Urban (mis)Advantures

Beautifully Blown 365 Challenge. — January 31, 2012

Beautifully Blown 365 Challenge.

Well, I’ve missed about four days in my 365 Blog challenge, and it’s only January.  Am I a loser?  No.  Am I beating myself up about it?  No. 

But I am thinking about what I will do every day:
*Pray.  I do still have about a 1/2 ounce of hope.
*Prioritize a few work tasks.  This way, I am not overwhelmed each day.  I am only one woman after all. 
*Put the same energy into my family as I do my clients.  It won’t be that hard to take a few minutes each day to organize my son’s school/activity/chore schedule.
*Something for myself.  I care for others, therefore I need to take care of myself, whether it’s doing my nails nice or simply doing my laundry. 

I’ll continue sharing my Beautiful Moments as they happen.

A Beautifully Disappointing Moment…The High School Musical. — January 28, 2012

A Beautifully Disappointing Moment…The High School Musical.

My son got a free-admission postcard for him and three guests to a local high school’s production of Hairspray.  I told him we would go so he can see a real production from the high school he applied (and was accepted) to.  He was not too thrilled about a musical called Hairspray, but I explained that it was not about a bunch of girls doing their make-up and hair.   But it dealt with racial issues in the sixties and was mostly about making a difference and seeing past the skin.  So today we picked up his girlfriend, seated ourselves towards the back of the auditorium, and braced ourselves for what we thought would be a spectacular production from a school in the richer town. 

But unfortunately, it was not. 

The painted backdrops were no better than the ones displayed during my son’s junior high plays.  Yet the lighting was spot on, with spotlights and varying shades of red, pink, and purple.  The production seemed to rush, as many of the spoken lines were spat out in ADHD pressured speech.  Corny stumbled over his words more than once.  Some of the singers were a bit pitchy, and Motormouth was barely audible.  The tall, lanky kid that played Link simply could not sing.  But Corny Collins, Wilbur, and the Von Tussle ladies belted out their songs with power.  And our hero, Tracy Turnblad, was energetic and charming.  Yet, with the exception of the lively Edna and Wilbur, the spoken lines were not heard. 

Which brings me to an interesting point.  Kids are outspoken and loud when we do not want them to be, like in the mall, out to dinner, or in the movie theatre.  Or like right now, my son is yelling into his X-Box  Turtle Beach headset even though his microphone is right next to his mouth.   But when on stage, acting out a play, their voices do not carry.  Kiddos, this is the time you are supposed to be loud and raise your voices!  Are instructors not teaching them to project their voices in drama anymore?

Yet the puffy dresses, bee hive hairdos, and ratted wigs were the shining stars of the play.

Favorite Actors Who Are Not in the Spotlight. —

Favorite Actors Who Are Not in the Spotlight.

The Oscars are coming up soon, and the nominees were announced.  Which has me thinking about the many other actors out there who may not be Brad Pitt, George Clooney, or Johnny Depp.  But their talent reaches and sometimes soars beyond the Big Boys. 

1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Whenever I see that Joseph is cast in a movie, it perks my interest.  He started off making us laugh by playing the alien Tommy Solomon in the CBS sit-com, 3rd Rock from the Sun.  Since then, he played roles such as a depressed, love struck greeting card writer (500 Days of Summer), a traumatic brain injured janitor turned criminal (The Lookout) and a young man battling cancer (50/50). 




2. Giovanni Ribisi



Giovanni, first of all, has an awesome name.  Secondly, he’s portrayed many colorful characters.  He played Phoebe’s brother in Friends, a mentally challenged man in The Other Sister, was in the Mod Squad, an antisocial engineer in Flight of the Phoenix and a cold-hearted capitalist in Avatar.




3. Timothy Olyphant




Yum-to-the E.  He donned a sheriff’s uniform and attempted to protect his town from The Crazies.  He was the sadistic villain in Live Free or Die Hard.  He went skinny dipping with his soon-to-be wife and a couple of serial killers in A Perfect Getaway.  Now Timothy is Justified. 



4. Anton Yelchin

Anton stars as Charlie Bartlett, which is one of my favorite movies.  Charlie has been kicked out of every private school and resorts to many antics to make friends in the public school.  He also was tragically murdered in Alpha Dog, was the son of a suicidal mother in House of D, and stepped up to play a young Chekov in the latest Star Trek movie.   




5. James McAvoy



James charmed me as the faun in Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe and as Penelope‘s true love that helped break a family curse.  Then he kicked a lot of bums in Wanted (in addition to making-out with Angelina Jolie).  And he tried to unite mutants and humans as Professor X in X-Men First Class.




6. Ben Foster



Ben has portrayed the unhinged, violent type and the a beautiful young man struggling with growing magnificent wings.  In Alpha Dog, he screamed and fought his way on a rampage to find his younger brother (played by Anton Yelchin).  He was a merciless gunslinger in 3:10 to Yuma and trained with Jason Statham as an assassin in The Mechanic.  But he also sprouted wings as X-Men’s Angel. 




7. Emile Hirsch


In addition to his talent, Emile’s good looks and winning smile have landed him many roles.  He crushed on The Girl Next Door, skateboarded in Lords of Dogtown, and met a slow, horrible end when he went Into the Wild.  His thick curly locks were dyed black so he could play anime’s icon, Speed Racer. 


My Writer’s Open Road. — January 26, 2012

My Writer’s Open Road.

Today’s Beautiful Moment is sponsored by a sudden desire and ability to keep writing.  I’ve experienced writer’s block more than once.  I either sat at the computer, staring blankly or out the window, while only one paragraph is added to my wizard book.  Or I didn’t even touch a notebook or the computer for days. 
But lately, I’ve been plowing through the story, completely inspired to finish this story before the end of the year.  At some parts in the story, it moves too fast, not providing my current readers in the Writers Group enough detail or information.   Therefore, I do not have a writer’s block, but an open road in front of me, waiting to be traveled. 
What do I owe this inspiration and motivation?  It’s simple:
Because I want to be a published writer.  I’ve dreamed of it since I was ten.
I’m not getting any younger and am slowly running out of time. 
My writers group has greatly encouraged me to keep going.
A couple of books and articles about writing have helped me stay focused on the plot, characters, and storyline during a first draft.  Then go back add the transitional pieces and fillers. 
A husband and son who understand I need uninterrupted computer time!  (so when he woke up late last night wanting to write about Volkswagens, I did not complain)

But I wonder if my new-found motivation is intruding in other parts of my life.  I can’t wait to get home after work, eat dinner, spend some times with the family, and write.  I once lost track of time before work because I was typing  the novel.  This morning, I almost frantically searched for a piece of scrap paper in the purse to quickly jot down an idea for a current chapter before heading to a meeting.  Once, while waiting at the veterinarian’s office, I wrote on a napkin.  I see the story playing like a movie sometimes.  But is that okay?  I think it is.

A Beautiful Moment….Good-bye, Catherine. — January 25, 2012

A Beautiful Moment….Good-bye, Catherine.

CSI has been one of my favorite television shows for years.  After a heart wrenching good-bye to Warrick, a solemn fare well to Grissom, and a sudden leave by Dr. Langston, the CSI team said it’s good-bye to another long timer, Catherine Willows. 

In case you did not catch the episode last night and DVR’ed it, I won’t spoil the reasons for her departure.  I haven’t watched much this season, as I really liked the Dr. Langston and Nick Stokes team of last season. 

But I had to catch Willows last episode, leaving behind a legacy of dramas, promotions and demotions.  I knew CSI would be very different without Grissom, but Ray (played by the one and only Lawrence Fishburne) proved to be an interesting replacement character.  Yet, I am not sure what the series will be without Catherine Willows.  It’s difficult for me to accustom myself to the new characters that come and go, but such is life.  My husband did point out that Ted Dansen is doing well on the show, the role fits him, and it’s great seeing him in something other than sit-coms. 

I do know one thing….if Nick or Greg ever leave the show, it is over. 

Beautiful Moment…Writers Group — January 24, 2012

Beautiful Moment…Writers Group

I greatly appreciate my local writers group.  Being involved in the group has motivated me to write, write, and write.  The experience thus far has helped me feel much more comfortable about the possibility of other people reading my work.  The members point out the many holes in my story and constructively give suggestions.  My writers group consists of a variety of talented people writing in different genres.  One woman often brings short stories based on events and people in her life and possesses the ability to make her readers really loathe the antagonist.  The calm sci-fi writer knew an abundance about current trends in publishing.  There’s the grammatically correct one who greatly aides with the typos, repeated words, and structure of paragraphs.  Then there’s the fantasy writers, including me. 

I used to rush on the weekends to complete my chapters for the Tuesday groups, but have learned from others how make writing a habit during the week.  Blogging each day has also greatly helped ease the writer’s block.  Hopefully this passion will one day become second nature to me. 

I found my writers group at my awesome library in town.  If you are interested in joining a writing circle, I would suggest you look into your library.   You can search the internet also.

Beautiful Moment: If I Ever Stray… — January 23, 2012

Beautiful Moment: If I Ever Stray…

Amongst the country’s financial depression and my own mental depression, I found about three minutes of something inspirational and uplifting.  Frank Turner’s song If I Ever Stray belts out lyrics of truth and enlightenment.  I listened to it several times today, and I’d like to share it with you.

Forgive me someone for I have sinned
And I know not where I should begin,
And some days it feels like you just can’t win,
No matter what you do or say.
Things didn’t kill me but I don’t feel stronger.
Life is short but it feels much longer,
when you’ve lost that fight,
Yeah you’ve lost that hunger,
to pull yourself through the day.

But if I ever stray from the path I follow,
Take me down to the English Channel,
Throw me in where the water is shallow,
And then drag me on back to shore,
because love is free and life is cheap,
and as long as I’ve got me a place to sleep,
some clothes on my back and some food to eat,
then I can’t ask for anything more.

So come on everybody sing one, two, three, four!

So we all have secrets that we hold inside,
the worst little things that you never confide,
And the worst one of all that you just can’t hide,
is that you’re never quite as strong as you sound.
So I’m sorry baby for the times I’ve hurt you,
sorry friends for the times I desert you.
Most days it feels like I don’t deserve you,
and I wonder why you’re all still around. 

But if I ever stray from the path I follow,
Take me down to the English Channel,
Throw me in where the water is shallow,
And then drag me on back to shore,
because love is free and life is cheap,
and as long as I’ve got me a place to sleep,
some clothes on my back and some food to eat,
then I can’t ask for anything more.

Come on and join me in the water, and we’ll swim for home.
Sometimes its hard to remember: I can’t do this on my own.

(Repeat Chorus)

The path I chose isn’t straight and narrow:
It wanders around like a drunken fellow.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to follow,
but if you’ve got my back I’ll go on,
if you’ve got my back I’ll go on.