Motivational Mondays: Wreck-It Ralph’s message was exactly what I needed to hear…

Over the weekend, I saw the movie Wreck-It Ralph starring the vocal talents of John C. Reilly as Ralph, Sarah Silverman as Vanellope, Jack McBrayer as Felix, and Jane Lynch as Calhoun.

Plot Summary

Ralph (Reilly) is a villan in a fictional old-school video titled Fix-It-Felix.  Ralph is constantly under the shadow of the hero of the game, Felix (McBrayer) and aspires for a better life where he’s the hero and wins shiny medals for his accomplishments.  His quest for a medal messes up the eco-system of the video game universe (the arcade in which the games are set in) and leads him to a Mario-Kart like racing game called Sugar Rush where he meets Vanellope Von Sweets (Silverman). Vanellope is ostracized by her community for being a glitch and isn’t allowed to race in the game. In order for both Ralph and Vanellope to get what they want, they got to work together.

I’m not going to give away the ending of the movie (even though it’s easy to predict endings for a Disney movie) but the lessons I needed to learn were:

1) That being a hero or an all-around respected person is not measured by how many awards or medals you get.  It may not even be based on whether or not your dreams come true.  Instead, being a hero can mean making someone else’s dreams come true.  Self-respect comes from building others up.

2) You may not be able to change your situation but you can change the way you look at it.

Moral of the story: If you’re feeling down, change the way you look at the situation or take the focus of yourself and focus on making someone else’s dream come true.

Wreck-It Ralph Trailer




Geeky and Awkward is the New Cool (and long overdue!)

Lately, I’ve been thinking of a trend in the media of characters proudly identifying or at least accepting as being “geeky” or “nerdy” or “awkward.”  First, I thought, “Where was all this when I was younger and wearing glasses wasn’t cool?”  But you know what?  Better late then never right?  Here are some examples in the media about letting your freak flag fly.

Example 1:

Mindy Kaling (Kelly from “The Office) wrote a really hysterical memoir last year titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns).  She dedicates a chapter in her book on how she was always the quiet and not popular kid in the background in high school.  She advises young people that it’s okay to not peak during high school.

I just want ambitious teenagers to know it is totally fine to be quiet, observant kids.  Besides being a delight to your parents, you will find you have plenty of time later to catchup.  So many people I work with– famous actors, accomplished writers– were overlooked in high school.  Be like Allan Pearl.  Sit next to the class clown and study him.  Then grow up, take everything you learned, and get paid to be a real-life clown, unlike whatever unexciting thing the actual high school class clown is doing now.  

Example 2:

I am a HUGE fan of the show “New Girl.” I totally relate to the main character Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) not only because she is a teacher like me, she’s unapologetically goofy, awkward, and nurturing.  She’s even been described as “adorkable.” For example, she makes home-baked goods for her guests and wraps them up in cozy blankets.  She’s also kinda clueless when it comes to getting back into the dating game after being in a six year relationship. I also love the other characters especially the douchy but lovable Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield).

Bonus video! Schmidt talks about his knowledge of India:

Example 3:

Anyone who knows a middle school student probably has heard about or even read the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney or even seen the movies.  The protagonist, Greg Heffley has your typical middle school problems.  He’s not the most popular kid in school.  Also, he’s one of the smaller kids in his grade next to Fregly, an awkward kid who loves boogers.  Home life isn’t a piece of cake for him either.  He’s the middle child and has an older brother Rodrick who terrorizes him at home and a little brother Manny who always gets him in trouble.  I admit, after reading the first book and seeing the first movie, I thought Greg was kind of a jerk.  But as I kept reading and watching, Greg is definitely relatable to your typical middle school kid.  Even though he wants to fit in, he is very self aware, observant and hilarious as evidenced in his doodles.  Greg has a best friend named Rowley, a chubby kid who acts a bit more childish but not because he’s immature.  Rowley still likes things that most kids his age would think is childish but the cool thing about it is that he never changes for anyone.  He knows who he is and won’t apologize for it, even if it makes him look less cool to your average middle schooler.  Both Greg and Rowley make “wimpy” look cool.

Here is a hilarious clip from the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie where Greg and Rowley and their moms attend a “Mother-Son” Dance. Click on the link below:

Fun fact:  Robert Capron (who plays Rowley) is dancing with his real-life mom in this clip!

Another hilarious scene where Greg sings “Total Eclipse of the Heart” when auditioning for his school play.  Note that the drama teacher made everyone audition with this song because I don’t know of any middle school student who would choose that song for an audition.

Example 4:

GLEE!  One of my favorite shows because it embraces diversity and the power of the arts. As a quiet art kid back in high school, I’m really glad this show exists albeit 6 years after I graduated.  Even though the Glee kids get slushied and bullied every week by popular jocks and Sue Sylvester, they still are proud of who they are as people.  The show also deals with different issues that teens today go through such as first romances, sexuality, bullying, teen pregnancy and texting while driving.  If I had to pick a song that summarizes the Glee Club as a whole, it would be the original song “Loser Like Me.”

Thanks for reading my fellow geeks! See you tomorrow for Instagram Fridays!

Motivational Mondays: Inspiring Commencement Speeches

I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day weekend!  Motivational Mondays is a little late simply because I was on vacation :).  Since it’s graduation season, here are some inspiring commencement speeches.

Jane Lynch speaks to Smith College graduates

Author Neil Gaiman speaks to the University of the Arts

Bonus: Andy Samberg humors Harvard University and pokes fun of its president and Yale University for Harvard’s Class Day

Congratulations and Good Luck to the Class of 2012!

Previous Motivational Monday posts:

77 Thoughts on Motivation

How I Became the First Person in my Family to Go to College

Bird with a French Fry

15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy

Save the Arts!

As you can tell from the content of the blog, I am a huge supporter of the arts.  Recently, I heard that the Los Angeles Unified School District has voted to eliminate its arts budget for its 535 elementary schools (  Yes, that Los Angeles where Hollywood calls home.  Here is a video starring a few celebrities including Jane Lynch and Steven Tyler.

I’m not going to lie though.  When I saw Jane Lynch play the nice art teacher, I thought she was going to turn into Sue Sylvester! :D.

Learn more about Adopt the Arts at