Saturday, March 30, 2013

50/50 Challenge: Movie #13 - 'The Call'

For movie #13, Halle Berry with bad hair in a new thriller "The Call" and it wasn't too bad. It's actually what occurred during the movie that was more distracting. A young couple brought in their infant child who was loud throughout the whole movie talking, screaming and playing in the area around him. Better yet, the guy was on his phone half the time.

So they decided they are going to bring their child to a R-rated movie that would have no interest to their kid, let him run around and then not even pay attention to the movie but allow their presence to ruin it for others? I mean, the movie is no Oscar contender, but people still paid money to be entertained by it and not bothered by this rude couple who set such an awful example to their kid.

Someone did complain to the the theatre and I don't know if they were asked to leave, but right before the movie was about over, the girl left first carrying the kid and the the guy left second, after rechecking his Facebook page, making a commotion dragging the stroller down the stairs. I don't understand people who have no common decency or respect for minor rules. No talking, no phones and certainly don't bring your rowdy toddler.

As far as my actual review of the movie, you can read more here.

What do you do in a situation like that? Report them to the theatre? Ask them to be quiet? I just sat there in amazement.

Movie #13: "The Call"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I Order Banana Splits for Lunch

Have you heard of "The Happiness Project"? It's a book by Gretchen Rubin and it's a book about, you guessed it, finding happiness. Not as in finding happiness when you're at your lowest level, but maintaining your happiness, improving it. I am part of a book club that is taking the happiness project to heart and we are examining a chapter a month (there are 12 chapters) to find ways in which we can be happier.

At our most recent lunch meeting to discuss aiming higher a.k.a. Chapter 3, I ordered a banana split. I didn't want a sandwich or soup or an omelette or pancakes. I wanted a banana split, so I ordered, ate it, and marked it up as a win for the day. And, it was fantastic.

In the book, Gretchen discusses her commandments. "Rules" she lives by. Some of my fellow book club friends planned to make commandments of their own and I realized I already had some of my own. Coincidentally, all rules have room for a banana split.

10. Rebel. I'm more of a soft rebeller. I don't chain myself to trees in protest or storm capitol buildings to try to enforce change. But if society thinks it's time for me to get married/have children/lose weight/get Botox, than I find myself softy rebelling with a pleasant no, thank you. Someone calls you fat because you're not model thin? Eat a banana split and tell them to suck it.

9. Be okay being alone. On a Saturday night, in a coffee shop drinking a latte, anywhere sans phone, I know I am okay being alone. Also, be okay with being alone in your belief(s). Even it's not the most popular, trust yourself enough to be okay standing alone with no support. Just you and your banana split. (See what I'm doing here?)

8. Count your blessings. I do this every night before I go to bed and every morning when I am driving to work. Starting and ending the day thankful for the positive aspects of your life really has a way of changing your perspective.

7. Ask for guidance. I do this every day as well. I pray to God. I am not very church-y, but I do believe in God and the power of prayer. But you don't have to believe in any higher power to ask for guidance. Fill your life with solid people who you can trust for their opinions and the kind of people who know when to keep those opinions to themselves.

6. Take pleasure in the small things. A good bowl of macaroni and cheese. Life & Style magazine. Trashy reality shows. Funny texts to friends. A favorite song on the radio. All those small things can add up to one fantastic day. A bunch of fantastic days can lead to quite a fabulous life.

5. Rid yourself of negativity. We've all had that friend/guy/family member that just sucks the life out of you. They bring you down and make you feel small and you think, "I don't have time for this kind of drama." And, then one day you wake up and realize that you literally don't have time for the drama and rid yourself of negative energy. It is very freeing.

4. Be a permanent tourist. After college, I moved to NYC and fell in love with the city. I moved back to Kansas but then got the itch to move again and headed for San Diego. There are moments I think I could pack it all up again and maybe live in Europe for awhile. But no matter where I am, whether I am living there or visiting, I make sure I get to see, eat, drink, and experience as much as I can.

3. Never give up writing. It's been my saving grace, my therapy, my drug of choice.

2. Love more. One of my favorite poems has a line that goes: "If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me." This line is also from an episode of "Felicity" one of the greatest shows of all time. But what it means is that while I want everyone to love me, this is not going to be the case. People can be ugly and cruel and indifferent, but not me, I want to strive to love more no matter what.

1. Order the banana split. Don't worry about splurging. Don't worry about the calories. Don't worry about whether a choice is the best one or not. Be happy with your choice. Stand strong behind it. Understand that there are so many things that will not sway in your favor, but one thing is for certain, you will never go wrong with ordering the banana split.

The commandments are a good plan. The book club makes us accountable for the small changes we are making in our lives to better them. Life will always be imperfect and harder at certain times than others. There will be times when you think it can't get any worse, and then it does! But, you can always make a plan for change. I've had plenty of people say I'm one of the luckiest people they've met because things often fall in my favor. I am lucky and I do not take it for granted. But the majority of those things did not happen to me by chance, I planned them. My life is a happy one because I planned it that way.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

50/50 Challenge: 'Starbuck'- Movie #12

One of the perks about being a writer is that sometimes I get to write about really fun things, like movies! And since I write movie reviews, I get to see them at advanced screenings!

photo credit:

Recently, I saw a movie that I had never heard of, wasn't really expecting a lot from, but ended up LOVING. That movie is "Starbuck" and I recommend all of you to go right now and see if your theatre is showing it. It is a film about (a little over an hour and a half in length) about a man who donates his sperm when he's in his 20s, grows up and finds that his has "fathered" over 500 children! You can read my full review here, but let me tell you that this movie is funny, but more than that, it is endearing, heartfelt, fantastic, did I mention I loved it?

Also, the music is fantastic as well and I have been trying to found the soundtrack online with no luck. By the way, the movie is in French, but does have English subtitles. Speaking in French just makes things better, oui?

That's my pick of the month. Probably my pick of the last few months. Nothing has really come out that's been groundbreaking since awards season. Go see "Starbuck" and let me know if you share my enthusiasm for it.

Movie #12: Starbuck

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dream Interpretations

Do you ever wonder where you dreams come from? Like if they're due to what you eat before bed or from your subconscious? Sometimes my dreams are so strange that I hope they are from neither and just a fluke in my sleep pattern. But dreams are really powerful and mine have actually brought me answers to questions and have made me more aware of what's going on in my life.

I had a strange one about a week ago where I was tracking down a killer. Too much of The Following watching, perhaps, but the dream was so vivid that I wanted to write it down because I thought it'd make for a great movie. Unfortunately, waking up you try to remember every single detail and it's easier said than done.

I also have dreamed recently that I was looking for a lost kid, that I kept finding quarters, and then, last night I had a dream someone was cheating on me. None of them really have rhyme or reason to them but I always try to find meaning from them even if they none of them are literally true.

What's the craziest dream you've had? I wonder if somehow in the future there will be something that can automatically record my dreams.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

50/50 Challenge: Book #5 - The Paris Wife

I made it to book five by reading 'The Paris Wife' by Paula McLain which came out a couple of years ago. It's a fictional tale of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley and their romance and adventures in Paris. I really loved the description of their travels and of his writing, but dangit if Ernest Hemingway didn't piss me off.

It's quite depressing at times just with the brooding and the difference in ideals and the hard work it takes with a marriage, but as far as the book goes, I found it a good read. Because it was so descriptive and kept moving within the story (literally from city to city), it helped move the book along.

I had the new book by J.K. Rowling on my list next to read but the it's still on hold at the library plus I heard not so great things about it. Not too sad about missing out; the book looked humongous.

Three and a half months in and I still have made it to five books. I'm not sure how I am going to achieve 50.

Book #5: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flight Delay

I hate being late. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. If I'm running late I feel very anxious and flustered and mad! I'm supposed to head out tomorrow for a long weekend to see my family and the San Diego fog has settled in and delayed things. Being delayed means you have to rearrange your plans. I had to schedule a new ride to the airport. Alert my sister in Kansas of the delay. Plus, it just sucks!

It's like saying, hey, you know that really fun thing that you've been looking forward to for weeks? Yeah, you can't do that yet. You have to wait about three more hours. And it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is! Until you put things in perspective and realize things could be so much worse. But for about 20 minutes when I first was alerted to this delay I pretty much lost it.

Once I finally calmed down I told my guy that I was sorry for being upset. He told me I was scary. I looked at him and said, that wasn't even my full scary.

But the thing is this: shit happens. And while it sucks to be delayed, I will still be seeing my family tomorrow just as the original plan was. It's just going to be a few hours later. I'm ready for this "spring break!"

Perspective. Without it everything would continue to be on high drama alert. And that's way too much energy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

50/50 Challenge: Oz: The Great and Powerful

I hit #11 of the movies of my 50/50 Challenge over the weekend. My first attempt at seeing Oz: The Great and Powerful was a no go. We arrived ten minutes early for our movie, ticket already paid for to see that there was a line waiting for the showing after ours! Who knew that it'd be so popular opening night? Then again, it's been awhile since I've been to a movie opening night.

We tried again yesterday for a morning showing (which is better because movies are half price!) and we got in the theater just in time to get seats together that weren't at the very front. I love the original "The Wizard of Oz" but this prequel was pretty good. Maybe not wait-in-a-line good but worth seeing. You can read my full review here.

Good movies are hard to come by right now right after Oscar season, but there are some new ones popping up that I'm looking forward to and will help me reach my fifty movie goal.

Any movie recommendations for me?

Movie #11: Oz: The Great and Powerful

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

50/50 Challenge: Book #4 - Home Front

Finally finished with another book. Home Front by Kristin Hannah is a book that I may or may not have read part of before but reread for a book club. The thing about Kristin Hannah's books is that they remind slightly of Nicholas Sparks. There is a formula to them. It usually set in modern times with a deeper lesson to be learned. This makes for an easy, if not sometimes dull, read.

For the most part I liked this book. It's about a woman soldier who gets deployed and her lawyer husband has to learn how to take care of their two girls as well as learn that his wife is indeed in the military. It's an interesting look at the time away from family during a deployment and the chaos that can happen upon returning home.

This is the 3rd book of Hannah's I've read but still haven't managed to read Firefly Lane yet, which everyone seemed to love. Good thing I have book club to keep me on track with reading as well as always pump me with new suggestions. Next up on the list is The Paris Wife.

What have you been reading?

Book #4: Home Front - Kristin Hannah

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Writer's Journey

In recent weeks I have had multiple people ask me how I became a writer. What they really mean to ask is how I came to be paid to be a writer. If you write, you are a writer. Ever watch Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit? Whoopi Goldberg will tell you all about it. Yes, after watching that movie I did read Letters to a Young Poet (Rainer Maria Rilke) and yes, I took it to heart.

I was a writer before ever getting paid for it and I will continue to be one until the day I die. I love it. It has helped me during hard times. It has given me focus when I had none. It has made me happy.

But I will say that it's not for everyone. You don't get paid for shit most of the time. People tell you how much you suck or worse just reject you outright without a reason. An accomplishment is seeing your name in a byline. A bigger accomplishment is being paid anything -- and that doesn't even have to equal monetary value. You do it for the love of it and the extra push to get to that next big thing which hopefully at the end is an awesome book deal and a million loyal fans who die for your next novel.

But the first thing about being a writer is to really acknowledge that is what you are. Either you are or you aren't. It's not an elite status that you have to achieve. If you write, you feel it in your bones, you love it, you are a writer. Don't wait for someone to validate that for you.

Also, understand going in that unless you are a genius prodigy, and a lucky one at that, that you will not be making a million dollars for the first thing you publish. You may NEVER make a million dollars and you have to be ok with that. You have to still enjoy it. You have to appreciate the struggle, sounds weird, but it's true.

Writing makes you grow a backbone. Not everyone is going to like what you write. But you have to stand behind what you put out. You have to accept that maybe every single thing you write isn't the next best thing and you are becoming a better writer over time. But you also have to have the confidence to defend your work and know your value. Sometimes you will be the only one in your corner.

One person asked me if I ever run out of ideas to write about and I told her I never did. I have ideas on sticky notes, in my planner, in my dreams. I have an endless supply of ideas because a lot of them aren't that great, but I always have one to work on. I have a backup to the backup.

First piece of advice to new writers -- you have to make it part of your life. Not something that you think about from time to time, but a habit. Even if it's only for ten minutes a day, get it down. Start a journal. Start a blog. Write. It. Out. It's great. I have yet to accomplish all my writing goals, but the journey is a fulfilling one.