Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Five.....Follow Up!


Two weeks ago, I mentioned five things going on in my life. Nothing very interesting, mind you, but five things nonetheless. I thought it might be even more (or, possibly, less) interesting to follow up and let you know how things turned out.

1. The job search still goes on. I've sent in a few applications....one, believe it or not, for a weekly food critic column and the other for a county clerk assistant. Again, I'm still very thankful that I'm in a position to be able to be choosy on this front. I haven't heard anything back from either (and not really expecting to), so the quest continues.

2. It's been over a month since I've had any red meat and I'm not craving it in the slightest. The lack of dairy hasn't been missed, either.....besides my cream cheese dip. The non-dairy version just doesn't cut it. I guess because we never really tried much of it, I'm really enjoying sticking with fish for the moment. Salmon, cod, grouper, talapia....all very yummy stuff. I've also lost about nine pounds, which is always a plus. Or a "minus", depending on literally you look at it.

3. Scrutinizing our eating habits has led to more exercise. More walking as well as working on the Total Body machine has me feeling more energized that I've felt in months. I picked up a Fitbit to monitor my walking so, if you're using one too, add me there if you want. The Fitbit links up nicely with MyFitnessPal, so you can find me there, as well, if you're looking for more friends. I also went out and bought some kettlebells. Trust me, the exercises with them have been a lot harder than they look. I only did the three shown below and am so sore, it's not even funny.  Wow...




4. The visit from my mom was great and, even better, I didn't wind up getting picked for jury duty (whooo hooo!). I had to go down for one day and it was interesting sitting in on the process, though. Two drug related cases and one stalking/cyber stalking case. The first guy was accused of growing and selling weed. I don't think he even spoke English because he had headphones on while a translator (I'm assuming) spoke quietly into a mic as everyone else talked. The second case was the stalking one and, I hate to even say this, but the guy looked creepy as hell. Even dressed in the nice suit, he still looked like a stalker type. I know you shouldn't judge people by how they look, but I just couldn't help it in this case. The third case was a guy accused of selling cocaine. There was a lot of questioning of us, the prospective jurors, as to any prejudices or preconceived notions we might have concerning each case and the accused. Luckily, I was boring enough to fly under their radar, so I wasn't chosen for any case. Before I went, my brother in law had said I should have gone in with a rolled up newspaper and waved it around while shouting "Pick me! Pick me!". He said that's how he got out of it and, knowing him as I do, I totally believe that. 

5. Not much has changed on the writing front, which is good in a way. Still plugging away, still taking down notes, and still prepping for NaNoWriMo in November. At this point, I have a pretty good jump on things and anticipate a check in the "win column" this year. Oh, and I'm also still reading King's On Writing. Good stuff abounds. 

Hang in there and have a great Friday.




Monday, September 22, 2014

"Be Prepared, Son. That's My Motto. Be Prepared."



The above line is from one of my favorite movies. A movie that I find to be one of the true, underrated, classic films of the early 90s.

The Last Boy Scout.
 

When I saw Alex J. Cavanaugh's Underrated Treasures post, this film was the first thing that popped into my mind.

Starring Bruce Willis as his usual, down and out-type character....ex-Secret Service agent (for President Carter...hey, it was the 90s) / do-gooder turned private investigator and Damon Wayans as Jimmy Dix, an ex pro football player who was fired for snorting his paychecks, The Last Boy Scout was one of those quirky films that, sort of, sneaks up on you.

I had never even heard of this movie before seeing it at Blockbuster (yes, I first saw it on VHS...hey, it was the 90s). The advertising budget must have been minimal, even with headliners like Willis and Wayans....who weren't exactly Hollywood lightweights back then. I also don't remember ever seeing any trailers for this at the movies. This is the "ignorant bliss" we enjoyed back in those pre-internet days.

There were quite a few stars in this one, as well. Halle Berry, Billy (Tae Bo!) Blanks, and Bruce MacGill had small parts and Noble Willingham (You'd know him if you saw him) played the 'baddie'.

For my friends and I, this film was one of those "quotable" flicks. One where we'd try to insert a quote into any conversation we could. In my circle of friends, this was one of those 'cult classics'. I'd love to quote you some but, unfortunately, most of them involve some pretty off color language and this is a PG-13 blog ;)

There is one, though, that I can share. Wayan's character screaming at Willis' character as they engage in a car chase.

"Joe if you go any faster, we're going to travel back in time!"

It's your typical action/dramady genre film, but one that impressed me so much because it, sort of, just appeared. Besides my circle of friends, I rarely come across anyone who has even heard of it, much less seen it.

Truly, one of the underrated treasures, in my book.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Friday Five!

It's the day most of us look forward to all week long. The day that signals the start of a couple of well earned, relaxing days with no commitments and no worries....most of the time. Yes....it's Friday! <cue triumphant music>

It's been a while since I've done a Friday Five post, so I thought I'd jot down a few things that have been happening in my life. Not that anything all that interesting has been happening, but nonetheless....

1. My job search continues while I help my wife and her sister with their business. It's been a slow process and there's not much out there, job-wise, at the moment. I'm just very grateful that my wife's new job gives us both medical and dental benefits and she's making decent money (plus the money the business is bringing in). I'm also grateful that I have the opportunity to really look for something I'd like to do and I'm not forced to take the first thing that comes along, like the last time.

2. Once again, my wife and I are on the journey to get healthier. A few months ago, my wife's work had a health fair that we attended. When we got our numbers back, mine weren't as good as they had been and it was a bit troubling. The light bulb flickered on one night as I was checking out Netflix for something to watch and came across Forks Over Knives. Just like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, this was an eye opener, of sorts, for me, so I told the wife about it. We sat down, watched it together, and she said..."You know, I think we could do something like this". So, for the past three weeks, we've given up red meat (we used to eat a lot of ground beef), chicken, dairy products, and sugar while going for a more plant based, whole foods, type diet. We still eat fish and whole grain products. The toughest thing, so far, has been doing without dairy products, but we've found a ton of great alternatives. While my wife hates "labels", I would have to classify us as going "semi-vegan", at this point, as we're doing it for health reasons and not out of compassion for animals.

3. In other health related news, we finally got rid of our weight station (or the "eyesore", as my wife called it) and replaced it with a Weider Total Body machine. I had one of these, years ago, and really liked it. I was in the best shape of my life and it was fun to use. Even better....it's also easy to move.



4. My mom is coming down for a visit this Monday, coinciding with my first day of jury (ugh) duty. She hasn't been down in a while and we haven't had the chance to go North, so it will be great to see her. She says all she wants to do is kick back and relax. I told her that's what we do best, so no problem. Now, if I can only get lucky enough to get dismissed from my jury duty like I was a couple of years ago, I'll be golden.

I won't be holding my breath, though.

5. The writing is going well. I'm not doing as much as I'd like, but doing more than I was. Still getting through King's On Writing and taking some notes. Like I've said, I'm not a big fan of his writing, but his pearls of wisdom in this book are great.

Those are my five for this Friday. Like I mentioned, nothing all that exciting and, if you've got this far, I salute you =)

Hope your Friday is good and the weekend even better!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG: September, 2014



The IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and is a forum for writerly types to vent their fears/frustrations/problems with writing and publishing, among other things. This month's co-hosts are Mark (Melvin) Koopmans, Sheena Kay Graham, Laura, and Shah Wharton. Drop by and send them all some love, won't you?

Ever have too much of a good thing?

You know what I'm talking about.....it's like eating too much ice cream and getting an 'ice cream headache' or drinking enough coffee to cause you to tremor more than the San Andreas Fault.

That's sort of where I'm at in my writing, now. When it rains, it pours.

Not so much with my blogging (sorry about that), but with story ideas. I'll be chugging along with one idea and then, BAM!, another will pop into my head. Or I'll start coming up with dialogue between characters I've yet to create. I'm sure this isn't strange for some, but it's not how my writing process usually goes.

Maybe it's time to embrace that change?

Even though life does it to me, all the time, I'm not that great with change. I like routine, I like order, I like predictable. I'm not the most spontaneous sort. I think those are some of the reasons that I enjoy writing.....it's a process and I have my own little routine.

And that could be my problem. Maybe I'm too entrenched in my routine to be fluid enough for writing?

It's something I'll need to think on and investigate more but, in the meantime, I'm going to ride the "bolt" for as long as I can :)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Waiting on The Bolt (Again)!




Just what is "The Bolt", one might ask. Is it some new superhero? A new "Monster"-style drink, chock full of caffeine goodness?

Well....no.

Some may know it by it's more common name. "The Muse".

My problem is, though, I hate calling it "The Muse".....it's just too....'Xanadu' for me, ya know?

Not that I didn't like the movie Xanadu or anything like that...I just don't want to put the picture of a roller skating, 1980s era, mythological movie creature out there when I'm trying to describe the creative process. And, invariably, when I mention a muse, I think of Olivia Newton John. Not that there's anything, AT ALL,  wrong with thinking of the lovely songstress, I just don't want to distract anyone.....including myself.

No, I prefer to call the process of trying to be creative "The Bolt". You know, like lightning. Something that strikes quickly, out of the blue, and makes your hair stand on end. That twenty-one gigawatts that really gets the creative juices flowing.

Well, that's how I look at it.

Sometimes my wife will ask me what I'm doing when I'm reclining back in my desk chair with my eyes closed, hands on my head and feet propped up. I'll tell her that "I'm waiting for The Bolt".

The reason I even bring up the silly concept of The Bolt is because it struck me hard a few days ago. I'm not talking twenty-one gigawatts, even. More like one hundred and five gigawatts. What little hair I have on my head did stand up on end and my bloodshot eyes twinkled like a couple of fireflies.

I won't reveal the particulars here, but I gave a hint on my Twitter  feed a couple of days ago.

Here's a hint....it has absolutely nothing to do with me trying to grow a beard. If it pans out, though, it could really give me a leg up with this years, NaNoWriMo!

Sticks a metal pole out the window, waiting for the next visit from The Bolt!

Friday, August 15, 2014

So Long and Thank You....

I usually don't do posts like this, but I thought it fitting given, my fondness for movies and television shows of bygone days, to share some memories of two Hollywood greats.

This past week, we lost two amazing talents. Both can be remembered for superb movie and television roles. They were masters of their craft....one with amazing improvisational and comedic abilities and, the other, a smoldering, dramatic, leading lady who just oozed "class".

On a more personal level, I've always been a fan of them both and will always remember them for helping to make my life just that much brighter.


It was 1978, I think, and you probably couldn't find a bigger fan of the show Happy Days than a little, blonde headed, ten year old me. If it was Tuesday at 8pm, you could bet our t.v. was tuned to ABC to watch Fonzie, Richie, Mr. and Mrs "C" and the whole gang bring back the 1950s in true, situational comedic, style. This particular episode featured an alien character....Mork from Ork....who wanted to take "humdrum" Richie back to Ork for further study. Of course, it was up to the Fonz to save Richie and that meant going toe to toe with Mork. In reality, it's said that it was more like Henry Winkler trying to keep a straight face while working with Robin Williams at his manic best.

It was my first look at a young Williams and, to be sure, not my last. They gave the Mork from Ork character his own spinoff show....Mork and Mindy. I was totally on board and loved this one almost as much as Happy Days. The more I watched Williams work, the more I came to appreciate his rapid fire wit, sense of humor, and ability to tie it all together to make us laugh. It wasn't soon after that Williams started getting more and more movie roles. From Popeye...a film I didn't care for, but also believe that no one but Williams could have pulled off....to Good Morning Viet Nam to Hook to Aladdin to Good Will Hunting, Williams continued to impress me with his range as an actor.

Robin Williams was one of those "one of a kind" type performers. Before he burst onto the scene you hadn't seen anyone like him and, now that he's gone, I'm certain you'll never see anyone like him again.

Rest in Peace Mr. Williams and thank you for the laughs.





The other loss, in fact it happened just the day after Robin Williams' death, was that of Lauren Bacall.

The first time I ever saw Bacall was in a commercial which I can't, for the life of me, remember the product. I do remember thinking how gorgeous she was, even though well into her late 50s/early 60s. This was a time before I started getting into old movies, so I hadn't yet grown to appreciate her for anything more than a pretty face.

Mrs. Bogart and Mrs. DiMaggio
Then I saw, I think it was, Key Largo and that was it. I was a bit smitten. I could see how Bogie could fall for a dame like that. In her younger years she was downright beautiful. A gorgeous face, alluring eyes, and that voice....wow. Bogie ranks up there with Joe DiMaggio as far as "famous guys who married WAY up" go, in my book.

I saw Bacall in many roles after Key Largo and was always impressed by her range of emotions and how she could just draw me into any film she did. She was smooth, cool, and always struck me as someone who was just in love with acting. She was a fashion icon and did everything with such flair.

I also think, as she got older, she wasn't afraid to try new types of roles...even if they were on television. She did a two-parter on The Rockford Files and even ventured into animated work, voicing a character not only on a new Scooby Doo movie, but also on Family Guy.

As the song said, she really did "have it all". Rest in peace Ms. Bacall, old Hollywood will be that much poorer for it's loss and you will be missed.





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