Black Panther: “Wakanda Forever” For Real

I recently saw Black Panther in theaters, so I thought to myself, ‘Why not make a blog-post-thing about it, Amanda?’ There’s no reason for me not to, right? (Right?)

I saw the movie waaaaaay later than I normally would. When a super hero movie comes out, I usually try to see the premiere. A premiere in my small town is basically just a seven o’clock showing in the evening with a longer line. However, when Black Panther came out, I was pet-sitting for my sister, so I could not abandon her gorgeous menagerie to see the first showing. And then further postponements occurred, and I saw it about two weeks after it originally came out.

Oh, well.

Anyways, I’m a huge comic book fan. I loved comic books before the movies made them successful. Even so, I have to admit that I’m suffering from slight Superhero Fatigue. There is no shortage of superhero content to dunk yourself into; a year can’t go by without a superhero getting their own movie. I love superheroes more than the average person, but there’s no denying that our summer movie selection is being dominated by them.

All I’m saying is that if you’re going to give me two superhero films a year, you should at least make them stand out from each other. I mean, Doctor Strange was basically Iron Man with magic. Come on, movie dudes. You’re not even trying.

Black Panther has answered my prayers. It was good. I’m officially jumping on the band wagon.

It felt so different from other Marvel superhero movies. Instead of watching a hapless man-child stumble his way to hero-dom by haltingly learning to use his powers for good, we got to see a man (a man man) settle the mantle of responsibility onto his shoulders in an ethical and reasonable manner. (Shout-out to all Halo fans who may be reading this.)

Prince T’Challa may have been following the same story path as Thor did in Thor, but T’Challa handled his rise to power with much more aplomb and grace than Thor. (For one thing, he wasn’t a whiny Norse god with an inflated ego.)

Every actor in that movie played their roles to perfection. My favorite characters were Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, and Erik Killmonger, the villain of the story. Shuri was a delight every time she was on the screen. I nearly split the seams of my stomach trying to hold in my laughter when she called Black Panther’s shoes his “sneakers.” (I have an obnoxiously loud laugh; I wanted to be kind to other moviegoers.)

And Killmonger was great! For having not that much screen time, he made his presence felt for even the shortest of moments. Michael B. Jordan played the abandoned prodigal son so well, I felt like I’d received a kick to my emotional lady balls. Hit me right in the feels, I’m telling you.

Let’s not forget the music! It’s been far too long since a movie’s soundtrack has caught my ear and it wasn’t made by John Williams, Hans Zimmer, or Michael Giacchino. Killmonger’s theme was really identifiable, but in my opinion, the best piece comes out during T’Challa’s visit to the ancestral plane, when he sees his father again. Whatever that track is called (I actually think it might be called “Ancestral Plane”), it’s a superb bit of music. Strings play a melody that is fit for the king T’Challa is.


The movie ends happily, with T’Challa deciding to reverse Wakanda’s foriegn policy decisions of the past. Instead of remaining isolated in all of their glorious self-suffiiciency, Wakanda will now walk the path of gracious aid and attempt to help those who cannot help themselves.

It’s an extremely positive message of hope to the world. I left the theater felling buoyant as hell. A friend of mine was quick to point out, however, that if you really think about it, the ending to the movie is incredibly tragic.

“Why? I just saw an incredibly happy ending.”

“But it’s not real,” he told me. “There is no hidden technologically-advanced country in Africa that will rise up and help people.”

And he’s right. There is no Wakanda that is going to assist the beleaguered, downtrodden, and mistreated African-Americans of this, or any other, nation to rise above whatever horrible situations they find themselves in. Black Panther paints a beautiful picture of a hopeful future, but it’s based on the past creation of an imaginary place.

I think it’s important to remember that effort needs to go into making that future a reality. We shouldn’t just congratulate ourselves that a movie like this got made; we should focus on actually following the Golden Rule of treating other people how we would like to be treated ourselves, not just in words, but in thoughts and actions as well.

If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, I highly recommend it.

The Most Wonderful Bird in the World

Froley is currently waddling on the newspaper I have surrounding his cage. He pecks at minuscule crumbs that I can’t see and makes contented little chirps every so often, which serve to let me know that the coast is clear and no predators are currently stalking the living room. His feet make actual pitter-patter noises. Seriously, you haven’t heard a pitter or a patter until you’ve heard a cockatiel’s footsteps.

Froley, as you might have expertly sussed out, is my pet cockatiel. He’s a Normal Grey, which some snobby people consider to be the plebeians of cockatiels, but screw that. I’ll have you know that Froley is quite attractive. His face is the nice yellow of legal pads, and his cheeks are the bright red-orange of Pikachu’s cheek pouches. Here is a picture of Froley’s handsomeness.

Froley on the couch

Gorgeous, isn’t he?

Like all cockatiels, he has a crest that rises and falls depending on his mood. The more alarmed he is, the higher it goes and the skinnier he gets. A relaxed Froley has a relaxed crest.

He’s like a weird mix of a human infant and an elderly man. He needs constant attention and he is really set in his ways. Seriously, he needs a keen eye monitoring him because if you’re not watching his every move he will a) eat something he is not supposed to, b) tear apart the book you have lying around, or c) poop somewhere he wasn’t meant to poop.

He has temper tantrums. If he’s not in the mood to be handled, he’ll open his beak threateningly, prepared to nip at my proffered finger. He’s bitten me before, but he’s never drawn blood. (Because he is a darling angel.)

If his mood swings aren’t enough, I also have to maintain his cage and his food to perfection. He likes to make a mess of his pellets, so in order to counteract this habit, I crush his pellets so he is more inclined to just eat them. He also enjoys it when I rotate his toys out, so he has new, pretty things to look at within his home.

He also can’t control when and where he poops. I always have to be on the alert. I can’t even count the times I’ve sat down on a little homemade Froley surprise. Honestly, bird poop doesn’t even faze me anymore.

Froley on my computer chair

Did I mention that he likes to masturbate on an open hand? Put your palm up, fingers spread wide, and he’ll fly right over and start doing his business. Afterwards, he flies off and leaves you to stare at your hand in a well-what-now kind of way.

I titled this piece “The Most Wonderful Bird in the World,” right?

When I wake Froley up in the morning (after he’s done his humongous Morning Poop), he likes to whistle little tunes in my ear. If he spent the night next to my bed, he’ll hop over from his bedtime cage onto my pillow as soon as the sun’s up, climb his way onto my shoulder, and then take a second nap with me as I try to catch up on lost sleep. When he’s ready to wake up for reals, he’ll slide down next to my face and try to preen my eyelashes.

He likes to look at himself in mirrors. When I do my morning ablutions, he sings to himself and to me.

He misses me when I’m gone. He’ll chirp wildly in a panic when he notices me getting ready to leave the house, until I call out to him, telling him that it’s okay and I’ll be right back. And when I open the front door again, he screeches with joy at my return.

He likes being hand-fed certain vegetables. His favorite is Romaine Lettuce. He’ll make little warbles of happiness while he eats if I call him a “pretty bird” encouragingly.

I could go on and on about him.

Bottom line?

Froley is the most wonderful bird in the world. He is my soul pet. When he sidles close to my cheek and rests his head there, not so subtly telling me he wants me to scratch his head, I sometimes pause and reflect on how lucky I am to have such a pet. There is so much trust between Froley and me; I forget how astonishing it is to have a bird feel secure enough in your company that he allows you to encircle his fragile, little head within your hand as you cuddle with him just the way he likes. My reflections end as soon as he gets annoyed that I’m not giving him an adequate amount of attention. I return to cuddling him, saying, “Good bird,” all the while praising the stars that he’s alive, and I’m alive, and we’re together.



One of THOSE People

I have a healthy dose of self-consciousness coursing through the neural networks of my brain. Or maybe it’s an unhealthy amount. Who knows. But it’s that hyper-awareness of how my actions will be perceived by others that has always stopped me from doing something like this.

A blog.


It sounds so pretentious, doesn’t it? I don’t want to be associated with the stereotyped lifestyle of a “blogger.” (Good God, just typing that makes me want to shudder.) I don’t want people to think that I won’t be able to stop talking about what I’m currently writing. I don’t want people to think that I’m going to be obsessed with turning every single experience into a blog post. I don’t want people to think I’m a self-absorbed bitch who is only concerned about “putting my thoughts out there.”

But, as a good friend told me (yes, Andreya, that friend is you), I can’t let the spark die just because of what I think people might think about what I’m thinking. And by “spark,” she means my love of writing.

I love writing.

I love everything about it, from the physical actions of writing things down with a pen or hearing the clickety-clack of a keyboard to the mental actions of outlining plots and revising messy paragraphs. I freaking love it more than anything. (Well, anything within reason. I obviously love my family more than I love a pen scratching notes down on a piece of paper.)

So I am going to do this blog-thing (and I’m going to try to stop wincing every time I say, write, or think the word “blog”) and I’m going to like it. Why? Because I love writing and keeping this blog-thing going (shudder, wince, cringe) will help me get my writing out and about. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe. Hopefully.