Here, There be a Writer

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 Movie Review

This is the first year (2016, I mean) that I have seen a good chunk of the movies released. As a rule, I used to not want to spend the money on a movie ticket, but with new Star Wars movies, live action Disney remakes, and actual content within movies, I have decided that this was a silly rule.

Now, I set aside money for 1 movie per week, as long as there are decent movie to see. I still don't like movies with stupid concepts and certain actors are not favourites, but with that being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the movies that I did see.

This will be an impartial list, as I didn't see everything, but I did stretch my theatrical muscles on this and watched two horror movies. Oddly enough, they were more about plot and character than scaring. So, Dear Readers, without ado, my list of Cindy's 2016's movie picks....


First the Honourable Mentions:
     1. The Shallows: So, shark movies. Yeah. Shark movies! Nothing can compare to Roy Scheider in Jaws, but, honestly, Blake Lively was so convincing that I really felt for her. The story was present and well told. There is little gore, mostly from the nasty nip Lively receives from her shark buddy. For a strictly one person (with a few side characters) movie, it holds up really well, as entertaining and quality storytelling.

     2. Ouija: Origin of Evil. Okay, so I didn't know that there was a previously made Ouija movie (2014) and that this movie was a prequel. I enjoyed the movie, even with the jump scares, because the story focus more on the characters, which is something important. Also, the depiction of the 1960's were really spot on, costumes, cars, set location. The house used was gorgeous! I am only slightly curious about seeing the 2014 Ouija, simply because there is a connection to characters, but because Origin of Evil was so well done I am not sure I want it ruined. It nothing else it was a good spooky movie with wonderful characters.

3. Office Xmas Party: This is a stupid movie, but it is a AMAZING stupid movie. In the vein of Bad Moms, but with MUCH MORE SWEARING! So, I once said I disliked stupid humour movies. I lied (like the Doctor does). I actually like movies with that brand of silly and/or stupid humor, where you may be left scratching your head, but also laughing really hard. Jennifer Aniston is hands down the best part of this movie. She can totally play cold-hearted bitch and own it!! Kate McKinnon is just adorbs as the crazy HR lady.


The List:
      1. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call - This was a feel good movie. I enjoyed the SNL actors, the cameos, and the spirit with which the movie was made. Ha! I'm keeping that pun in, Dear Readers.

      2. Finding Dory - There is something special about movies that cater to the adults just a little more. Dory is a great movie for all ages, but the subtext woven into the story just make me happy.

      3. The Danish Girl - I knew so little of Eddie Redmayne prior to this movie. Okay, except for that Les Miserables musical, but that is for another time and rant. In a world where the LGBTQ community is active and present now more than ever, its nice to see how some early transgender folks dealt with life and coping with the world. Yeah and Eddie looks damn fine in a dress too!


      4. Rouge One - A solid reminder that Star Wars is NOT a terrible franchise. It's a fill and vibrant world, and there are those who still care about its place in the universe. A darker and more cynical view of the empire, it has it right, as it is before the shot went down in A New Hope. For that I applaud you.  Oh, and Alan Tudyk, you are my new favourite!!

      5. Fantastic Beasts... - I like the Harry Potter universe. I have read all the books (okay not Cursed Child, yet). I was just glad that it appealed to everyone, whether a fans of the Potter-Verse or not. That and Eddie. ;-)


      6. Moana - Okay...gonna say it! Lin Manuel Miranda. There! The story is strong, the animation stellar, and the music gorgeous. Also, I wrote a full review about it, Moana Review.


      7. Zootopia - A really strong movie with an amazing message. Kudos to Disney for promoting something so strong as unity within the real world issues that we face today.

      8. Time Chasers (Rifftrax) - I love Rifftrax. If you don't know what they are, go now to their website: rifftrax.com. You won't regret it. From the minds of the members of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MSK3K), Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy bring you riff of your favourite main stream movies and old school educational short films. An mp3 track to play along with the movie of your choice and BOOM joke, comedy, and commentary on the strangest of topics.

      9. Bad Moms - Real life problems mixed with the absurdness of mom's running wild.  Strong performances from Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell.


      10. The Jungle Book - Disney, live animals (well, CGI animals), and a mostly non-musical version of the classic. It is darker and gritty, but there is more plot and character that make it holds it  own.

Other movies I saw:
        *Pete's Dragon - Another remake, well, not a remake. It is more like a re-imagining of the original idea. I was SOOOOO hesitant on watching this. I grew up on the original. I knew it and the songs like nobody, well outside of a few close friends who need it a little better.
        *Secret Life of Pets - just freakin' cute.
        *Passengers - space adventure story with J-Law.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The 5 Most Annoying or Tasteless Christmas Songs

Note (updated 12/19/2016): I had previously posted about terrible Christmas Song HERE. It's funny to note that 4 out of the 5 are the same. It's proof that some songs are just terrible, or at least overly played. I am glad that I looked a little harder to find some new terrors for you, Dear Readers. Also, I have decided that Do They Know its Christmas needs to get moved. I still loathe Christmas Shoes, but Do They Know? is becoming the worst Christmas song in my book.

So, have you ever listened to the radio from Thanksgiving to New Years (varies a little from place to place)? What are the songs that crawl into your ears as the worst, annoying, and / or tasteless of the holiday set? I have a desk job, and have a little Lennox-Sound radio that plays me music to while away the hours. I think I got it in the eighties. The tape deck doesn't work, and the purple is faded to a sandy brown, but I can still listen to those classics and not so classic holiday tunes.

My purple wonder! Shiny stickers and all...
Most of these songs get regular airplay on my radio station of choices, which mean you have probably heard one or more of these, unless you do not have a radio, or chose to not listen to said radio. Some of these songs are truly ear-worms!

Note: Links are only for the brave and not feint of heart, except for the Patton Oswalt link!!

Enjoy! :-)

Honourable Mentions: Jingle Bells - Frank Sinatra (J-I-N-G-L-E Bells), Santa Baby (any version is annoying, some artists that have covered it include Eartha Kitt, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and even Michael Buble have covered this), and Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer (Elmo & Patsy).

These songs why I don't hate them directly, one is mildly to moderately annoying when you hear it looped while walking around a Wal-Mart, and trust me, this has happened. I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day, but during Christmas. The other is just kinda tacky and self-absorbed. There's a bit of kitsch with Santa Baby, but version like the Madonna version seem to make my skin crawl. And sometimes, ever once in a while the stupid need visual aids and gets made into a Christmas special . Definitely NOT kidding here!

5. Santa Claus Has Got the Aids - Tiny Tim

I only learned of this while looking up potential candidates for this list. I listened to it for you, and it is thew weirdest song I have heard. Click the link if you are curious. Tiny Tim, the master of tip-toeing thru the tulips wrote and sings this one. I'm thinking there was a motive for writing this song, but I just don't know. It's upbeat and borders on jollity. It makes it a little creepy with Tim's light-hearted take of the AIDS epidemic (before it became one). I have never heard this on the radio, ever!

There. Are. No. Words.

4. All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth - Spike Jones and His City Slickers

Written in 30 minutes by a music teacher, Donald Yetter Gardner in 1944, because over half of his class were missing one or more of their front teeth. Recorded by many groups and artists including The Chipmunks, Danny Kaye and the Andrew Sisters, Ray Stevens, George Strait,  Nat King Cole, The Three Stooges,  Count Von Count, and RuPaul.

3. Daddy, Please Don't Get Drunk This Christmas - John Denver

I cannot find much about this song. The songwriter is Bill Dannoff, the creator of Starland Vocal Band, and writer of their ONE BIG HIT, Afternoon Delight. He also penned Daddy, Please Don't Get Drunk... He worked and toured with John Denver, which is how this song probably got onto the roster for Denver's, Rocky Mountain Christmas Special. It's another link in the chain of overly sad to depressing Christmas about bad behavior during the holidays. I do get it, that the holidays, they are hard for some people, but I prefer to focus on the happy, joyous spirit of the holidays, not the sad, depressing parts. Also covered by Alan Jackson and The Decemberists.

2. Christmas Shoes - Newsong

The top most annoying Christmas Song goes to that song. That song about the damn shoes and hard luck children. This is a really for me to go Bah Humbug. I'm serious, Dear Readers. The only reason I can even say the name of this song is because of Patton Oswalt's bit on Christmas Shoes, and then someone animated it. Check it out here----> Patton Oswalt's Christmas Shoes. Also, I need to point out that this song was made into a Hallmark Made-for-TV movie with Rob Lowe. Even worst, there are TWO, count 'em two, sequels (I haven't watched them!

1. Do That Know It's Christmas Time? - Band-Aid, Barenaked Ladies, Glee

What do you get when you combine a bunch of A-list artists and the continent of Africa? A really self-righteous song about how sad the folks of Africa are, and ultimately how lucky those in first world countries are. If I seem bitter, it because I don't feel that message about helping others came across sincere. I know that aim was to inform the people of the world about the plight of Ethiopia and raise money (and oh, did it), but it just comes across uppity. Boy George was almost not part if the track as he was flown over to England last minute, due to a busy Culture Club tour. The song has been recorded four times and covered by the Barenaked Ladies and Glee and it never gets any better. The tone is really wrong, and I cannot get past it.

Remember, this list is subjective. I would love to hear from all of you about which Christmas / Holidays songs drive you crazy, are over played, or just plain tasteless. Have a Wonder Holiday season! Blessings to you and yours!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Moana: A Brief Review!

There are few movies that strike a chord within me, especially in Disney movies, in such a way that I am happy to live on this planet. Okay, that's a strange statement, yes. First, it's not that I don't love Disney movies, but after watching Moana, I felt a surge of pride that the stories they are telling are worthy to tell.

Maui and Moana
See I grew up with Disney movies. There were the ones that I was constantly watching, like Robin Hood, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, and Cinderella. These are the stories of my youth, but they were the most powerful told stories. This isn't a slam against the animators on these movies. They were good movies, but there came a time when you wanted something powerful. It wasn't until Beauty and the Beast, that came out in 1991, that I saw Disney trying to tell stories with a purpose. The Little Mermaid was a fantastic movie and is the beginning of what many have dubbed 'The Disney Renaissance', but it wasn't until Beauty and the Beast that something sparked.

Not every modern Disney sparks my soul and promotes strong feminine roll models, or tell a thrilling and/or beauty story, but recently Disney has found it's stride. Brave, a story about a strong willed girl and her mother and finding yourself (not really a love story), Frozen, a story about sisterly love more than romantic love, and finding yourself, and now, Moana, a story of finding your place and not falling into the rolls that have been carved out for us, thus, finding yourself. These are stories that I love, and that I want my nieces and all children to have access to. They are also becoming strong contenders to be called the new classics (at least in my universe).

In the last few years there has been more stories featuring stories and legends from different cultures. I think that is great! The Grimm's fairy tales, of olden days are find, but that it is important to see the story that shape ALL of us. This is a main reason that Moana has become my new favourite story.

Moana, the stories of a pacific islander girl, who challenges her world and defies the rules by traveling across the barrier reef, searching for Maui, the demi-god who stole the heart of Tafiti (the mother goddess that created all of the lands of the ocean), and therefore began to tear the world apart. Moana, has to brave the dangers of the open sea and those within herself to reunite Tafiti with her heart. Kinda a dual life lesson there, eh Disney?

And then you have music written by Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, a American Musical. Music in a movie can make a story more profound, and the song, We Know the Way, is about as profound as you can get, telling the story of Moana's heritage and her peoples travels to discover new lands; and there's How Far I'll Go, sung by Moana, yearning for something more, feeling just a little out of place, much is the way that Belle (Reprise) calls out Belle's desire for something greater.

How Far I'll Go

I've been standing at the edge of the water
Long as I can remember
Never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water
No matter how hard I try...

I can talk about each of these songs and great length, but the point is that the songwriters knew what they were doing in building a story with music and words, from the love of a Gramma Tala to her granddaughter, and your pride within yourself, Moana to her people. Even the Shiny song, with the David Bowie-esque Crab pulls at your core. Although, it is less about personal growth and just a bad ass song.

Moana is a worthy addition to the Disney pantheon, and is definitely NOT A PRINCESS! She is a girl, designed to look like a girl, and voiced/sung by an ACTUAL 16 year old Hawaiian teenager. There are so many things that Disney got right. Also, Hei-Hei the chicken is voiced by Alan Tudyk (from Firefly). Hear the fan girl/fan boy squeeing (you're welcome, Sara)!!

If you get a chance to see Moana, please do. It is worth the watch!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election 2016 Thoughts (Time to Move Forward)

It's time to get thoughts out of my head before I explode.

Election 2016, truthfully, not what I expected. I don't anyone expected this.

First off, this is the first election that I was scared about the outcome. i am not a fan of George W. Bush, but he was a cakewalk compared to what I think is going to be 4 interesting years. While there is always risk with elections, 2016  poked a bear named Trump, argued  ethics with Hillary, and tried to get Bernie Sanders into the white house. There were  a lot of things that were building up pressure, namely the working class and people wanting politicians to be transparent. We also wanted honesty. We wanted someone to hear our voices. We wanted change.

Change we got.

But, think about this, Dear Readers, maybe this is the kick in the ass we need to make the changes we all want and crave.

I fear Trump because he is a bully and a bigot who is more than willing sacrifice us, the American people to the highest bidder. He wants to exploit our fears. Let's not let him succeed. Let's help him to make this county a better place.

     *I am scared because I am a woman, and my reproductive rights are now going to be a trial. I also have many female friends that also  would be hurt by this.

     *I am bi-sexual/pansexual (meaning I love whom I love). I have lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer, and transgender friends that are actually afraid for their lives and livelihood. The LGBTQ community is one that I am part of and its marriage rights just newly won and are now in jeopardy, because some people believe marriage is between a man and woman, only. Bollocks, I say! This country isn't strictly Christian or Catholic or Muslim. Why should one group dictate what everyone does.

      *I am pagan, a witch. I do not go to church. I believe Jesus was an incredible teacher, but he would never claim half of the things about gay rights, woman's rights, and minorities that they are experiencing. I believe in the world around me and the universe (god) can teach us so much from science to philosophy.

These are things that make up Cindy, and these things could potentially change, taken away: Birth Control and Abortion, Freedom of Religion and Marriage Equality/Gay Rights. They  could all go up in a poof of smoke if we don't stand and fight.

If we stop, we die.

What I am suggestng, Dear Readers is that we, as a county, as a people, come together and fight to be heard. Speak out. Treat everyone equally, especially if we don't agree with them. We work together to build a county we call ALL be proud of.

In the mean time, I suggest to you all (as was suggested to me), that you get involved in your communities. So of you already do this, especially if you are into community theatre, fantastic. But now is the time go beyond that. Start volunteering at places you have never offered help. Be a friend. Read to children. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Knit blankets for the homeless. Give your day old bagel sto someone who is hungry. Let's help each other build a new world. I want my nieces (Alicia, Alexis, Wendy, and Daphne; and my nephew Brent) to have a world worth inheriting. Teach respect and honour.

Also, a point I need to make, its okay to feel sad, angry, betrayed, hurt, lost, or even joyous, but DON'T ever make someone feel less than a person for their choices. Also, don't think that because people act one way doesn't mean they don't deserve respect. Everyone handles stress in different ways. Crying is more than okay. Voicing your opinion is also more than okay, it is necessary. Never make a person feel less than their worth, and if you do say something, remember you can always apologize and meet someone halfway. Sometimes its hard for people to communicate, maybe you need to take that first step. It isn't easy, but I am now convinced that it is possible. If my mentor can come between a thug and a scared woman while at a convention (when he was sick), then I think we, as a people, can can together to help. I plan to do better, and be better.  I support my friends and family, but I also know that sometimes I need to step back and gather myself, take care of me.

I have done a lot of gathering this past year and I am finally loving myself, writing for myself, and starting to make my own dreams come true. Building my own mythology. Building something better, outside of myself. Pay it forward. Make good art! Spread the love!

Remember, "United we Stand, Divided we Fall!"

Also remember, I see you. I believe in you. I love you!!

Thank you for your time. Just a little something I needed to get off my chest.

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Day 31 - Journey To... (Pantoum)

Yesterday's prompt couldn't be more perfect for the end of OctPoWriMo. I didn't write yesterday. It was because of bit of a distraction or two of sorts. First, I had to finish watching Stranger Things, and I had to close out OctPoWriMo in the right way. It just took a day longer to find that way. What could be more appropriate to closing out a month of poetry than writing about things eternal and eternity.

I have talked about universe through this month, both the micro and the macro. Universes are things that surround, make up part of us and the things, people around us. I am the whole of the things around me. I am made up of universes, and am part of universes.

Today's poem is my closure on the month, but also a closure of the last year. See, this time last year, my now  ex-husband and I parted ways. A mutual choice as we both were going to different directions. It was a very hard Halloween weekend 2015. It was like being in a tunnel. Now a year later I am single, living in a new apartment, selling the house I shared with him since late 2009, and starting to find me again. I have been finding me along this path, every turn, every stop sigh, every moment I am finding out who I am. Halloween week/weekend 2016 finds  me stronger and facing my fears. It was a wonderful week. I have learned to move on. I am okay with being single, and am now (NOT) afraid to seek that which I want, even if it doesn't work out. I am coming out of the tunnel. 

from MorgueFile

Terminus is a place that is the end of the line, by the definition. But for me, Terminus is a end that leads to a beginning. I have my Terminus is my head and an actually place. It is a place of healing. I went there when I thought my aunt was dying. Thankfully she isn't. I understand why she was scared. We sometime  need to be scared, or  angry, are lost, because when we are found we realize that that fear made us stronger. 

from MorgueFile

Today's poem is dedicated to three people, these are people who brought about my joy this weekend, and beyond. First is my mentor and friend, James. Although he lives across the county, he has given me the strength to building y mythology, to tell my  stories, and to speak my truth (am a work in progress), Next is my best friend, Sara, unconditional is her love, as is her last name. She picks on me, but she encourages me. She listens and offers advise when asked. She pushed me to try harder, test the waters, and to not be afraid. Third is Cale, because sometimes it just is. Thank you for being an awesome friend! 

Thank you all! 

Truthfully I could go on. There are others to thank, but those three are the reason I am standing at the Light at the End of the Tunnel, staring at eternity, and finally seeing what I should have known long before now, but am seeing it with a fresh light.

Dear Readers, thank you for taking part in my flights of fancy and unorganized fall into chaos of the truth.


Prompt: Eternal; Word prompts: Light at the End of the Tunnel, Eternity

Journey To...

When at Terminus, do you know
to fall to your knees is supplemation,
singing loudly of the praises
that brought you here to rest?

To fall to your knees in supplemation
after through the tunnel which you have traveled
that brought you here to rest,
within the light at the end of of it all.

After through the tunnel which you have traveled--
a journey of lifetimes
within the light at the end of it all,
you see how much stronger you became.

A journey of lifetimes
brought you to the beach
you see how much stronger you became,
when faced with such demons.

Brought you to the beach,
at Terminus' head to eternity's shores
when  faced with such demons
when faced with such feats.

At Terminus' head to eternity's shores
you find your heart is more whole 
when faced with such feats,
that you're not as afraid as you once thought.

You find your heart is more whole
when at Terminus. Do you know
that you're not as afraid as you once thought--
singing loudly of the praises. 


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Day 28, 29, and 30: Poetry Slam (Poetry Trifecta)

Dear Readers, I have three poems to present to you. Why? Well, I got caught up in life and car repairs that take longer than planned. C'est la vie, then? I used all of the prompts in some way, although not all of the poetic form suggested. I really like a challenge, but this month has had its own challenges that I have faced. 

In a return to my theme of universes, I pulled from places that are like my own little universes, or pulled from my own internal universes. I'll let the poems speak for themselves. 

My question for you, Dear Readers, what universes exist for you? How do they work? What places-internal and external- are your haven, or healing places? Leave me a comment below.


from MorgueFile

Prompt: sea shells; Word Prompts: beach, ocean, shell, coast

Upon

Upon the sandy shores,
rocky too
the lakeside shores
where beginning meets the end,
forgotten,
like broken bottle turned to gem stones
and the discarded homes of lake life,
sea shells and beach glass
at home in Terminus.

Prompt: upside down; Word prompts: topsy turvy, vice versa, contrary, unhinged, muddled; Poetic form: Acrostic

Universal Within

Under the water, topsy turvy
Pressure building around the
Silence encasing me.
Inside, I am lost, contrary
Delveloping a complex, I guess
Even though I feel weak, life is

Daring me to try harder
Of the fears that have
Within and without--
Never will submit to being unhinged any longer.

Prompt: simplicity; Poetic form: Haiku

Simple Haiku

Nary a moment
that the universe won't speak--
just listen won't you.




Thursday, October 27, 2016

Day 27: Ashes to Earth (Ghazal)

Word Prompts: spice, essence, tangy, putrid, earthy; Poetic Form: Ghazal

Think fall and that is what I wrote about today. Just some of the simple pleasures that come with the autumnal bliss. Enjoy, Dear Readers!


from MorgueFile
Ashes to Earth

Ashes to earth, the loamy earth calling,
With aromas of earth and sky calling.

Songs of musky damp leaves that mottle the landscape,
Or the distant warmth cooking of apple cider calling.

What do you know of the autumnal wastes,
As the world slowly dies, is still calling.

With spicy cinnamon or tangy pumpkin,
Nestled within all thing edible and calling.

What do you think of this season of diminishing,
Both beautiful and desecrated calling.