world stands today, I don’t see them being avoidable.

#4 – The copyright system will be reformed, again!

So back in the late nineties, Mickey Mouse was slipping dangerously close to becoming Public Domain and obviously the Walt Disney Corporation was hellbent on preventing this. So they and a few other major corporations lobbied congress to extend the copyright laws and they did, by decades. And to quote Anna from Frozen, “That’s horrible.”. And to the dismay of many people such as myself, we have not seen a single copyrighted work enter the Public Domain since then. I believe I heard the last known work to expire was from 1919. And In my opinion this move by congress was only a bandage to remedy an immediate situation, as we are due to start seeing copyrighted works enter the Public Domain once again coming sometime after 2019.

This unforchantly is going to put us right back where we started. The Walt Disney Corporation will have to act fast to prevent their precious Mouse from going rough. And this is why I don’t just see a simple change happening but possibly an entire reform of what we have come to know as the United States Copyright System and it could be devastating to the entire system. With the likes of already fighting off SOPA or PIPA, we also have an outdated copyright system that predates the internet and this is what’s most troubling. And I won’t be the first to admit something needs to be done, since the invention of the Internet, up holding your right to Fair Use has become the ever more difficult. Just take a look at the recent DMCA claim issues on YouTube. Frankly, if the copyright system does get reformed, be ready for the whole mess of lobbying to the process. And I guarantee that smaller creators like us will have very little to no input on the process. The mass corporations could end up influencing the creation of an iron grip type copyright law, laced with mega fines and fees on individuals, that will most likely devastate anyone drawing Steve the kangaroo in their garage on weekends. Okay! Maybe not that but you get my point.

Many people are already complaining about the cost of registering a copyright and I hate to say it but, I can guarantee that the costs will only go up. Plus to make matters worst you need a copyright if you hope to have any legal authenticity going up against a huge corporation for stealing from you. There is also the slight possibility that we will get simply just another bandage on the problem, which I don’t think will be the best solution either. I just hope we have good and honest congressmen on that day who will make the right choices and help develop a system in the favor of giving the average Joe more freedom while allowing the corporations to protect their rights. I’ve always thought the idea of a tier based copyright system would work better, as each copyright carries the same power. Individuals will get the until death plus 70 years, we used to have, while corporations will get something slightly longer but with maybe requiring they prove reason to keep the copyright active. Unforchantly, there is no one fix all answer.

#3 – Intelligence and common sense will continue to decline

This prediction should come as no surprise but I feel it’s worth as least briefly mentioning. But in short, we will see a continued decline of intelligence and/or common sense in the general populous. This will primarily be due to the continued bad schooling methods kids receive these days, this includes college educations that are not fairing up too well either.

Sadly, I believe there will be a reaction to all this as we see a separation of people based on education levels. It’s interesting that evolutionist also have made such theories too, saying that our species will split into two groups based on intelligence. I don’t believe their evolution model of millennia or that it will even be a genetic change. We are already seeing a split as those we would be considered uneducated, are working the lower wage jobs and continually finding them selves in debt and/or trouble with the law. But where this really stems from is our government having no desire to fix this problem. They want to see this happen as people like these make great unquestioning followers. *cough* As we have already seen in modern politics.

#2 – There will be another video game crash

Much like the crash of the early 1980’s, I believe we will see another similar crash, with a very similar cause from companies putting out terrible games only to make a quick buck. For the most part I believe this crash could be isolated to specific gaming platforms. Mobile gaming in my opinion is the most vulnerable right now and it will probably be because people will get fed-up with all the micro-transactions that all free-to-play games love to demonstrate. Mobile developers just coming out with more and more crap games will just quicken the process.

It’s possible that most other platforms will also see some sort of decline, such as companies like Kanami, as they choose to continue to not listen to their gaming fans. But it’s also possible that some titles and/or companies won’t be affected. For example, Nintendo; If they continue to make better choices and continue to deliver timeless title after timeless title, they could escape this. Indie games could also escape the decline as people could end up flocking to the new guy on the block instead. In the end, I do believe this will lead to many better innovations in the video game industry.

#1 – We will all be its!

We will all be its!

Playing on a book of a similar title, I predict that if this country (and the world) continues on this path of coming out as trans-everything, we will see a total rewrite of the definition of male and female. My mom joked about this a few years ago and it should be no joke as I believe it could very much happen. By no means will the old definition disappear entirely, instead their will start to be a shift of removing the male or female label. I believe you will probably see this first within the government and business as the use of gender labels. Sometime around then, the medical institution will shift to it only becoming a medical term for the exact reason of either precise treatments or the recording of what sex a baby left the womb as. Companies will no longer be allowed to label their employees as male or female. Quite possibly the labeling of bathrooms will even become blurred, there will still probably be a men’s and women’s bathroom but they will find ways to label them so not to alienates the other gender. In fact we might see a move to implement a third gender of restrooms or co-op, both are possibilities. And I’m not saying this will happen everywhere all at once but instead will slowly trickle down from other places. Schools will probably be the earliest to adapt these changes, as children will basically be free to use whatever gendered bathroom they wish. A boy claiming to be on his cycle won’t raise any questions and it won’t matter if he’s talking figuratively or not. Teachers could receive disciplinary action for implying a gender labels on even the most straight of kids. Having a hard time believing me, just look at the shear number of totally bizarre cases in the news. Also don’t forget hot topics such as Gay’s suing over Cakes and Wedding venues.

Commonly I hear people say they wouldn’t be comfortable having another gender use the same restroom as them but I’m sorry to break it to you but that’s a poor argument when you were raised from a young age that boys do not use the girls bathroom. If children are brain-washed into thinking this is normal, they will not question it later in life and even more so as these kids become adults, they will sadly shape society as even less gendered as time goes on. In this new gender-less society those screwed will be those who still apply normal gender labels on themselves. You know the best way I could put this is it will essentially become a real life Tumblr. Go browse Tumblr, it’s not hard to find some person complaining about the labels that have been placed on them. Sadly I have to admit that I’m not condemning nor promoting these changes as in many ways I think it’s a consequence of an old heavily gender labeled system that needed to change years ago but never kept up with the times. And It’s going to cost those who refused to make the change the most, these people will be the ones that got all hot headed over Target’s toy aisle change or the legalization of gay marriage. We are no longer a Christian nation and it just makes us look foolish to complain, mostly because that seems to be all we can do these days. So in my opinion we need to change it not just complain about it.