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Resilient

30 Dec

“The un-concealing of something we never imagined …” — Pete Rollins

Quote of the year.

I think that’s what Jyn Erso was thinking when she set out on that Rogue One journey.

Yup.

Most definitely.

I mean Darth Vader in charge of the Universe?

Definitely sounds like the dark path ahead.

Definitely freaking everyone out right now, definitely freaked everyone out in the Star Wars Galaxy. So they banded together, a motley crew indeed, of The Goonies proportions. A blind guy, with awesome ninja skills and a powerful sidekick, who believed in the power of The Force. A pilot who realized he was on the wrong side and decided to do the right thing and join The Resistance, a reprogrammed android who is surprisingly hilarious throughout the entire movie reminding us that we need laughter during strife, and an Intelligence Officer who served in the Alliance and chose to believe in Jyn, to believe in a cause bigger than him.

In time of conflict, ordinary people choose to do extraordinary things and in doing so create hope for the future. Even though they died, hope and resilience rose from a Darth Vader cloak of tyranny. Their idea for a better future endured. I mean all you need is an idea … and some ninja skills.

I mean look at Luke and Leia Skywalker for crying out loud. Princess Leia … what a great character. Rest In Peace.

We’re sure to have some Skywalker type of people in 2017. Some Jyn and Captain Cassian leaders out there who fight the good fight, head the resistance. and continue being a beacon of hope, continue being resilient.

Resilient. Something needed for 2017. Definitely need to endure. Hope is resilient.

on-the-beach-rogue-one

I saw this awesome poster by my house … it definitely seemed fitting for the challenge.      TM & Lucasfilm LTD

 

“Rebellions are built on hope.” — Jyn Erso

 

 

Resilient Challenge Courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

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The Buen Camino Moment

30 Nov

Hector and The Search for Happiness

I remember seeing the signs for the movie at the local Laemmle, but I never bought a ticket. After watching it on Netflix, I wish I would have … it was another Buen Camino feeling.

And you know, as I discover these stories, I find that I enjoy the journeys, the physical journeys across landscapes that end up creating meaningful adventures that help transformation.

From England to Shanghai to Tibet to Africa to California and then back to England. He asks many important questions along the way and learns  a a dozen or so lessons when his journey comes to an end. Watching his growth as he finds some answers left me with that feel-good feeling, reminded me of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

I enjoyed the reminders along the way, I enjoyed the inspiration that left me feeling good on a night where I would otherwise feel a little crappy.

Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.

Many people only see happiness in their future.

Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness.

Happiness is answering your calling.

Happiness is being loved for who you are.

Happiness is Sweet Potato Stew.

Happiness … If you want it, take it.

Happiness is feeling completely alive.

Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.

Listening is loving.

Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

The fact that I shared these doesn’t spoil the movie, the lessons, or the journey. I just hope it would peak your interest so that you could get your own A-HA moments. The best moment for me, other than the moment when Hector has his breakthrough in that isolation booth toward the end of the movie, was a conversation he had earlier, the one in Tibet.

“You’ve been through so much, how is it that you’re happy?” Hector asks.

“Because I’ve been through so much,” the monk responds.

And there it was … my Buen Camino moment.

Feeling good on a night that could have taken a wrong turn.

 

 

Great Scott!!!

21 Oct

It’s not just a normal Wednesday.

I mean I’m sure 9 a.m. might of looked and felt the same. I’m sure there were milestone birthdays being celebrated at Morton’s Steakhouse, but the nerd in me was excited for a completely different reason.

1.21 Gigawatts.

Yeah … Today was the day that the male version of myself, Marty McFly, and Doc Brown blasted Huey Lewis & The News and went Back To The Future. If you have no idea what a DeLorean is … then this might not be the post for you.

For the rest of who grew up in the Walkman era and phones with mile-long twisty-turny chords then you know the beauty of the this movie. the importance of the time-space continuum and the whoa-factor to this date. October 21, 2015 was the day that Marty and Doc  went back. This is the day when hoverboards, flying cars, and shoes that tied themselves were supposed to exist. The Cubs were supposed to win The Series. It was supposed to be The Jetsons Era.

The fact that it’s 2015 and most of the predictions have yet to happen just goes to show you that Zemeckis and Spielberg’s imagination gave us too much credit. But all the cool gadgets and futuristic innovations that we were supposed to exists wasn’t what drew me to the movie.

Nope.

I wanted to see what happened next.

I wanted to find out what was up with Marty.

The first movie was such a great story about how friendship and a moment of courage changes your life. You know I was going to tune in to see Part II. And that was a story, within a story, within a story. It was a cool concept for me. I wondered what I would see in 2015. I wondered where I’d be and what I’d be doing on that day. It was so far ahead I couldn’t imagine it, I couldn’t even picture it, but I knew I’d be something and be doing something with my life. Something futuristic, something cool I imagined.

The day came and went.No hoverboards, no hydrogen-powered cars, no shoes that tied themselves. Not even a visit to the Sharper Image Store. Nope. Nothing cool about fighting an ear infection.

So even though today wasn’t what I thought it would be, I still enjoyed Marty’s time travels. I watched those flicks again, trying to remember where I thought I would be in 2015, trying to get that feeling back. Remembering the theater and the popcorn and the people I went to see it with, I ended up going back in time myself, and the night ended on a good vibe.

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Failure Happens More Than Once But You Still Recover … Just Ask Meg Ryan

2 Oct

I’ve always been scared of it, but realized now that I’m 40, I’ve reached the top level. Yup I’m close to Jedi Status on this one, but seeing how I still have blow ups and meltdowns, I can’t say I’ve reached the elite Zen level.

But I’m close.

I’ve become really close with it, my twenties and thirties were definitely times where failure and I became bosom buddies. And the truth is I hated failing. I didn’t look forward to that experience, or toward searching through the pain and heartache to learn the lesson that was hiding. No one does, really.

Failure is a hard thing to come back from, but I’ve realized I do a good job of it.

Relationships, family bonds, friendships, job interviews, career breaks, story writing, novel writing, article writing … I’ve had failure on every level, the most epic being parent failure as I feel that no matter how hard I try I seem to always fall short to some degree. There’s always some variation of failure staring at me by Friday night.

But the thing is I’ve learned to always get up and I don’t know if it stems from all the experience, or if it’s an inherent quality in my underdog mentality, but I first noticed it back in college when I saw a Meg Ryan flick.

Now, I don’t know if most of you are aware of Meg Ryan, but she was my 90s girl with films like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and City of Angels. She took over where Molly Ringwald left off

She was my go-to chick flick, and it was because of her that I first realized … anything can go wrong. Anything and everything. It can, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for something like that.

I was reminded of this just recently when I saw my favorite Meg Ryan movie for like the thousandth time. French Kiss.

The thing is, I don’t think it was a blockbuster or made millions, in fact some people probably hated it. But for me it was such a great movie. It highlighted the fact that failure happens, even when you do everything right, it will happen to you. It will. Somewhere on your timeline failure will hit you and it’ll feel like you can’t breathe, that you can’t get up because the air has been knocked out of you, that the humiliation, embarrassment, anger, hurt, or sadness of it all won’t let you. The weight will be heavy.

Sometimes failure won’t hit you all at once, it’s peppered throughout a decade, other times it will all hit you in a week.

No matter how great a person you are, you will have a relationship that will fail and leave you listening to 80s love songs. You will break your straight A streak with a C+ in statistics and find yourself eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s just to get through it. You will be replaceable in a job where you thought you would never be forgotten. You will not get the job after that kickass interview. You will fall down, even when someone is not trying to trip you.

Yup I think Meg’s the reason why I realized I could get back up. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the story is about a woman who has her white-picket fence dream fall apart when her fiance leaves her, and she ends up flying to France to confront him. The story follows the physical and emotional adventure that happens because of this choice.

But best of all the film shows you someone whose world falls apart, the big things come crashing down, and then on top of that, the little things follow that same route. Failure rains down. It did on her and it does on us.

But she doesn’t give up.

Failure happened, it tore her apart and left her crying in some strange country but she kept going. She woke up and she kept going. Failure didn’t kill her, although it might have felt that way, but it didn’t. She got up and she kept trying.

I love watching this movie just to get that feeling, that sense that … dude you can get up after failure. You can and you should, because it’s probably going to happen again and you need to be standing when it does. The recovery is easier.  But you still recover if you’re on the floor, just takes a little bit longer.

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Finding The Moments While You’re Under Construction

11 Oct

Enjoy the lifelong project of building a self, because it is the prospect of a fulfilled self that brings satisfaction even in the face of resistance, obstacles and setbacks — Deepak Chopra

 

Dude I am so trying.

And I’ve realized during the process that I’ve had moments of happiness that sustained me through pretty crappy times. Granted most of those moments come from races, stay-cations, Bucket List items, Sandbox List Adventures with my kids, and flying my freak flag whenever possible. But I’ve learned that food and movies definitely play a special place in this lifelong project.

I love the feel-good or Holy Crap moments that stay with me during a movie or show. I like that they produce pockets of happiness in my life. Most recently I had one of these moments while watch Jon Favreau’s latest film Chef. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about a guy’s journey to finding his happiness again after some crazy blowout with a food critic.

I mean … disaster strikes.

But he manages to find something small and then builds. Eventually his prospect of being fulfilled is realized, and I loved that fact that food was part of the journey. I mean when don’t I right.

Dude.

They had some inspiring dishes that made me want to travel through the US on a culinary adventure. But that’s the good thing about food, you don’t even have to leave your kitchen to travel, you can do it through the amazing dishes you prepare.

 

 

If you’re a Favreau and Leguizamo fan then this is the movie for you. Robert Downey Jr. even makes a small appearance in it and he’s amazing. I liked almost everyone in the film, except the leading lady. I’m not a fan of Vergara at all and almost didn’t watch the movie because I realized she was in it, but my love for Favreau overpowered any dislike I could have for that woman.

And I was glad it did.

I was able to find a pocket of happiness toward the end of the movie when Favreau sees his son’s film project about their journey. It was a small and touching moment and sometimes that’s all you need … something small when your life is undergoing construction.

 

 

O Captain, My Captain … Rest In Peace

11 Aug

I first saw him in a red jump suit with a silver triangle on Happy Days. I was watching it with my uncle Erick.

And he cracked me up. He was unconventional.

Then I grew up watching him as Mork from Ork.

He flew his freak flag, made me laugh, and warmed my heart. He encouraged me to let my wackiness out, I thought if he’s comfortable like that why not. If he’s out there, like a lightning bolt, on the edge, feeling every bit of life through his comedic genius, dude so can I.

I can let my awesome out.

I was a fan. Most definitely. So was my Dad.

 

The first movie we saw was a classic. Something that we always enjoyed watching. Something that encouraged spirit.

 

“Goooooooooooooooooooood Morning VIETNAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!”

 

It’s still something that resonates spirit. Something that first opened my eyes to war, and that you can even have a bit of comedy in such a serious subject matter. He did that well, teaching lessons through dramas, but always using comedy to help it along a bit.

 

Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out! — Dead Poet’s Society

 

My Dad and I connected through his movies, whether they were comedies or dramas. We enjoyed watching him and bonding over laughs and awesome lines. We enjoyed his exuberance and his I’m-out-here kind of comedy. One of the best movies that I often watch to get me out of a funk is the Bird Cage, guaranteed laughs, and guaranteed cured for crappy moods. I so wish I would have been able to meet him and thank him for the endless laughs he gave me and his warm heart. I only got to know him through his works. but I was grateful for at least that.

 

“Laughter enhances the blood flow to the body’s extremities and improves cardiovascular function. Laughter releases endorphins and other natural mood elevating and pain-killing chemicals, improves the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to internal organs.
Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease, cancer cells as well as viral, bacterial and other infections. Being happy is the best cure of all diseases.” — Patch Adams

 

My Dad could watch this guy and crack up at his improvisation skills and his quick wit. But we both agreed, he was so much more than just comedy, and we knew it. He was of life lessons, and out there with his personal struggles and his triumphs. He was definitely inspiring for those who didn’t fit the mold, for those who were excited about life and showed it no matter where you were. My Dad would have definitely been sad about his passing. He knew well what it was like to live with depression. My Dad dealt with it for over a decade, and would have probably rooted for Robin to get through it. It’s a disease that wears on your spirit and soul. My Dad struggled with it daily and I witnessed it and tried my best to help him feel loved and help him find laughter when all he could see was darkness.

It’s tough when someone so amazingly funny and passionate for comedy dies.

I’m saddened about Robin’s death, and even more so because it made me think of my Dad and all the times we hung out watching movies and re-runs of his movies. But I was also glad that Williams was part of my life growing up, making me smile and crack up. His interviews and stand-up often reminded me to just let your freak flag fly, go off course, live with passion, and let the awesomeness shine through.

I was glad that I shared many TV memories with my Dad and my uncle Erick, whose favorite line was “Nanu, Nanu.” But as always watching him on the big screen and laughing out loud will be something I will miss.

 

You don’t know about real loss because it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” — Good Will Hunting

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

30 Jul
Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

 

As soon as I heard that this week’s challenge was “Summer Loving” this was the first image that came to mind. I know it’s technically not a photo but the image definitely captures a priceless moment.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post.

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure: A Different Perspective

7 Feb

These tiny pieces of plastic have dominated my home in form of skyscrapers, superheroes, fire engines, policemen, airplanes, miniature villages, tiny people with their own adventures, books, stickers, games, calendars, and the mecca … LEGOLAND itself.

But this … this was something he hadn’t seen before so the excitement was building.

It was his many stories … his imagination coming to life on the big screen and he wanted to see it. He wanted to experience it. He wanted to see what someone had created with the very same LEGOS he plays with everyday. He wanted to see someone’s story. He wanted to see what they came up with … he wanted to compare stories … he wanted to get ideas. He wanted to go on another LEGO adventure. A big one.

The LEGO Movie.

I’d been hearing about it for weeks.

Weeks.

The countdown had been on.

And the day was finally here, but seeing how this was The LEGO Movie I figure I’d step it up a notch.

In all my years of movie-watching I’d never experienced the 3D version of anything, neither has my son or daughter. So I figured we’d go big on this LEGO Movie and pack in as much LEGO love as possible. Seeing LEGOS in a different perspective was pretty awesome for all of us. I recommend it. It was a great story of a “… ‘Nobody’ who saved everybody.” I’d give you a full review of the movie, but figured I didn’t want to ruin the magic for those of you who hadn’t seen it. And if you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you take your own kindergarteners on this Sandbox List Adventure. They’ll thank you for it.

 

The poster we passed on a weekly basis that reminded me when this adventure would debut.

The poster we passed on a weekly basis that reminded me when this adventure would debut.

 

Dude. I thought finding parking in front of the theater was awesome ... I can't tell you how Guatacular this sight was ... no line. I prepared myself for an onslaught of elementary school kids ... so glad we got the matinee right after school.

Dude. I thought finding parking in front of the theater was awesome … I can’t tell you how Guatacular this sight was … no line. I prepared myself for an onslaught of elementary school kids and massive lines … so glad we got the matinee right after school.

 

Hanging out in the lobby meeting one of the co- stars.

Hanging out in the lobby meeting one of the co- stars.

 

My daughter was pretty fond of the female lead, and I gotta say so was I. Lucy rocked.

My daughter was pretty fond of the female lead, and I gotta say so was I. Lucy rocked.

 

Our first 3D glasses, but probably not our last.

Our first 3D glasses, but probably not our last.

 

One of the best views of my day ... my kids enjoying every minute.

One of the best views of my day … my kids enjoying every minute … complete with popcorn.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

18 Jun

 

Real Women Have Curves -- The Factory Scene.

Real Women Have Curves — The Factory Scene

 

“Pretty dresses aren’t just for skinny girls.”

“This is who we are mama … REAL women.”

Real Women Have Curves.

 

Thanks HBO For a Refresher on My Eastwood Education

17 Jun

It’s been almost three years since my dad passed away and Father’s Day is still a tough one for me. I usually get through it by watching stuff like Frequency, Juno, October Sky, Little Miss Sunshine, or if I’m feeling emotional My Life with Michael Keaton. But this Father’s Day I hung out with Clint Eastwood, which seemed pretty appropriate seeing how my dad was a huge fan.

HBO made this encounter possible.

I used to be high-rolling it and got HBO regularly, but seeing how I’m a starving writer, I had to cut down with expenses and just get the bare essentials. But this weekend FREE came back into my life and it was pretty sweet. I like free. Me and free get along pretty well when there’s no strings attached. We got the free HBO trial this weekend. It must have been a sign. My dad was working his magic behind the scenes.

So I didn’t argue, I got some Ghirardelli and parked myself on the couch and watched Trouble With The Curve. Now I had to wait until 11 p.m. to watch it, you know, during the real quiet of the night so that I would not get disturbed with questions about food, diapers, parking spots or toys. I wanted to be present — in the moment –hanging out with my dad, in a way.  And that usually can’t happen when crazy is happening here. So I waited and it was worth it. I like baseball and I like Eastwood.

 

 

All I could think of was what my dad would say during the movie. He was big on color commentating during a film, play-by-play and replays too. I imagine I’d get frustrated with all the questions and pauses but it was our routine. I enjoyed Eastwood’s funny one-liners in his gritty voice. I’d bust out a loud HA-HA crack me up laugh. And my dad would shake his head at my exaggerations and smile. Then he’d probably have a cup of coffee, while I drank some tea.

In truth I wasn’t always a Clint Eastwood fan, wasn’t too thrilled with his whole macho man western type of movie. But my for some reason my dad was like any father, he wanted to share his wisdom with me. My dad began his quest to educate me on Eastwood in 1992. He formally introduced me to Eastwood with Unforgiven. He’d have to bribe me with popcorn, gummy bears, sour patch candy, or chocolate to check out these films. I’d reluctantly go see the movie, but enjoyed the treats.

It wasn’t until my college years that I fully appreciated the Eastwood education and all the times I’d just hang out with my dad in front of the VCR, you know when people had VCRs and memberships to Blockbuster.

So I found it appropriate that I’d see one of his films Sunday and do my best to remember him and our conversations. Thanks HBO for my Eastwood Education Refresher Course.