Monday, January 16, 2017

Movie Review: Hidden Figures

Movie:  Hidden Figures
Date:  Jan 7, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5

The second film movie of 2017 was a definite hit for me.

This is a late review however so a lot of details I might have included before or somewhere in the ethos of my mind. 

However I do remember enough of the 'feels' I got from this movie to know that I would definitely recommend it.  So first off what's the story?

Hidden Figures is based on the untold true story of three African American women.  These women worked during the time of Jim Crow and were ef'n brilliant.  Imagine to be as intelligent as they were in a time when it was accepted you were second class citizens and not afforded the same opportunities, furthermore to be women.  It's painful to think that even today that statement is applicable.  

I believe it's important to note that the film is based on the book of the same name.  I haven't read the book but I'm curious about the differences so at some point I may take a gander to see where Hollywood might of glossed over or condensed the story for the sake of entertainment and time such as grouping all three together, making them friends seeing as each went on to do something very note worthy by being the first "...  ..." 

In going to see this movie we made it a 'girl's night' so I had mi madres, sister, and niece.  I really wanted my niece to walk away empowered from it but I think the adults were reeling as well.  What I loved most about this film was seeing these three women working together, balancing their aspirations with the challenges of being a working colored woman with a family in a white male dominated climate.  And it wasn't just flack they got from the white men and white women but also from their own families.

That level of defying the impossibility of it all was moving.  It was motivating.  And I was happy for it.  I kept worrying that something was going to steal my joy when it came to this film but I think regardless the message was there.  As art is meant to inspire.  I feel like the movies I seen so far this year have managed that. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Day 4 - They Arrived

First it was the kids. Loud and disruptive. Moody and energetic. Bouncing then still for one collective moment. They all just stopped.

Adults thought it was kids just being kids. But there were some that knew it was odd. At the time, and what I know now of those that knew, they were the brave ones.

The brave ones were killed yesterday.

And today they descended.

I am not a brave one.

But I may be the last one.


Monday, January 2, 2017

"LA LA LAND" - Movie Review

Movie:  La La Land
Date:  Jan 1, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5

The first movie of 2017 that will hopefully set the tone for the rest of year for me was "La La Land".

Both written and directed by Damien Chazelle.  After seeing "La La Land" I'm definitely interested in checking out his previous film "Whiplash". 

In a nutshell "La La Land" tells the story of struggling actress / playwright Mia and traditionalist jazz musician Sebastian both trying to make it in LA.  Mia dreams of being on the big screen and Sebastian dreams of owning his own jazz club.  And from the very beginning, with the opening dance number, you get a feel for both the collision of dreaming and reality. 

Without getting so heavy into the plot what I liked about the film was the old Hollywood feel in a modern setting.  The pull and understanding of these two dreamers, passionate about their crafts, and the struggles they face in trying to make it.  I loved the signature song that belongs to both Mia and Sebastian.  The whimsical nature of the cinematography.  If I were to sum this movie up in one word I'd say 'magical'.  It's present all the way up until the very end when the audience is treated to a special montage and a shared smile. 

I was struck by two thoughts - one was that whenever there was something that pulled me out of the movie (because it did happen) I was just as quickly sucked back in.  Also I think I might have realized I am a fan of music in movies, prior to watching this I was a bit skeptical noticing I typically accept my music in an animated film but when I think of my history with music in non animated films it seems pretty non existent.  However I could a good thing if you can walk away from a movie with it still on your mind, melodies still drifting in your head, and the desire to relive the experience again. 

If I were to pluck a couple songs worth listening to from this film I'd recommend the following at the very least:
1. Mia's Audition -
2. Epilogue -

But there are definitely others I'd like, to the point I'm sure I'll pick up the soundtrack.  Also the film met my expectation in that I hoped to walk away inspired.  Watching the film constantly reminded me of my current WIP and it also provided me with an additional with wanting to pick up piano lessons again.  And maybe even see about finally learning to tap dance.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Official 2017 Resolution/Goal/Intention Post

This year my resolutions/goal feels more robust.  And in some ways they are.  This morning at service was the intention ceremony, this was my first time participating in one since I've only been coming to SEC since last summer.  Before I left this morning I had rattled out some things mentally I wanted to be on my list and by the time I wrote them down it had grown.  And even those that I wrote down and submitted into the prayer box has since grown to a few more things that I forgot. 

There are some non specific/non measurable intentions such as:  asking for guidance in reaching the final version of Montgomery's Diary (which to me includes allowing others to read it and being open to the ideas that come to me), loving more, laughing more, and in my head (since I forgot to write it down) - forgiving more.  I also wrote down an intent to be at peace more in all matters.  I'd say that was more of the important ones I've been striving with for the last two years. 

In regards to my goals/resolutions, the things which are measurable, here is how that shaped out:

1.  Completion of the third draft of "Montgomery's Diary"
2.  Completion of the fourth draft of "Montgomery's Diary" (since I'm sure there will be one)
* I should note that in between 1-2 there's the task of BETA and revisions
3.  Write the first draft of "Redemption"
4.  Write 500 words per day
5.  Blog once a week (going for an over 80% success rate)
6.  Write 10 short stories
7.  Complete read through of "The Three Year War"
8.  Complete read through of "The Magician's Order"
9.  Publish Montgomery's Diary [and provide/give copies to friends & coworkers]
10.  Participate in retreat (preferably a writing one)
11.  Swim in Thailand (here's to making a trip back to Thailand this year)
12.  Travel to two new places
13.  Read 45 books
14.  Learn something new
15.  Watch 20 films (of which 5 should be documentaries)
16.  Complete a weekend writing challenge (15k)
17.  Add 10k to an open project (i.e. Year Two, Justice, The Last Stop, Forever Young, etc...)
18.  Save (pay yourself first) a minimum of $10 or 5% per pay period
19.  Reduce debt - pay off 3 of the 8 store/credit cards (preferably Cap1 and WM)
20.  Complete a house project (i.e. flooring for one room, garden for spring, organize office, etc)

So lastly one thing I had thought to put on here but decided not to make it one was "Daily deep breaths / find a moment of gratitude and be thankful for ..." I like to think that in my effort to blog more and write daily, especially with using my LJ that I will do this there.  And typically whenever I stop to pause I try to remember to take a deep breath, relax, be still, and be present.  Which is hard to do when you have so many things flying around in your head. 

However that said I do believe I need to fold the last load of laundry, finish a scarf, and working on my daily 500.  I'm hoping to use tomorrow to work on my "Dear 2016" letter.

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Resolution Year End Update

It's been a while since I've updated.  Per usual I'm going to try to start off on a good track next year and see it through by hopefully updating this more often.

However I think I did pretty darn good at accomplishing many of my goals this year and before I do my year end letter to 2016 and post my 2017 resolutions here's exactly how I did: 

1. Complete the revision for another novel (TYW or OTTM/TMO) - Nope :(
2. Complete the first draft for an open project (i.e. the revenge deity story, faux immortality story, porch story, or mistress for hire)
3. Aim for 10 - 15k / per month (daily goal will be 500) - Not sure I succeeded here either -_-
4. Pay off 2 additional debts (most likely two credit cards) - - COMPLETE - Chase & PricelineRV
5. Self publish a work  - Nope... but I do have a cover now
6. Write 15 short stories - Nope but did write 3
- My Dedicated Valentine
- Dark Lies
- I1 - The Feeding
7. Visit/travel to a new place - Yep, visited Syracuse/Clinton, NY
8. Learn something new (tap class, 10 Mandarin character/per mth, or ...) - Well I technically learned how to skate until I took a bad fall -_- ... so sort of on this one
9. Read 40 books - In Progress... 41 read so far
10. Watch 10 new movies (half while still in theaters) -So done it's overcooked ^_^ - This year I watched "The Peanuts Movie", "The Fifth Wave"', "How to be Single", "Deadpool", "London Has Fallen", "10 Cloverfield Lane", "Miracles From Heaven", "and "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (twice), "The Jungle Book", "The Boss", "The Barbershop", "Captain American: The Civil War", "The Darkness", "X-Men Apocalypse", "Me Before You", "TMNT: Out of the Shadows", "Finding Dori", "Independence Day", and some others... "Ghostbusters", "Now You See Me 2", "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates", "Ben Hur", "Pete's Dragon", "Suicide Squad", "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children", "A Madea Halloween","This Christmas", "Dr. Strange", "Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them", "Rogue One", "Collateral Beauty", "Passengers",  and"Moana",  and I think that's it....

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The July Post

So not even ten minutes ago I was folding laundry and running through the mental to do list also known as 'you're slacking...' when I was thinking about the short stories I've written for the year which hasn't been a lot.  I'm behind but what struck me, what made me stop folding and return to my laptop was that I could only remember one short story. 

Why does it matter?  Because I've literally only written 3-4 short stories this year and I could only remember the one however I wrote like 14 last year and could remember just about every one of those.  Even the ones I didn't like that much.  So I thought 'they must not have been memorable'...I mean surely I should remember what I've written this year even amongst the finished drafts.  So I stopped folding to look them up and in re-reading them realized I hadn't made a July update. 

1. Complete the revision for another novel (TYW or OTTM/TMO) - In Progress... Sort of
2. Complete the first draft for an open project (i.e. the revenge deity story, faux immortality story, porch story, or mistress for hire)
3. Aim for 10 - 15k / per month (daily goal will be 500) - In Progress
4. Pay off 2 additional debts (most likely two credit cards) - - COMPLETE - Chase & PricelineRV
5. Self publish a work  - In Progress... 
6. Write 15 short stories - 3 so far
- My Dedicated Valentine
- Dark Lies
- I1 - The Feeding
7. Visit/travel to a new place
8. Learn something new (tap class, 10 Mandarin character/per mth, or ...) - In Progress...
9. Read 40 books - In Progress... 23 of 40 so far
10. Watch 10 new movies (half while still in theaters) - DONE!  It's been a movie watching sort of year.  I've seen - "The Peanuts Movie", "The Fifth Wave"', "How to be Single", "Deadpool", "London Has Fallen", "10 Cloverfield Lane", "Miracles From Heaven", "and "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (twice), "The Jungle Book", "The Boss", "The Barbershop", "Captain American: The Civil War", "The Darkness", "X-Men Apocalypse", "Me Before You", "TMNT: Out of the Shadows", "Finding Dori", "Independence Day"

Seen so many movies this year -_-

And now that I've satisfied that urge I shall return to laundry, the mental slacking run down, problem solve for MD, and figure out my next SS.  Fun times!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Short Story - Interpretation #1 of "The Feeding"

This is the first of a handful of short stories inspired by the following piece-

Word Count:  620

Already the child had acclimated.  The human smell prominent the moment she neared the threshold of the nursery.  A window was open.  Carrying the scent of lavender to rest the wicked and death to comfort the dark. 

Already the price had been paid.  Countless were the minutes she’d spent masquerading around the elaborate costume party.  Numerous were the days she’d spent plotting this moment.  Undetermined were the amount of years she’d regret her decision.  Anonymous, the baby remained.

                Already she’d arrived too late.  The surrogate mother collapsed near the door, blocking her from expanding further.  Still the party carried on downstairs.  The child, the dying human, the party, the smells, oh the smell of it all had the power to intimidate.  To cause one to shrink into their doubts.  To hide from the reality of what was happening and how there had never been an option to simply turn back around. 

                Already she’d come too far.  She, the masked visitor, would not be so easily deterred.  Pushing against the door.  The crrrreak of its rusted hinge.  The ‘ughhh’ of a ghost not yet ready to be dead.  The adorable slurp of a nursing child.  Its sing song coo that followed as it drained the life of the only mother it’d ever known.  Could the child still be regarded as innocent as it took what was given? 

                Already the Risen sent out their echo.  The trees vibrated with its sound.  The masked visitor noticing the bounce of the streetlight from the window.  The signal was sturdy.  The night mischievous.  There would be no confusion with the urgency in the message.  The echo was a confirmation.  It was a warning.  The Risen knew.

                Already the child crawled.  The partial slump of the human mother collapsing forward.  Was she reaching for the crawling baby?  The baby, so small, yet so advanced made its way to the window.  Too small to understand the draw of the echo, too ignorant to recognize it signaled its death.  The masked visitor observed the baby, now faced with it, unsure of what to feel.  Had she made the right decision in her participation?  Had she chosen correctly in adhering to the plans of the Risen?  There was no shortage of Underworld sects and yet she’d followed the path with the least options. 

                Already the echo grew in strength.  It wouldn’t be much longer she could bare to ignore it.  She watched as the small child, the baby, attempted to stand.  So small she thought.  She saw.  So small, again, she noted.  She would not be strayed.  No tender smile perked her face.  No sting graced a tear.  No beat her cold heart missed. 


                “Come, come, my child,” the masked visitor whispered, “come, come my child,” she edged louder.  “Come, come,” she sang to drown out the echo.  “Come, come, my darling.”

                Already the child was entranced.  Paused from its earlier plight and now facing the masked visitor.  So small once more.  She began to make her way to the child.  In turn the child, unable to ignore the call, was drawn to her.  The child smiled.  Drool at the corners of its blood stained lips.  The masked visitor adjusted her head piece, pulling down the arms of her dress, bearing more skin, enticing the marked child with the ripe flesh it craved.  She stepped forward when her dress was caught. 

                “Please,” the ghost said clutching the hem.  “Please don’t.” 

                Already too much time had collapsed.  The baby, now at the hem of her dress, pulled upright.  The masked visitor reached down for it.  The music downstairs suddenly gone.  The lavender candles blown out.  The darkness no longer comforted.  The Risen had arrived too late. 

                Already the feeding had ended.