Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two Artistic Videos: "Little Talks" and "Le Voyage dans la Lune"

I have been meaning to put this incredible video up.  The song is "Little Talks" by the Icelandic indie/folk/pop band "Of Monsters and Men." It was released the end of the summer 2011 and the video released in February 2012. I saw it when the song was released last year and just fell in love with the video due to it's artistry and creativity. It tells a story of a fantastic voyage with five sailors (the members of the band) from an airship in peril.  The sailors are saved by a beautiful mythical flying creature (from the band as well) who in turns saves them from various horrific monsters. They then help her get home.

I love the song and the basic story line but the special effects are what just thrills me!  Think old school fantasy but not overdone like so many of the computer animated films of today.  It is just so well done. I hope you like it as much as I do.  

"Of Monsters and Men's" video has an old style special effects aura about it which reminded me of a very very old movie, the first science fiction silent movie produced in 1902.  I see what could be major influences from "Le Voyage dans la Lune" ("A Trip to the Moon") by the famous French director Georges Melies.  Watch his movie below and see if you can see any comparisons.  Everyone interested in film should watch this movie as it is considered a classic. If anything, these two videos/films will definitely entertain you. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Helping Others

The concept of "paying it forward" is a rich one that we should all practice in our daily lives. It means basically if someone helps you, rather than repaying the good deed to them, pay the kindness forward and help someone else, a stranger perhaps.

Last week I was struggling with groceries at the local supermarket. It was one of those times when you go in for milk and before you know it, have two arms filled with cat food, orange juice, hamburger, soap, and then probably forget the milk! I was trying to get a basket and was obviously having issues. Some kid saw me struggling, grabbled one of the baskets and actually put in a couple of my groceries for me until I could manage it myself. I thanked him and he sheepishly nodded, "No problem" before walking away. Well there is hope for today's youth after all, I thought laughing to myself.

I was driving home down Route 78 the other day and a police officer had pulled someone over. The 18 wheeler in the slow lane put on his left blinker to move into the fast lane to avoid the officer and other driver. I was in the fast lane bebopping along to my tunes and saw him trying to get over.

The traffic in front of me would not let him in even though he was trying to do the right thing. I slowed down and flashed my lights giving him the signal to move in front of me. He did so and flashed his brakes several times as a "trucker thank you." Once we passed the pull-over, he moved back into the slow lane. I passed him and honk my horn twice quickly as a "you're welcome" and he responded blowing the truck horn.  Small random acts of kindess make life easier for others.

This past winter, my 70 something neighbor Charlotte was shoveling snow all by herself so John and I went out and shoveled her driveway. Our other neighbor Adam, came over and helped out and before you know it, we had Charlotte's driveway snowfree. We were rewarded by Charlotte's famous chili, turkey pot pie, and interestingly enough two quart containers of chicken stock, "just in case" as she stated. "You never know boys, when you're gonna need chicken stock!"

Lastly, my coworker Melissa told me that I had spinach in my teeth after lunch. I thanked her and removed the branch-sized wad. I instant-messaged her later writing, "That's what friends are for, telling you when you have stuff in your teeth." She reminded me to pay it forward. I told her that I already did. I refrained from telling someone I didn't like the ugly sweater that they were wearing that day. Ehr … bad example.

So the idea is that when someone helps you, make sure you in turn, help someone else. Have a mental log that you need to do a good deed today. You will help someone and in turn, feel better about yourself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

January Sick Time!

I began my first month of this new year by getting sick. And by sick I do not mean the sniffles. I mean feeling deathly ill screaming to whomever would listen just to "TAKE ME NOW!!!"  I had a high fever, chills so bad my teeth chattered, and aches and pains so bad that upon moving my pinky finger, my body went into spasms. One word for you all:  FLU.  I had thought it was bronchitis but a doctor visit confirmed it was under that lovely umbrella of flu-related viruses. My fever peaked at 104'F and proceeded to break and spike for three days. 

I went through 3 sets of bed sheets and PJs (yes I wear my sleepy pants and shirts) which were drenched from sweat. Mucinex and ibuprofen became my best friends. I subsisted on water, apple juice, apple sauce, and chicken soup. As a diet, it could not be beat. I lost eight pounds. John would come near me and I would moan and groan, "Leave me aloooone. Don't come near me! I am contaaaagious!"  He still caught it, and cursed me each day after.  Even the cats avoided me.

I finally started feeling better on the 5th day but was oh so weak. I was fatigued walking up ½ a flight of stairs. My arm grew tired holding up my cell phone. And on top of it all …. I didn't drink alcohol for 7 days!!!  You KNOW I was sick! I didn't even want my evening nightcap!  After 2 weeks, I was feeling a lot better. Strength was up and I was eating normally again (which means I pigged out).

I was reminded of when I contracted mononucleosis (mono) in 7th grade. I was sick and out of school for a month and a half.  My days were spent sleeping in my parent's bedroom with Mom taking care of me 'round the clock. It wasn't much work I guess because I slept so much. When I was awake I played with toys, games, or watched the black and white TV in their room (no cable back then!).  

I really got into the afternoon soaps very quickly though. I knew every character from Days of Our Lives and General Hospital. Merv Griffin and Phil Donahue became my daily best friends. Mom was sweet enough to bring by me gifts to cheer me up: toys, books, comics. I have good memories during this time of how well she took care of me.

When I went back to school, I was not able to participate in gym as my spleen was so enlarged and swollen. I was asked whether I wanted to observe gym on the sidelines for the next 8 weeks or spend 8 weeks in studying hall. If I took the study hall, my gym teacher whom I despised said he would assign me a 10 page paper to write on sports.  OK. I hated gym class with a PASSION. I was pretty unathletic. I was and still am a self-professed geek. I was a bookworm who read voraciously and looked at school studies as fun rather than punishment. So ... YES, I took the study hall for 2 months and wrote that stupid paper in a day. And yes, I got an A! Silly school administrators, they didn't know they were dealing with a budding writer. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons... Oh Whatever!

I am sitting here at a favorite cafe, The Big Catch in Skook County, and contemplating what is happening in my life right now. Some good, some not so good. I am really enjoying just relaxing today, sipping some coffee and writing. I am not so much enjoying the precocious child who feels he must play his PSP (Play Station gamey-type thing) at full volume at the next table over. All those beeps and whistles are reminding me of a bad trip at a NYC club in the 90's that I happened to ... ehr, that I heard about from a friend. 

Where are this child's parents?  OK, thankfully little Billy's mother just came over and dragged him away before I had to lob a cinnamon bun in his direction.  I am pretty good at lobbing scones and pastries from working as high tea server at the Ritz-Carlton Philly in my 20's.  My friend Grant had the bruises to prove it.

Where was I?  It is said that in life there are major stressors:  having kids, marriage, job change, moving,  death (well duh, of course), divorce, health issues, and a couple others that escape me. So what do you do when life hands you lemons ... or a major stressor? I hate that saying "make lemonade" and I am going to tell you why.

OH MY GOD some little girl is asking me about Girl Scout cookies! No thank you, little girl, I gained all the weight back from my bout with the flu this month so I don't have any available room to spare around my gut for more fat. Thank you very much though. (Of course I nodded no thanks, but that's what I was thinking.)

Solving your problems is obviously not as easy as making lemonade! LOL. You are given lemons and sometimes lemonade will never be the outcome!  "Sayings" are such an easy way out. They serve a purpose I guess, to make things easier by fitting them in a figurative little box with a bow. But real life doesn't fit neatly into a box with a bow. So what do we do.

Well, one of the benefits of growing older aka "frazzled at forty-something", is that you gain an incredible perspective called wisdom. And I love it. Wisdom allows you to step back and view that stressful situation with intelligence, insight and introspection. You take a breath and actually think about your future actions rather than acting immediately, emotionally, and without reason.  Ahh remember those days of youth when we would react immediately and not know any better?  Heh heh, I think most of us are actually glad they are over.

I have a big situation coming up and I am glad I have gained wisdom in my first 42 years to try and deal with it.  I breathe easier I guess. At the very least I am going into it with both eyes open. I figure there is no sense in freaking out over things at this point. It only adds to the stress. Face it head on they say? I'll try and practice that saying. It's better than making lemonade ... unless I can add a little vodka to it.