Monthly Archives: May 2015

Two Years

Life is sometimes about taking chances. We don’t know what the outcome will be, but we still take the chance anyway.

Two years ago, I took a chance. I took my first Muy Thai Kick Boxing class.

I’m not normally one who takes risks so easily. I’m usually the person who looks at all of the options and carefully weighs the pro’s and con’s before making a decision.

I took a chance when I took that first class. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Two years later, the results are astounding. My weight is down to a number (despite my love of carbs) I have not seen for several years. I feel better, I look better and my social circle has grown exponentially.

It’s not easy to take a chance. The “what if’s” are ever present. It’s easy to stay with the status quo. But sometimes we have to take risks. The results may not be what we wanted right away, but they may in the end produce amazing results.

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Kill Your Darlings

There is a statement in writing that all writers know and dread: kill your darlings.

For the non writers reading this post, it means editing. It is not the easy editing where a writer would correct a spelling or grammatical error. To kill your darlings as a writer is hard editing. It means that the writer is changing a beloved passage or making changes that they didn’t think they needed to make.

I’ve been killing my darlings since January. About six or seven years ago, I wrote a draft of a novel. It is my adaptation of Beauty And The Beast with Bronte-esque elements. In January, I joined a local novel writing group via meetup. I knew at that time that it was nowhere near the point where I felt comfortable sending it out for possible publication. The first meetup confirmed my feelings.

Since then, I have been killing my darlings again and again.

It’s not easy, especially considering the time I put into the novel prior too joining the group. But the effort (and sometimes heartache) is totally worth it. While my novel is still far from the point of sending out for possible publication, it is slowly getting there.

I know that I will have to continue to kill my darlings for as long as it takes. It’s not easy, but if the end result is publication, then it must be done.

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Filed under Anne Bronte, Beauty And The Beast, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Writing

Flashback Friday-Sappy Romance Double Feature- Here On Earth (2000) & A Walk To Remember (2002)

I am not normally a fan of sappy romantic movies. Their plots are predictable, their characters have been seen time and again to the point of ad nauseum.

But, once in a while, a sappy romance is what we want to watch.

One of the first sappy romances of the early 2000’s was Here On Earth (2000). Kelley (Chris Klein) is  a young man who is rich, brash and spoiled. He attends private school in a small town where the students do not get along with the locals. When a race with one of the local boys, Jasper (Josh Hartnett)  ends in the destruction of a local restaurant, Kelley and Jasper must live together with Jasper’s family and work together to rebuilt the restaurant.

Add in Jasper’s girlfriend, Samantha (LeeLee Sobieski) and you have a teen drama to properly launch off the 21st century.

For a teenage romantic drama, the movie is not bad. Adding to age of this film is the theme song sung by the early 2000’s second most popular couple in music, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.

Two years later, another romantic drama hit theaters. A Walk To Remember (2002) is another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book.

Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister. Shy and retiring, the last thing she expects is to spend time with Landon Carter (Shane West), a popular boy with a bad reputation.  Landon is being held responsible for a prank that resulted in a friend’s forced hospital stay. His punishment is to do community service. What starts  out as a forced task on Landon and Jamie turns into a friendship that blossoms into young love. But Jamie has a secret and Landon’s friends are very willing to malign Jamie publicly. Will the relationship between Landon and Jamie survive or will it go the way that young love often goes?

I am not a fan of Nicholas Sparks, but I like this movie. Jamie has a quiet resolve to stay true to herself, despite the pressure to fit in. Landon starts out as wayward young man with no idea what he wants to do with his life and by the end of the book, discovers his true calling.

I recommend both.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, Music

Throwback Thursday- Princess Caraboo (1994)

We all want what we cannot have. Whether it is love, money, fame or status, we try to reach for the brass ring, even it means fudging the truth a little.

The 1994 movie, Princess Caraboo is about reaching for the brass ring, even if it means fudging the truth a little.

In 19th century Bristol England, a young woman (Phoebe Cates) speaking an unknown language is being tried for begging. Then a man steps up claiming to speak her language. He states that she is a foreign princess named Caraboo. A family of local aristocrats invites her into their home in hopes of improving their social standing. But a reporter quickly becomes suspicious. Is Caraboo really a foreign princess or is she a con artist trying to escape the law?

This movie is interesting. Part traditional BPD (British Period Drama), part social satire and part mystery, the film asks it’s audience if reaching for the brass ring is better than being themselves.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Honey I Shrunk The Kids (1989)

To a human being, the backyard is not a scary place. But what happens when the backyard is a scary place?

In Disney’s 1989 film, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) could be the mad scientist next door. His newest invention is a machine that can shrink anything. Unfortunately, Wayne forgets to forewarn his family about his latest invention. When his kids and the kids next door are  shrunk and somewhere within the backyard, Wayne and the kids must find each other before it is too late.

For a kid in the late 1980’s, this movie was high entertainment. Was it the best movie of it’s time? No. But when your that age, things like that don’t matter in a film.

Do I recommend it? Yes, but only for nostalgia’s sake.

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Throwback Thursday- Enough (2002)

Spousal abuse is a worldwide epidemic. The numbers are staggering.

  • In the United States, 3 women are killed every day by a current or former partner.
  • 38,028,000 women have experienced domestic/spousal abuse in their lifetimes.
  • Women with disabilities are 40% more likely to experience abuse from their partners than women without disabilities.
  • 4,774,000 American women will be physically abused by their spouses or partners every year.

The 2002 movie, Enough is about domestic abuse and one woman’s fight to protect herself and her child from her abusive husband.

Slim ( Jennifer Lopez) has just met the man of her dreams. Mitch Hiller (Billy Campbell) is everything she is looking for in a man. They do what many couples do and get married. But Prince Charming is not so charming. When Mitch becomes abusive, Slim takes her daughter, Gracie (Tessa Allen) and tries to hide with the help of an old boyfriend, Joe (Dan Futterman). When Mitch becomes relentless in his search for his wife and daughter, Slim knows that there is only one way to save them both: she has to kill her husband.

Is Jennifer Lopez the best actress in Hollywood? Not by a long shot. Is this the best movie ever made: No. But it does shed light on a subject that is sadly all too commonplace.  One of the film’s redeeming qualities is that Slim does take a stand. Instead of cowering in the corner, she fights back. While this film is about one woman’s journey, Slim represents every woman who has ever been abused by their partner.

Do I recommend this film? Sure.

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Emma Book Review

Those of you who know my Janeite side know that I am not a purist. I am not against taking the novels out of their early 19th century setting and putting them in another era. That does not mean that every modern adaptation is worthy of the original novel.

Famed mystery writer Alexander McCall Smith entered the Jane Austen arena with his modern rewrite of Austen’s 4th novel, Emma.

As she is in the original novel, Emma Woodhouse is “rich, clever and handsome”.  She lives with her widower, hypochondriac father and her governess, Miss Taylor. Miss Taylor is recently engaged to Mr. Weston.  Emma has recently graduated college and is eager to start her interior design business.  But first she has some matchmaking to do.

Her initial success with Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston leads her down a dangerous path. She may or may not have mistakenly guided her new friend Harriet Smith away from Robert Martin, the son of local B&B owners and potentially into a match with Philip Elton, the local vicar. Add in Emma’s longtime neighbor/verbal sparring partner/ brother in law George Knightley and you have what may end up being an interesting summer.

I will forewarn my fellow Janeites that if you are a purist, you will not like this book.  McCall Smith has taken some liberties with his take on Emma. While I am not a purist in any sense of the word and I do enjoy a modern adaptation, I still prefer certain traditional elements of the novel and the character to remain. McCall Smith has taken too many liberties for my liking.

Do I recommend this book? If you don’t mind too many changes to character and story, then yes. But if you prefer the novel in it’s original form, then I recommend that you stay away.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Emma, Jane Austen

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Most of us are off work. We are usually at the beach or at a barbecue, enjoying a rare day off.

I know it is cliche, but tomorrow is about more than beaches and barbecues.

It is about remembering the men and women who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives so we can be free.

Happy Memorial Day.

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May 24, 2015 · 9:23 pm

The Woman In Gold Movie Review

History is a funny thing. We try to forget, but it always come back when we least expect it. And sometimes, when our history comes back, it allows us to make peace with the past.

Maria Altmann ( nee Bloch-Bauer) lived a charmed life during her early years. The daughter of an influential and wealthy Jewish Viennese family, she lived comfortably until World War II. Then the Nazis invaded Austria. Maria and her husband barely escaped, leaving everyone and everything they loved behind in Vienna. Among her family’s possessions that was confiscated by the Nazis was the portrait of Maria’s aunt, Adele Bloch- Bauer, painted by famed painter Gustav Klimt.

The new film, Woman In Gold, is the story of Maria’s fight to regain possession of the painting and other works of art that the Nazis confiscated from her family.

The film sees Maria during very different stages of her life. Helen Mirren plays the elderly Maria and Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria. Fighting along with Maria is Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a young lawyer whose family has been long connected to Maria’s family.

Helen Mirren, is well, Helen Mirren. She is one of those actresses who never fails to displease an audience. Her Maria is an elderly woman who goes back to Vienna despite the ghosts and the  memories that linger. As the younger Maria, Tatiana Maslany proves why she is one of the best young actresses in the business. Ryan Reynolds, in stepping out of his comfort zone to play Randol, a young lawyer who not only comes to understand and appreciate his heritage, but also knows when it’s time to fight the big boys.

I absolutely recommend this film.

Woman In Gold is presently in theaters. 

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Always Be Kind

 

Kind

 

This picture came up on my Facebook feed the other day.  The message is a lesson that we all need to learn and remember.

I had to remember it myself this past week.

I’ve started a new job recently. There are complicated circumstances within the company that I will not go into for privacy reasons, but I do want to share the lesson I learned.

One of the women who is responsible for training myself and my fellow newbies has been negative since we arrived. The other day, I thought I knew who she was. Then I was assigned to sit with her on Friday.

I was wrong about her.

Her professional life, like many within the company will soon change. Her life outside of this position is not easy. While again, I will not go into details for privacy’s sake regarding the specifics, I will say that this woman is not what I thought she was. She is actually very nice and she is very knowledgeable in regards to the responsibilities of the position.

We all have our demons and battles to face. Sometimes they come out in the wrong way, creating an impression that may or may not be entirely accurate. It has been stated that first impressions are what others remember about us, even if that impression is not the entire picture. While the statement is true, first impressions are just that. If I had stuck by my first impression of this woman, I would have not learned the truth. The truth is that she is very different from whom I thought she was.

No matter whom you meet, be kind. You never know what battles they are fighting.

 

 

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