Saturday, February 16, 2013

Old School Lane Presents: Top 50 Influences Part 1

Hey guys. Time for a new countdown and this time, it's not Nickelodeon based and it's the longest one I've ever done. Ever since I was a kid, there have been many things that I was interested and fascinated with. I was always a very open minded person willing to try new things and learn something new all the time. Because of that, it has shaped me into being the person that I am. Whether we realize it or not, we pick up something from someone or somewhere and it changes us. Lately, I've gotten responses from people on Twitter or via email saying that they really like my stuff and surprisingly, are asking me tips on how I do reviews or discussions on shows and movies. I was shocked that people think that  I am a somewhat influence to their work. I thought that I was just some regular blogger online, nothing special. For that, I say thank you.

Anywho, as you can see this is based on James' Top 20 Influences of My Life. But I couldn't do 20, 30, or 40. I have so many. So I decided to do 50. There in no particular order because I couldn't decide who or what to put as #1. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. 

1. Julia Child

I LOVE to cook. Ever since I was a kid, after I would finish watching my favorite cartoon, I would tune in to The Food Network. I worked in the kitchen for around 6 months learning how to bake cookies, cakes, and pies, make soups from scratch, roast meats in the oven, make salads, and pour my way into lots of cookbooks. The person who influenced me was Julia Child. When I was 6, I would watch reruns of The French Chef and her other cooking shows and it got me fascinated. It was like magic watching her cut chickens and ducks flawlessly and making stews in her big pot and baking desserts with her French rolling pin. Although she made some mistakes, she had fun with it. In a time where Americans were eating frozen dinners and processed foods, Julia would become the influence of many now popular chefs and cooks on TV. Without her, there would be no Food Network and no appreciation for different types of cuisines from around the world.

Here's an interesting fact: in the podcast play High Class Academy, the voice of Miss Wentworth was influenced by Julia's. 

2. Noah Webster

Most people only know him as the "dictionary" guy, but trust me. He is WAY more than that! When Noah was very young, he had a love for words. An obsession. He would read as much books as he can and was the smartest person in his class. However, he had major issues with the way the school system was: the buildings were falling apart, the seats were too big for the little kids and too little for the big kids, the books were from British schools, it was highly religious for his tastes, and the teachers were not passionate about teaching to children. It was because of him that made the school system "Americanized" and he is known as "The Father of American Scholarship and Education". His infamous "Blue Backed" spelling books taught kids to read in a new way and being the most popular of the time teaching millions of children to read for over 100 years, he created "spelling bees", he wrote books about politics, diseases, and law. Then of course was the dictionary. His knowledge of languages (he knew 26 languages) and his determination to have American books for Americans made them destined to write it. It took him 25 years to write 100,000 words, definitions, nouns, pronouns, and origin of language by hand. It was because of this that his name is synonymous with the way we learn today. 

3. Shigeru Miyamoto

Anyone who is a huge video game fanatic like I am should definitely know who he is. Around the early 80's when video games were oversaturated due to the quantity of it and most of them being awful, Shigeru Miyamoto came around and brought life into a dead form of entertainment. He created arcade games such as Donkey Kong and Mario Bros.and eventually created classic franchises such as Super Mario Bros. series, The Legend of Zelda series, StarFox series, Pikmin series, and more. He influenced gaming in a brand new way that is still being carried on today. We have fond memories of the games he created that can never be forgotten and he is still revered today for a reason. He has talked of retiring and if he does, at least he'll know that he's leaving a great legacy behind him.

4. Charles Dickens

I first read a small, abridged version with pictures of Oliver Twist and David Copperfieldwhen I was 9 and I loved them! In middle school, I wrote and directed a 30 minute play of A Christmas Carol for my class. Then around high school, I read his other books such asGreat Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood and he started my influence of being a writer. His stories discussing about 19th century Great Britain, the class systems of the poor and rich, and his complex characters fascinated me in a time when kids were excited for the latest Goosebumps book. His books have become classics and for good reason, they're well written and memorable and still hold up today after 200 years later. 

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

When I first read this book when I was 10, I immediately fell in love with it. The simple story about childhood and innocence lost to prejudice and false judgement was amazement told by the narration of one of my favorite literature heroes of all time Atticus Finch. Not to mention the 1962 movie of the same name is my favorite movie of all time. It's flawless and absolutely perfect with its themes, acting, and tension. I'm working on a narrative story myself and I'm taking note on how I can do it like Harper Lee did with this amazing book.

6. Lucille Ball

When I was a kid, I grew up watching I Love Lucy on Nick at Nite. I couldn't believe that a show that was over 50 years old made laugh until my sides hurt. I Love Lucy was the staple for sitcoms and when watching Lucy perform her jokes was addicting. Her physical humor inspired by Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx were exact and quick which made everything hilarious. She was also the influence of other comediannes such as Carol Burnett and a good amount of women from SNL. There's not much to say but...I love Lucy.

7. Walt Disney

Yeah, that's right. Walt Disney, the man who had influenced animation forever. He created such lovable characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, and more. His cartoon shorts Silly Symphonies and the first feature length animated filmSnow White and the Seven Dwarves were not only huge for animators, but for the people who watched it. I grew up loving Disney films and had been to Disneyland and Disneyworld multiple times in my life and never grow tired of it. There's such a charm to Disney that no other animation studio can replicate. Walt Disney wanted to connect that love and passion of animation to everyone and he did. Because of him, I have a love for cartoons even in my age of 26. For some I may be too old to watch cartoons, but cartoons are art. No one can argue about art. 

8. Nature

I love the outdoors. Even something as a tree blowing in the wind or a stream rushing down a lake can be soothing and inspiring. I've gone on camping trips, whitewater rafting trips, and hiking over the years and I find something breathtaking to see that you can't experience watching TV. Going outside with the sun on your face, the breeze guiding your path, and the animals making noise in the background makes you know that you've entered a new untamed world. 

9. Steven Spielberg

He's one of my favorite directors and producers of all time. He has done so many classic movies such as Jaws, E.T., Schindler's List, the Indiana Jones movies, Jurassic Park, and more. Not to mention that he has produced the great Warner Bros. cartoons from the 90's such as Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Histeria!, Freakazoid, etc. His list is legendary and his recent movies such as War Horse and Lincoln proves that he hasn't lost his touch.

10. Anne Frank

Her diary was one of the best autobiographies I've ever read in my life and she was 14. The two years of her life going through the struggles of hiding with her family and friends in WWII was interesting. But what really captivated me was her perspective of life. She was wise beyond her years and had problems like we had. It made you relate to her that today's female "role models" don't have for girls. Although her life ended way too short and tragically, her influence of life will continue to live in me and millions of other people.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my list. That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


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