Wednesday, February 19, 2020

I'm Surprised These Things are Anywhere on our Radar

Jeff Goldblum, What the heck.
Why is this guy still on our radar? I've never cared for the guy at all. I haven't liked him since The Big Chill, one of my favorite movies, and now he's ironically popular again. ugh.

Anyway, I started thinking about the other popular things that I absolutely have no affection for. My negativity is pretty strong in this post, so be prepared. Here's my list, things I'm rather annoyed with and just can't keep quiet about tonight. Maybe it's PMS.


WHY are these things THINGS?
Why don't we have the courage to just show them the door?

  • Jeff Goldblum - Why is THIS man still acting?
  • ABBA - just why?
  • Justin Bieber
  • Donald Trump
  • Billionaires - why are these people admired at all?
  • Some over used female baby names - I won't list them here, but there are some names that I just can't stand.
  • Duck face - WHY?
  • Patriotism - such a bullshit thing.
  • Hashtags
  • FOX news
  • Expen$ive coffee
  • New Years Eve - such an invented thing
  • James Corden
  • Marvel movies, super hero movies - Just. Stop. Now.
  • Ryan Gosling - what's with this overrated actor?
  • Mountain man beards - I am SO over them
  • BTS
  • Super expensive, trendy tennis shoes -  time to stop supporting this kind of carp
  • Cruises
  • The Mona Lisa - there are waaaay better works of art
  • All things woo: crystals and whatnot
  • Dabbing - 🙄
  • Facebook challenges
  • Social media celebs
  • Funny black t-shirts
  • Diamonds
  • Howie Mandel
  • Disney
  • Valentines Day
  • Those angry cat memes
  • Adam Sandler
  • Wine
  • Bow ties -  so overused
  • The word Awesome
  • Fame, caring about what celebs think
  • Virginity
  • Cigarettes

Anyway, just my little list of negativity. What would you add?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Eleven Love Songs I Never Want to Hear Again!

I was listening to the radio today and the DJ announced that, next, she would read the top some number of songs that some magazine, maybe Rolling Stone, had listed as the Worse Romantic Songs of All Time. Quite a list for Valentine's Day. Well, I got out of the car moments later, but I kept wondering what songs were in that list. So, I decided to make my own list.

Romantic songs are notoriously nauseating or obnoxious. I'm sure you have a few songs on your Never Again List. If so, please add them in the comments section. 

Keeping in mind that my songs are OLD, like 70s and early 80s.
Here's My List:

  1.   ANYTHING by Chicago
  2.   ANYTHING by Celine Dion, but especially My Heart Will Go On and On
  3.   Fire and Rain by James Taylor
  4.   The Pina Colada Song: Escape by Rupert Holmes
  5.   I'll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men
  6.   As Long as You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys
  7.   She's Like the Wind by Patrick Swayze
  8.   Making Love Out of Nothing Now by Air Supply, in fact, everything by Air Supply
  9.   Muskrat Love by The Captain and Tenille
  10.   I Wanna Know What Love Is by Foreigner
  11.   All By Myself  by Eric Carmen, of course

What songs did I miss?
What would you add?

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My Ten Favorite Love Songs (Coming Soon)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Grief and Eddie

Tonight I'm grieving Eddie Vedder.
Not because he died, he's still here!

I'm grieving him because I just discovered him!

I wasn't into Grunge in the 90s; I'm not really into it now. But I do remember just ignoring so much of the new music coming out because I was just too busy to pay it any mind. I was in graduate school in the 90s, then getting married, then mother to a newborn. I really didn't have any extra attention to pay. Besides, I was still rocking out to the 70s tunes.  🤣
Not really. I wasn't listening to much music at all. I mean, all I had was the radio and CD when I think of music at that time, all I actually remember playing alot of was a favorite Kenny Loggins CD.

In the past couple of years I've also been exploring different movie genre', book genre', authors, art, all kind of interesting cultural experiences. I feel like the world is a smorgasbord and it's music time.

Anyway, so the other night I was just messing around on youtube listening to a variety of music. Lately I'm enjoying exploring other genres of music that I have never given time to. I guess I'm a bit bored with my own favorites. Though how one can be bored of Kenny and Luther after only thirty years of nonstop listening, I don't know.

So I was messing around and I kept thinking to myself, DANG, my memory stinks. Who is that one band that I keep meaning to give a listen to?  For several days in a row I tried to remember but just could not. Luckily, my son reminded me, it was Pearl Jam. I was listening to our local rock station KSHE a week or so ago when a song came on that had me quickly Shazamming the thing. It was Black by Pearl Jam.

Yeah. That one.
The lyrics, Man!

So, anyway, long story short, I pulled up some Pearl Jam last night and got lost in their songs, and, eventually, in everything by Eddie Vedder. Dude, I love him.

YES, he's hawt.
But he's SO COOL and so interesting and so real. I love his voice and his lyrics and his career. I listened to several songs he sang with other big singers and just...fangirled.

Then I started feeling super sorry for myself for not being mad for the guy for the last, what, thirty years? 🤣  I'm so late to the game!!! So, now, I'll be giving him his due. I plan on listening to everything: concerts, covers, interviews, covers, everything! And, certainly, looking at every possible image of this gorgeous dude. Fergoodnesssake! I didn't know!!!!!

So, if you've been awake these past few decades, I'm jealous. I've been missing so much great stuff...I wonder what else is out there???

Any suggestions? Send me your playlist! But, Girl, make it as amazing as EV!

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TAG, You're It

Friday, January 17, 2020

Special Books by Special Kids

Let me introduce you to Chris Ulmer.
Chris is a guy who, after graduating from college with a communications degree, ended up accidentally creating a Youtube channel that, in my opinion, probably transcends anything he ever conceived it to be. The channel is called Special Books by Special Kids.

In the beginning Chris was hoping to create books. The support for that did not come as he had hoped, but his secondary efforts, creating videos, took off. Here's what his content consists of, and why.

After graduating, Chris took a job as a special education coach, and then teacher in Kentucky. Though some might think he had taken a job outside of his field, Chris thrived. He fell in love with the work and with the students in his classes. After awhile he wanted to share these kids with others; he wanted others to love the kids as he had grown to love them.

So he created, by process, Special Books by Special Kids.

This is Chris
and his family
My first video by Chris was an interview he did with Daniel, a young man who lives with schizoaffective disorder, as well as several other disorders. Daniel was a wonderful subject for this interview because he is very honest and earnest. Daniel explained both his experiences on a daily basis with having a mental illness that causes hallucinations and delusions as well as his longer term struggles and hopes. He also told us some of his very favorite things, some simple and obvious ways to interact with him in order to learn more or to befriend him, and he expressed his difficulties and pleasures in a regular day for him.

I learned so much about Daniel, about what his experience with schizoaffecive disorder is, and about what a unique and good person he is. I think that is what Chris has in mind for his hundreds of video friends. He wants us to learn from their courage that these people are...people. Each person has normal wants and desires. Each person is living a life that is, in fact, normal for them. Each of us learns to live within our own lives, right. None of us wants or needs pity. We all simply need love.

Yes, that's it. If I were to break down everything I've learned to far, it is that we all need love. Simple as that. And friends.
If I mean well, then all will be well.

I know that the last thing that Chris would want me to take away from his work is what an amazing human he is, or anything else about him; but he is. I do take that away. I take this away because he's done something remarkable in my life, in my heart. He's used this platform of Special Books for Special Kids to teach me to be far more open and willing and interested in being friends with more people of a variety of abilities. I plan on going out into the world and making that happen. And I thank him for that. But don't worry, Chris, I'm taking so much more away too.

I've also learned how to approach someone who looks different from me, who is differently-able than I am. I've learned that most people are open and willing to make connections...though some people aren't. You know, like real people. Some people are open and willing and some would prefer their solitude. I can dig that.

Some of Chris's friends have genetic disorders or chromosomal disorders, mental illnesses, birth disorders, major injuries from experiences in their lives, so many other challenges, and some of Chris's friends live with situations and challenges that are completely unique to them**. Some of his friends are verbal, some non verbal. Some are infants, some are children, some are teens, some are adults. I have, now, watched about thirty videos with Chris interviewing his friends and, bar none, I have felt love and affection and sincere respect for each person in each video. From the friends and their families and Chris, I feel very...fulfilled. Enlarged. Informed. Motivated. Connected to the wide world of humans.

And, since I just watched a video with Michelle about five minutes ago, I must say, I laughed so much and felt touched by her wonderful personality, humor, and spirit...but not her sass. Nope. 💜

Youtube, in its WEIRD and unexplainable policies, has turned off all comments on nearly all of the videos on Chris Ulmer's channel. And that is too bad. So I'm writing this HERE and hoping that Chris and his friends from his videos find their way here and know that I appreciate their courage, their kind and loving hearts, and their sincere effort to share with us. With we humans out here who are, in our own ways, also handicapped, disabled, disadvantaged, wounded, ...healing. And human beings simply looking for love and friends.

Thank you, Chris.
Thank you, Chris's friends.

* I sincerely hope the public images here are OK with those in the images.
** When I came back to this post to add links, I rewatched some of the videos and just fell in love with so many of these kids again!  💜🤟😀 So check them out!

I need to include this link: 

The SBSK Guide to Inclusion and Mindful Teaching
(A Must See for Parents and Educators)

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Imposter Syndrome

Let's begin with this, despite your inner narrative,  You are real and you deserve your successes.
I don't know why most of the human condition is the way that it is. I don't get it why we have to suffer and struggle with painful emotional issues and psychological disorders. It doesn't make sense that our own thoughts would fight us, work against us, undermine us. 

Intellectual fraud, that's what imposter syndrome is, what it feels like. It's the sinking suspicion that you don't deserve your success, that others can see what a phony you are. It's the fundamental inability to accept your accomplishments.

So why am I talking about this?

I remember the day that I realized that I felt like an utter fake.
I was in my late twenties and I was in a position of authority at work. I had an amazing reputation, a reputation that I had earned. But still I felt like a phony. It was weird. What I remember about those years, thirty years ago, is that I was working hard. Staying late. Doing more. Always learning. No one gave it to me; I earned it. So why did I feel so unworthy? It was weird.

And, know what? It's not uncommon.
You might have experienced it before.

Many successful, hard working people experience it at some point in their life.

What To Do About It?

Remember this one thing: Thoughts and feelings aren't facts.
First, realize that the script in your head needs rewriting. So start out by riding the fear and doubt and by continuing to do your thing. Then, start saying nice things to yourself, possibly including reminding yourself of your successes, your accomplishments, your best qualities. Notice the positive feedback others are giving you without discounting that feedback.

Feeling like a fraud is an unfair attack on yourself. Our brains are bizarre things. Let's acknowledge that, remember that. Because our thoughts and feelings aren't facts, yet we are responding to them as though they are. They are merely events happening in our brains. Powerful, yet not real. While success and accomplishment happen in the world, outside of our brains.

Another thing to do to for yourself, ask your trusted friends or co workers to help you figure out your positive qualities. Ask them to help you bust the fraud idea with reality. Get some help enumerating your steps to success. Figure out what you mean by success. What would make you a real success? Figure out those points.

And then, create successes for yourself. Engage in activities that bring you small successes, that remind you that you are a worthy and accomplished human being. Take some time to look for evidence of your quality or success. Go out and make achievements your bitch. You're not fake; in fact, you're trying hard. You're not just charming; in fact, you're actually qualified. You're not lucky; in fact, you've earned your place. And the odds are totally against chance. 

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Just One Damn Thing After Another

I was at the library on a rainy and cold day just passing some time. One of my favorite things is passing time at the library. I love exploring the stacks, reading in the reading room, ...being there. I usually stash my stuff somewhere, grab my reading glasses, and sit in front of a spot of the shelves and check out every single book on that shelf. 

On this particular rainy, cold day I was in the T section, novels with authors whose last names begin with the letter T. Think Tan, Theroux, Tolkien, Tyler, Turow.

I found a couple of books from a book series by Jodi Taylor, books number three and seven in an eight book series called The Chronicles of St. Mary's. These two books had the look of an early Rick Riordan book or Brandon Mull, teen books that I used to read to the kids back in their childhoods. Fantasy, adventure, excitement. I picked up the two books from the shelf and took them to the librarians to locate book number one from the series. 

I'm telling this little bit of the search for a book because of this bit: both of the librarians got excited about the books when I brought them up to the counter! We all looked at the books, getting more and more excited about them.  lol

From the cover it looks like a teen adventure series, but it is not for teens. It is definitely for adults. If the sex and language was removed from the text, it would be great for teens. As it stands, I wouldn't really recommend it for younger folks, and I'm pretty liberal that way...

The story is less detail and more adventure. The characters are less depth and more fun. The scenarios are less realistic and more fantastic. It's just a fun book to read if you have some time to kill. I wouldn't go out of my way to read this series if you prefer serious fantasy. 

BUT, if time travel, bumbling mistakes in times of crisis, and sass-appeal entertain you, you will not be sorry. I do plan on reading the next book in the series, A Second Chance.

I give this book six stars for the fun...and the romance.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Things Happen for a Reason

OK, a less facetious answer might be in order.

I have to admit that this particular statement is a pet peeve of mine, so I'll try to keep that issue out of this post. If possible.

If you go out there on the interwebs and search for the phrase Everything Happens for a Reason, you will find thousands and thousands and thousands of bullshit sites (OOPS, there is is)  that offer comfort, wisdom, or woo promises to people that the world, the universe is out there with intention. That there are powers and magic in the universe that know your specific life issues and that have a mapped-out plan for you. Legit.

Genuine adult people can go out there online and get the brilliant wisdom that, not only is your life mapped out, but the universe has such control of your life that you don't have to worry a bit. Nope. People come and go into and out of your life for a reason. Bad things happen for a reason. Crises come along for a reason. We are put through the nightmares of life in order to teach us a lesson. All of the ups and downs happen to us because there is a reason for it. The pain has meaning.

Who can buy this?
Even most Christian and non-Christian reasons hold to the idea of Free Will over predetermination. Most religions and other belief philosophies buy big into personal growth and self-empowerment. How are thinking people supposed to figure out the tangling of thoughts that include this particular trope: everything happens for a reason?
This phrase, too, is just an inch away from There are no Coincidences. The truth is, it's all coincidence. Things happen. Weird connections happen sometimes. Nature happens. It seems to me that that this statement would add negativity, confusion, even anger to the mix.

What negativity?
Maybe questions like How is this pain supposed to have a purpose? What sort of purpose can some devastating losses possible have? How can a person accept the purpose that terrible illness or terrible violence can possibly offer? What lesson am I missing from this pain? What sort of power would deliberately add overwhelming and repeating pain and loss to our lives for any possible reason? What sort of power is so malicious or cold that their only means of teaching lessons is by wounding or torturing us with heartbreak, chaos, or grief?

My thoughts is, if you are seeking meaning in your life, comfort from something painful or challenging, looking for growth in your life, looking for closure, looking for personal life lessons, or looking to make sense of your life, I guarantee that you can find a better mantra than Everything Happens for a Reason.

For example, try these:

  • I can handle this.
  • I'm a warrior!
  • Tomorrow is another day.
  • Word harder. Work smarter.
  • I give myself permission to rest.
  • I'm not going to give up!
  • Show up for yourself.
  • Know who's on your side.
  • I am on my own side. 
  • Do no harm but take no shit.
  • Be the courage you need.
  • I am enough.
  • I believe in myself.
  • I can ask for the help I need.
  • One day at a time.
  • Just for today...
  • Be the change...
  • What can I do today?
  • Everything I need I have within me.
  • A positive mind brings about positivity.
  • I am present now, here.
  • Feel the fear. Do it anyway.
  • I can and I will.
  • Be fully yourself.
  • Feelings are not facts.
  • Find the beauty in today.
  • Wake up every day and live it.
  • I trust in me.
  • Sometimes you need to ride the wave.
  • Don't make permanent decisions for temporary feelings.
  • Sometimes you need to put yourself first.
  • I can only control myself.
  • Life doesn't get better by chance, but by choice.
  • Try again tomorrow.
  • Be bold!

If you find comfort is Everything Happens for a Reason, as some people do, think to yourself, could you, or any third grader, think of a better way for an event to happen? Could you conceive of a better way to learn strength or resilience or self control? Is there any other way to learn self-reliance, bits of wisdom, or how to make time for loved ones? If you can conceive of any kinder, gentler way to learn your lessons, couldn't the wise universe or other power do so too? 

So, if you need a personal mantra, borrow one or more of mine...until you get one of your own.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

All is True

It's not often that I review a movie on this blog, but I must. I am a huge fan of the classics, of historical films, of classic literature film, of theater. I thought I'd seen just about everything history and Shakespeare worth seeing. But, as it happens, I accidentally stumbled upon a, possible, perfect film of this genre. A film that feels like a true gem of discovery. All is True.

I don't know how much is true in All is True, or how historically accurate the film is. Nor do I know if accuracy is able to be determined at this point. Webpages and writing exist online discussing this very thing, the truth and accuracy of the story; I won't address that here.

Let's focus on the film, the set, the cast. Let's start with this stellar cast, for it is formidable. Kenneth Branagh as Shakespeare is...quiet and human, yet explosive. I'm a fan of Branagh, have been since Much Ado About Nothing, this affection for him despite his overall cheesiness in general. In this role as William Shakespeare, someone who seems larger than life and legendary, Branagh plays the bard as a very human and flawed individual. Comedy and tragedy, in a single man.

Dame Judy Densch as Mrs. Anne Shakespeare. Ian McKennen as the Earl of Southampton. We're talking a stellar cast here. And the set is basically some sylvan, rustic farming villa, the home of William's wife Anne and children at Stratford on Avon. And a garden.

William Shakespeare has retired from his theater competitions with Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nash, and others at the Globe Theater. He has retired and has moved back to the discomfort and unfamiliarity of his family home, a place where he has only visited for many years, Stratford on Avon. In these, his final years, William must reintegrate with his wife, his two daughters, and all family at the house. When watching the film, at some parts, I recommend pausing the film and going to learn more about William and Anne's children Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet for the more you understand, the more fully satisfying is the story.

As Anne and William begin to settle into their lives together, William is contacted by the Duke of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, alerting William of the Duke's upcoming visit to Stratford. Several of William's popular sonnets are said to be written about his love affair with the Duke, so Anne is less than welcoming to this visitor. These scenes are truly among the best in movie making.

Another ongoing drama in the film, at the end of William's life he is belatedly obsessed with his grief over the loss of his young son from years ago, and William's feelings of sincere loss of his son Hamnet and of Hamnet's writing abilities. William is haunted over this loss, weakened by this belated grief, a grief that blinds him and nearly destroys William and the relationships with his remaining family.

The many familial stories woven into this film of the final days of Shakespeare are wonderful and compelling. The simple humanness of the genius William Shakespeare...I loved the film.
I really did. Eight stars.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Skeptical, Not Cynical

Some people think that being skeptical is the same as being cynical. The misunderstanding seems to be that to be skeptical is the same as being scornful or misanthropic or contemptuous. But the truth is, skepticism is nothing at all like that.

For me, being skeptical is completely impartial.
I'm going to need evidence. I'm going to do the research. I have no bias, no prior judgement. No allegiance except to what makes sense and is as clear and is as correct as possible. For me being skeptical means that I require evidence. I am not swayed by emotion, appeals to sympathy, propaganda, or historical tradition. I try to learn about as many things as possible and to form my own opinions on things.
With this strong propensity for skepticism, I would say that I am, in general, about 75% skeptical. 

How about cynical?
When I think of the word cynical, it makes me think of negativity. In fact, maybe paradoxically, cynicism makes me think of a person who does not have the propensity to change their opinions or ways of thinking and who, generally, have a negative view of things. A cynic believes that most people are self-interested and are insincere. It's having a closed mind. Closed to new things.
I would never describe myself that way.

Before having a better understanding of my own nature, I used to think that I was just kind of wishy-washy. Now I understand that my habit of not having an immediate position on things was my of saying I need more information before having or forming an opinion. (Wish I would have realized that sooner...)

Why am I only 75% skeptical?
Because I truly and honestly feel the need to do my own reading, research, and synthesis of information before forming opinions. That means that time limits prevent me from being 100% skeptical simply because there is not enough time to examine every single thing adequately.

So yeah, if you are a first-gen atheist and are exploring yourself and your methods for examining things, consider your own skepticism vs. cynicism ratio. With a little thought, you'll figure out where you stand on the question and how to get where you want to be.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2019