Monthly Archives: April 2019

The Door is Starting to Open Slowly (I Hope)

This morning, I woke up with the knowledge that a door was closing.

Due to restructuring, the day job that I have held for the last few years is being cut. To say that walking into the office today felt awkward is an understatement. I left the office knowing that this chapter in my professional life was closing. It has not been an easy chapter, but I look back and I know that I am a better person for going through it.

The door to the next chapter of my professional life looks like it will be opening sooner rather than later. I wish I could say that the door is opening sooner, but that is to be seen.

I can only hope, pray and keep sending out resumes. The door to my next job has to open somewhere.

 

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Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward Book Review

As pie in the sky as it sounds, one of the greatest aspects of America is that who one is at birth does not define what they may or may not accomplish during their lifetimes.

Valerie Jarrett, who worked under President Obama as a senior adviser is living proof of that concept.

In her new auto-biography, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, Ms. Jarrett tells the story of her life.

Born in 1956 to African-American parents, she spent her early years in Iran because her father was unable to find a job as a doctor in the United States. After the family re-settled in Chicago, Ms. Jarrett came of age during the turbulent 1960’s and 1970’s. In the early 1990’s, she interviewed a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson who was then engaged to the future 44th President of the United States. That interview was the start of a personal and professional relationship that has led her straight to the White House and to become of the most prominent African-Americans in the country.

As auto-biographies go, this book is pretty good. Ms. Jarrett tells her story in a way that it readable, enjoyable and uplifting without being too bogged down with the facts.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Politics

New Randy Rainbow Video-“BARR! – Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

Politics has a way of dividing us. Music and humor has a way or bringing us together.

Just a few hours ago, Randy Rainbow released his latest video, entitled “BARR! – Randy Rainbow Song Parody“.

Based on the opening song from Beauty and the Beast, “Belle“, the video highlights that the current Attorney General, William Barr, is not doing his job. His job is to serve and protect the American people, not serve and protect the President. Like many of those in the administration, Mr. Barr’s priorities are completely lopsided. They have forgotten who hired and who continues to pay them.

If I have to be honest, I’ve been a bit depressed due to my current job situation. This video made me laugh and if only for a few minutes, put a smile on my face.

Thanks, Randy Rainbow.

 

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Music, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations Book Review

A memoir has the potential to tell a good story. It also has the potential to appear to the reader that the writer is all about me me me.

Last month, writer Mira Jacob published her memoir in graphic novel form, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Currently living in New York City, Ms. Jacob is the daughter of Indian-American parents. Growing up with dark skin and immigrant parents, she was often faced with questions that are uncomfortable by nature. The questions became even more complicated when she married her Jewish filmmaker husband and brought her biracial son into the world.

What makes this book standout for me is that it is written in graphic novel form instead of being written in the traditional format for a memoir. In other memoirs where uncomfortable topics such as race and immigration are talked about, the writer may have the tendency to preach or write in a dry, academic style. In this book, Ms. Jacob writes in a way that makes these topics feel approachable and more importantly, talk-able.

I recommend it.

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Her Name is Lori Gilbert Kaye

The general definition of a hero is someone who does something selflessly; that is that their act benefits the person whom the act is for, it is not for them and their needs.

Lori Gilbert Kaye is a hero in every sense of the word. Yesterday, when a gunman entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue, he aimed his gun at Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.

The Rabbi survived, but congregant Lori Gilbert Kaye, who stepped into the path of the gunman and took the bullet, did not.

In Judaism, we have a prayer known as Eishet Chayil (A Woman of Valor). It is traditionally said on Shabbat by a husband to praise his wife.

If one had to look in the dictionary to define A Woman of Valor, Ms. Kaye’s face would be underneath the definition. In saving the life of the Rabbi while sacrificing hers, she joins the ranks of Jewish women across history who have fought and died for Jews across the world and across the generations.

May her memory be a blessing not just to those who knew and loved her, but to all of us. May her courage inspire us to fight against hate and prejudice. My prayer is that one day, sacrifices like Ms. Kaye’s will be confined to the past.

Z”l.

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Avengers: Endgame Review

Note: This review will be as spoiler free as possible.

The final film in any film series should pack an emotional punch, ramp up the drama and end with the feeling that the audience has seen everything that they need to see.

After months of buildup and expectation, Avengers Endgame premiered this weekend.

Starting off where Avengers: Infinity War ended, the film begins with a feeling of grief. After their numbers of have been decimated by Thanos (Josh Brolin), the surviving Avengers are not themselves. The loss of their friends and colleagues has cast a pall over the team. But Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) may have the resolution to their problem. But the plan is dangerous and has the possibility to not be completed as expected.

Can Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/ The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and  Scott Lang/Ant-Man bring back the lost Avengers or are they doomed for failure?

If there any definitive comic book super hero movie, Avengers: Endgame is it. Despite it’s 3 hour-ish run, it is not boring, predictable or has the feeling that some scenes could have been left for the extras section of the DVD. It has plenty humor, heart pounding action, feels emotionally authentic and has an ending that feels just perfect.

I also loved that the female Avengers were given just as much screen time and ability to kick ass as their male counterparts.

I absolutely recommend it. I also absolutely recommend that you use the bathroom before going into the theater. Trust me, you do not want to miss a moment of this film.

Avengers: Endgame is presently in theaters. 

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies

Thoughts On the Chabad of Poway Shooting

A week ago yesterday, which was Easter Sunday, bombs went off across Sri Lanka. When all was said and done, hundreds were dead and many more were injured.

Today, there was a shooting closer to home. In San Diego, one person was killed and three were injured in a shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue. Today is also the last day of Passover.

I hate to ask what is a simplistic question, but can’t we all get along? Is it so impossible to just live and let live? Why must we choose who is worthy and who is unworthy based on factors such as race, religion, sexuality, etc? At the end of the day, we are all human beings. We breathe the same way, we eat the same way and we use the bathroom in the same way.

For once, I wish I could watch the news without hearing that someone has been attacked or killed because of who they are.

May the memory of the person killed be a blessing to those who loved them.

 

 

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Flashback Friday-Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014-Present)

It takes an astute comedic mind to mock the state of the world and those who lead the world.

John Oliver is one of those astute comics.

For the last five years, he has hosted Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO.

Part comedy show and part reflection on the previous week’s events, John Oliver talks about the state of politics and the world that we live in as only he can.

Last Week Tonight, as far as I am concerned, is the one the best shows on television these days. Oliver pulls no punches, telling the truth about our world with the perfect British accent. It also helps that his program airs on HBO, giving him more freedom in terms of language and content than if his show was airing on one of the big 3 three networks.

I recommend it.

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Drusilla

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Evil is not born, it is made. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Darla (Juliet Landau) was not born evil. But she was made evil by Angel in his Angelus form (David Boreanaz) who killed her family, tortured her and sired her (when a human is turned into a vampire). Possessing psychic abilities and a childlike insanity that hides an innate intelligence, Drusilla joins Angelus, Darla (Julie Benz) and Spike (James Marsters), whom she sired, make up quite the evil quartet.

In Sunnydale, Drusilla hears about the new slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and is eager to make her mark as the vampire who killed the newest slayer with Spike’s help. But Buffy is not so easy to kill. But she is easy to manipulate when it comes to her boyfriend, Angel. After Angel reverts back to Angelus, he and Drusilla have some serious flirting going on. This does not sit well with Spike.

Though Drusilla is unable to kill Buffy, she does kill Kendra (Bianca Lawson) and takes Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) captive. Feeling betrayed, Spike switches sides to get his girlfriend back. They escape to South America, but Drusilla is not happy with the relationship and ends it with Spike.

In Los Angeles, hearing that a now human Darla is dying, Drusilla attempt to sire her. That siring does not go as planned, though the vampires do go on a killing spree. Hearing that Spike has moved on, Drusilla returns to Sunnydale in hopes of renewing their relationship and the vampire quartet that roamed Europe. Neither happens and as the world of BVTS and Angel closes, Drusilla is wandering about the world somewhere, looking for her next meal and perhaps a new vampire to sire.

To sum it up: The best villains are not born, they are made. As a main baddie, Drusilla stands out because she is ruthless, but under that ruthlessness, she is emotional and is incredibly smart. A smart villain will entice the audience to get involved and stay involved with the narrative because they, as a character, are enticing to watch.

 

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Throwback Thursday-Shear Genius (2007-2010)

Among the television spawn of the reality genre, there is none so compelling or mind numbing (depending on your point of view) than the competition program.

Shear Genius aired on Bravo from 2007 to 2010. Hosted during the first season by Jaclyn Smith and by Camila Alves (the other half of Matthew McConaughey) during the final two seasons, the purpose of the competition was to find the best hairdresser among the contestants. Each week, the contestants were challenged to create a unique hairstyle, but were forced to do so under restricted conditions. At the end of the reason, one contestant was named the winner.

Looking back, Shear Genius was not all that great. It was just another reality competition program where the competition was set in the world of hair styling. The only bright was Tabatha Coffey, who was named as fan favorite and had her own spin-off show, Tabatha Takes Over.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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