Kingdom Hearts Rant

First of all, I am not a gamer so I realize that this rant is laughable to those who have mastered the gaming arts.  Second, I don’t care.  I have actually played Kingdom Hearts twice in the past.  I beat it with help the first time, and I did not finish the whole game the second time around due to my family’s big move.  I am determined to complete the game by myself.  That is proving to be way more difficult than I expected.  After a year of on and off attempts, I finally beat the Wonderland trickmaster last week and moved on to the Deep Jungle.  Tarzan is my favorite animated Disney movie so I was pumped to get started.  My balloon was immediately popped when I met a nemesis from my KH past: THE VINES!!  I cannot for the life of me swing from vine to vine for more than one minute, and I’m starting to resent Hippo’s Lagoon because that’s all I ever see due to the number of times I fall.  I know my lack of experience is a large part of the problem, but I also think the controls for this game are infuriating.  Perhaps that’s a defensive statement, but I have a little evidence to back it up.  My brother, who is a gamer, tried to play it and had to walk away.  He said the controls are different from other games, and he doesn’t understand why.  I don’t understand the details, but I do trust his judgement because he’s been playing video games since he was a little boy.  Why is this rant important?  It isn’t.  Just now I attempted to advance in the game and failed miserably.  The vines were once again my undoing, and I wanted to blog with fresh anger burning within me.  Hopefully someone somewhere can commiserate with me.  I can’t be the only who hates KH now that I actually play it!!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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We’re All in This Together

I can’t believe it!  Today is the ten year anniversary of “High School Musical.”  I just finished watching the cast reunion on Disney Channel.  I am so glad they maintained close relationships with one another.  I had a huge, goofy smile on my face listening to them reminisce.  HSM was a HUGE part of my childhood, and I want to take a trip down memory lane to share with you my most vivid memories.

1.  I don’t actually remember watching the premiere of HSM.  I may not have watched it on January 20th, but I discovered it soon after because I remember following the cast’s every move  and watching the premiere of “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

2.  I freaked out when the music video mentioned above premiered.  It was an extra song featured on the soundtrack but not in the movie.  I watched it to death!  It also fed my suspicion that “Zanessa” was real. 😍

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3.  Seeing Zac Efron sing in the music video strengthened my belief that he sang in HSM.  He didn’t, but I believed and fought for him until the 2nd movie came out (he sang in the last 2 movies).  I’ve learned to live with it. 😂

4.  I might as well follow #3 with the fact that Zac Efron was a 2000s heartthrob featured in Bop, J-14, M, Tiger Beat, etc.  Yes, I did have posters of him on my wall, but I also had posters of the other cast members.  No shame. ;)

5.  I believe this happened in either 2009 or 2010, but me and my dance friends put together a big sleepover complete with food, games, and a “High School Musical” marathon.  There was a lot of squealing, laughing, singing, and crying.

6.  Every time we did jazz squares in dance class, me and my friend Katie would look at each other and quote: “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Every time without fail!!  Nailed it.

6.  Up until 2010 (the big bad Zanessa breakup), I followed the cast’s every move.  They were the BIG Disney celebrities of the 2000s.  I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, just genuinely curious and in awe.  I think every young girl goes through that phase.  I looked at every publicity photo, listened to every solo and group song, and read every magazine.  I also want to clear up that the breakup wasn’t the reason I lost interest.  I still look up the cast from time to time, but everybody grows up and leaves behind the things of childhood.

Favorite Character:  Gabriella Montez

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Favorite Scene:  The very first scene featuring “Start of Something.”  That moment started the whole HSM phenomenon.

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Favorite Song:  “Breaking Free”

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Favorite Quote:  “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Also, everything Ms. Darbus says.

Only Ms. Darbus could pull off these quotes:

*Chad is playing with a basketball at his desk*  “Mr. Danforth! This is a place of learning, not a hockey arena.”

“Holidays are over people.  Way over!!”

“This school is about more than just young men in baggy shorts flinging balls for touchdowns.”

“The theatre is a chapel of arts, a precious cornucopia of creative energy.”

“It’s called crime and punishment, Bolton. Beside, proximity to the arts is cleansing for the soul.”

Say it loud, say it proud:

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!


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– Lauren Michele <3

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Let’s Make Polaroids

Let's Make Polaroids

Hello hello hello!!  Today I am taking you through the steps necessary to make polaroids in the comfort of your home.  You will need a picture file on your computer desktop, Adobe Photoshop (I own CS6), photo paper (I use Red River UltraPro Satin, 8.5 x 11), and a printer with the capability to print photographs.  I know I am most likely not the first person to come up with this idea, but this particular process was developed during my time in college.  This digital art project is perfect for days when there is not much else to do.  Why not get those creative juices flowing?!  Let’s get started!

***Note: Click any of the images to make them bigger.

Step 1. Open Adobe Photoshop.

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Step 2. Drag the picture into Adobe Photoshop.

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Step 3. Use the Crop Tool to crop the image into a square (4 x 4, 8 x 8, 16 x 16, etc).  As long as the width and heighth are the same dimensions, you are good to go.  For best results, keep the image at its native resolution (72); do not increase it!

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Step 4. Check the bit depth.  Do not make any changes!

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Step 5. Make sure the color profile is set to Adobe RGB (1998).

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Step 5. Create a new canvas, and set the width to 3.5 inches and the heighth to 4.25 inches.  You can make the resolution 72 to match the image, but I went ahead and made it 300.  Set the bit depth according to the image.  In this case, the image’s bit depth is 8.  Make sure the color profile is Adobe RGB (1998).

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Step 8. Using the Move Tool, press down your mouse over the picture, drag it to the blank canvas, and release.

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Step 9. Press Command Quotation Mark/Apostrophe.  A grid should appear over the entire image.  Use the Move Tool to make the picture bigger.  According to the grid, there should be one square of space on the top and sides; there should be four squares of space on the bottom.  You now have a recognizable polaroid format.

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Step 11. Press Command Quotation Mark/Apostrophe to get rid of the gird.

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Step 12. This step is optional.  My image has a light background therefore I am placing a thin, black stroke (size 2) around the outer perimeter to make it pop against the white canvas.  If your image has a dark background, a stroke is not necessary.

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Step 13. Save your polaroid as a Photoshop file (.psd).  I labeled my image “Winnie the Pooh Polaroid_Layers.”  This is the file I will come back to if I want to make any adjustments or changes.

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Step 14. Flatten the layers and save the image as a JPEG (.jpg).  I labeled my polaroid “Winnie the Pooh Polaroid.”

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Step 15. If you plan on posting your polaroid on the internet, save an alternate JPEG with an sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color profile.  I labeled my polaroid “Winnie the Pooh Polaroid_Online.”

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***If you are not interested in printing your polaroid, skip the following steps.

Step 16. Create a new canvas.  Make the width 8.5 inches and the heighth 11 inches.  The resolution should be 300, the bit depth 8, and the color profile Adobe RGB (1998).  I labeled my canvas “Winnie the Pooh Polaroid_Print.”

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Step 17. Using the Move Tool, press down your mouse over the polaroid, drag it to the blank canvas, and release.  Make sure the polaroid is flattened before moving it.

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Step 17. Add a thin, black stroke (size 2) around the picture.  This will make it easier to cut out the polaroid once it is printed.

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Step 18. I use 8.5 x 11 paper because I can print four polaroids at once.  If you are doing the same, repeat steps 16 and 17 for every polaroid.

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Step 19. In the Print dialog box, choose your printer, layout (vertical, located on the left), Color Handling (Photoshop Manages Colors), and Printer Profile (name of the paper you are using).  If you are unfamiliar with how printer profiles work, you can look it up online or contact me for further help.

How To Use ICC Color Printer Profiles For Inkjet Printers:

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*** The Final Results! ***


Pile of Polaroids

Click the following link to watch me go through the process:

I hope you have enjoyed this project.  It is a great way to display cellphone pictures, collages, and quotes you are inspired by.  For even more flair and personalization, add text in Photoshop or with a sharpie.

Say cheese! :D

– Lauren Michele <3

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