Saturday, April 27, 2013

50/50 Challenge: Update (Still No Books)

I feel like May may be my big month for books. I have a ton on my list and I'll be traveling which is always a good way to get in some more reading. But until then, the movies are quickly outpacing the books for this challenge.

I saw this movie last week that I thought I had blogged about but maybe I didn't (sorry if there is a repeat!). It is called "Disconnect" and it's this dark look into the social media world. I work with social media on a daily basis and see the positives, but I'm not blind to the negative aspect of it which includes things like bullying and "catfishing." Jason Bateman is in the movie as overworked "disconnected" dad and the whole movie follows several different stories and pulls them together into one movie.

The darkness of it was a drastic contrast to the other movie I last saw which was "Pain and Gain" starring The Rock and Mark Wahlberg. I thought it was pretty funny. It's mostly buffoonery, but I was in need of a good laugh. I liked both "Disconnect" and "Pain and Gain" but for obviously different reasons.

Then, to round out my update I saw another Denzel movie - "The Hurricane" - which he won the Golden Globe for for Best Actor. It was a good story about Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a middlweight boxer champion who was wrongfully convicted of a murder in the 60s. He has a team of attorneys and a foursome of people dedicated to his case to help free him decades later. The most interesting part about the film was Carter's transformation while in jail and how he handled his circumstances.

Three movies and I'm still working on getting to double digits book-wise. I think I'll be to 50 movies by mid-summer, so maybe I'll have more time to read books? That's what I keep telling myself at least.

Movie #20: Disconnect
Movie #21: Pain and Gain
Movie #22: The Hurricane

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Randomness

Sunday is my favorite day to write. I usually don't put a lot on my calendar just in case I want to sleep the afternoon away. Planning for a nap isn't the worst idea let me say. But whether I have anything important to say (isn't it all important?) or I just want to "clear my thoughts" writing helps with that.

So this Sunday I have some random things on my mind:

1. I know in my blog I post a lot about my dreams. They are so vivid and weird and real to me that I consciously try to figure out what my subconscious is trying to tell me as I sleep. I had several dreams last night. In one there was a skunk loose in the house. Except when the skunk ran by me it just looked like a black and white cat. Everyone wanted to catch the skunk and I said, "Why don't you just open the door and let it out?" Which is what I did in the dream. has this to say about the dream:

To see a skunk in your dream suggests that you are driving people away or turning them off. Alternatively, the dream indicates that your suppressed anger is on the verge of exploding. You are not expressing your true feelings even though you do not agree with a decision.

Well, that's just great.

Who am I driving away? How do I make it stop? Who have I offended in the last week? Better question: Who haven't I? Or, I have suppressed anger? The last part of the dream interpretation could be true, but how do I fix this problem without fearing backlash? And what about the fact that the "skunk" in my dream was really a cat? Am I being paranoid about driving people away? Am I ignoring my anger?

I wish I could just have normal dreams about Ryan Gosling instead.

2. I hate when things that I know shouldn't annoy me annoy me. My friend and I were talking about how it feels seeing ex-crushes/boyfriends/flings get engaged. It shouldn't be annoying, but it is. Like they couldn't get it together when they were on our radar, but magically with the power of time, they are committed enough to get engaged?! Some other girl is reaping the rewards for all the hard work we put in to deal with their nonsense, make them better people, hold them accountable for their actions? Annoying!

3. The other day my co-workers and I were talking about the foods we eat when we want to feel "fatty." My fatty, let me sit on the couch and be a slug food is Long John Silvers fried fish with fries and hush puppies. It tastes like it's been fried in butter. It's fantastic. Eating healthy is a constant struggle for me. Maybe LJS is less my fatty food and more my rebellious food. Like so what, I still like heart-clogging, half-hearted attempts at fast food.

4. I'm devoting 15 minutes today to writing. Not blog, word vomit writing but real, let's try to write a novel here writing. This will most likely happen after my nap.

Happy Sunday!

50/50 Challenge: Could I Read Any Slower?

I feel like I used to be a really fast reader. But I find more and more I go through spurts. One weekend I read three whole books! Granted, two of the three books were about 200 pages, but still three books is sometimes more than I read in weeks.

For this challenge, I keep thinking we're more than a third of the way through the year and I still have 40 books to read! Holy shit, how is this going to happen? But one thing that was so kind for the person who runs the @fiftyfiftyme Twitter account said was, "Hey, you're 7 books ahead of most of America!" So then I thought, well, regardless of whether I actually complete this challenge (which doesn't have a prize mind you) is that I'm reading more, which is the overall goal and I should be happy about that.

I still have not hit double digits, although I should by the end of this month. Book #9 was "Firefly Lane" by Kristin Hannah. It's a story that spans over three decades and follows the very intense friendship between two women through their teenage years and as they grow into adults. It has a very "Beaches" feel, but it's one of the longer of her books. Apparently, this book has a sequel too that is coming out this year (possibly next month?) and I'm interested with how the author follows it up.

Kristin Hannah, for those who have not read her writing, is a very formula type writer. Meaning, much like Nicholas Sparks or a Jodi Picoult, she targets one central "issue" and really makes a strong voice for her characters so readers can get attached to them. She's a writer that has easy-to-read books. I've read a few of her books now.

So I'm still trucking along and have decided that if I reach my goal by the end of the year and complete the challenge that I'm going to reward myself. I'm not sure yet what the prize will be, but a personal sense of fulfillment will most likely not be enough for me.

Book #9: "Firefly Lane" - Kristin Hannah

Sunday, April 14, 2013

50/50 Challenge: Work in Progress

I'm not even halfway through the year and I feel like I'm doing well with the challenge. For book number eight, I read a memoir by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who has been on Top Chef Masters as well as a guest judge on Top Chef. I love reading about food and chef experiences. This book was great as it talked about his childhood, travels and of course, cooking. I enjoy reading about ingredients. One odd thing about me: I actually like reading recipes. I'm not sure what my food obsession is about, but I can watch hours of Food Network and can indulge myself in Food Network magazines and other food blogs at the same time and perfectly content. I like it; what can I say?

Also, I am nearing the 20 mark for new movies watched. The 18th spot goes to "The Company You Keep" a new drama from Robert Redford who is definitely starting to show his age. He just looks very...rugged. I enjoyed the film, but heard lots of complaints and have read other reviews from those who do not feel the same. I do not enjoy Shia LeBeouf. I didn't hate him in this movie, but still do not enjoy him.

However, for movie number 19, I have to say, it knocked it out of the ballpark for me. Of course, I'm talking about the movie "42" the Jackie Robinson for. I think it is a great piece of sports history, maybe just history in general, as it follows the story of how the first African-American baseball player to play in Major League Baseball left his stamp on the game. To imagine living in a time of such segregation breaks my heart. To see individuals triumph from that in such a huge way gives me hope for the human race.

Of course, you can read my full reviews on and subscribe too!

Book #8: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Movie #18: The Company You Keep
Movie #19: 42

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

50/50 Challenge: I've Finally Read More Books

Movies are easier for me for this challenge, but I am still chugging away slowly reading books. Good thing for book club which "forces" me to read! For book six, I read an oldie that I never read when I was a young girl. "Jacob, Have I Loved" by Katherine Paterson. Did you ever read that one? It's about the twin sisters and how one is favored over the other? It was pretty good and descriptive and a very quick read.

When I was younger, I remember loving all things Judy Blume, The Babysitters Club, Beverly Cleary, the list goes on and on. I remember getting books as gifts instead of toys and loving it. I've always been a book nerd it seems.

The other book I read was also for another book club and it's a self-help book from 1984. It's called "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself" - ha! Isn't that the funniest name for a book? It's about self-talk, self-motivation, the pursuit of happiness, enjoying your life. One of the main points is that we are "programmed" from an early age with negative thoughts with a lot of being told 'no' and have that ingrained in us as we reach adulthood. We have to essentially reprogram ourselves with positive thoughts. Sounds too good to be true, but from personal experience, it definitely helps!

Maybe these aren't at the top of your book lists, but they were still short, easy reads. It's nice to step outside of the normal comfort zone of what I usually read. Currently, I'm reading "Yes, Chef" and it's fantastic. I love reading books about cooking and chef life.

I need to start building up my summer reading list. What should I add?

Book #6: Jacob, Have I loved - Katherine Paterson
Book #7: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself - Shad Helmstetter

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I Am Going to Europe

I've always believed that dreams/goals are easier to achieve when you put them in writing. Whether you write it on a Post-It or in your journal or type it in your blog, then I feel once it is in print, then it will come true.

So I have added on my list of things to do: Go to Europe.

I've never been. And I've been dying to go. I have my passport with no stamps and I want to travel and explore as much as there is to explore. Therefore, with any luck and a whole lot of saving next year I will be traveling to two of my top places to visit - Italy and Greece.

I found this great website in which you can list the places you want to go and they will build an itinerary for you and tally up the total so you know exactly how much you need to save. This includes airfare, accommodations, meals, tours, etc. It sounds like heaven to me!

Not that long ago it seems I wrote a similar blog declaring how I was going to move to San Diego. How I was going to pack up life and live life as a writer by the beach. And that item on my to do list turned out quite well.

50/50 Challenge: Movie #17 Goes to Mr. Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise was really a handsome man. He still is; it's just hard to overlook his weirdness. But one of my favorite movies is "Cocktail" in which he played a gorgeous bartender and right in his heyday of movie making. But I digress, for movie #17 on my challenge, I turned to TC and his role in "The Firm." Remember when all John Grisham books were turned into movies? I saw quite a few of them, but never "The Firm."

Tom Cruise plays a highly intelligent, but low income Harvard law graduate who is being woo'd by every law firm across the nation. A Memphis law firm captures his interest due to the benefits of a handsome salary, home, Mercedes, etc. What's there not to like? How about the fact that this law firm actually represents the mob and kills any attorney who tries to leave the firm. It's action-packed and is shot very early '90s. I feel the type font of the opening credits in late '80s and early '90s movies are pretty similar.

This wasn't a top TC movie for me, but still good. What would I consider his top performances?

#1. "A Few Good Men" - a favorite of mine. I never get sick of this movie even when it plays back to back on AMC, which it does nearly every other weekend.

#2. "Jerry Maguire" - a classic. He is so dedicated to this role and it's just a really fantastic story.

#3. "Cocktail" - The best of the 80s including that killer soundtrack.

Weird movies that had Tom Cruise - "Rock of Ages" and "Magnolia" - are two that come to mind.

What are some of your favorite Tom Cruise movies?

Movie #17: The Firm

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dreaming About Breathing Underwater

Have I said that I think I'm partly psychic? Not in the way that I can tell what you're thinking right this very moment, but I can definitely sense things and I "see" things in my dreams. I feel like I'm supposed to learn something from them, but not sure what.

I have a lot of dreams in fact and they are very vivid and detailed. I often dream about dying in my dreams and then coming back to life and my biggest recurring dream is that I can breathe underwater. For example, last night I had a dream that I was trying to get tickets to a concert, but couldn't because I didn't have any money. Then, I was trying to help my friend find her car and then next thing you know we are in the car and have driven off into a pond? Lake? Ocean? I am breathing fine and she is panicking. I bust the windows out of the car and we swim to safety. However, I didn't physically break the windows. I just thought about them breaking.

According to my underwater breathing dreams mean:

To dream that you are breathing underwater represents a retreat back into the womb. You want to return to a state where you were dependent and free from responsibilities. Perhaps you are feeling helpless, unable to fulfill your own needs and to care for yourself. Alternatively, breathing underwater is analogous to being submerged in your own emotions.

This seems a wee bit intense. Yeah, of course, I'd love to be free from responsibilities but does it mean I'm stressed out about them? Not necessarily.

But then an answer from says this:

Water is one of the most common and powerful of all dream symbols. It’s presence in dreams is associated with emotions, which is why, when we see it in our dreams, we are alerted that our dream most likely concerns feelings we are managing in our conscious lives. In this light, the ability to breathe underwater is a positive dream metaphor. You are able to visit the emotional and intuitive aspect of your personality freely and easily, and you do not feel uncomfortable in this emotional territory. If you were carried along by a rushing river, or were buffeted by enormous waves in a raging ocean, the interpretation would be quite different. In the first instance you are being “swept along” by powerful subconscious drives and emotions; in the second you feel your overwhelmed emotionally, and are struggling to “stay afloat.”

This makes a little more sense to me. I've also had dreams where I've swam underwater to escape. I've been pulled underwater by waves and have not been scared. What do you think it all means? Are my emotions that powerful and better yet, that suppressed? I wouldn't think so, but maybe my subconscious knows better.

Any idea of what my dreams are trying to tell me?

50/50 Challenge: Three in a Row

I've been on a movie watching roll lately and my current 50/50 Challenge count is 16, which is more than I can say for my book count. Sad face.

"The Place Beyond the Pines" stars Ryan Gosling which may be the sole reason I wanted to see the movie at all. It's odd. It's interesting, but odd and long as well. But there's just something about 'Hey girl, Gosling' that draws me back time and time again. If you're up for a drama that unfold over a span of fifteen years and involves a lot of corruption, and a little bit of Ryan Gosling, then this is the movie for you.

I also saw "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" which was decent and fun to watch in 3D. I mean is it a movie that I can gush about for hours? Eh, not really. But I had fun watching it, especially the ninjas!

I'm also counting "Jurassic Park 3D" in my movie challenge because technically I have never seen this specific movie before. Is that cheating? So maybe it is. Throw me a bone!

Of course I have fully fleshed out reviews, which you can read here. Subscribe if you like! Tell you friends and family!

Next week, I'll be posting a review for "The Company You Keep" with Robert Redford and also one I'm very much looking forward to - "42"!

Which movies have you seen recently? Any recommendations?

Movie #14: The Place Beyond the Pines
Movie #15: G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Movie #16: Jurassic Park 3D