Archive for June, 2013

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Sandra Bullock still brings it.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I enjoyed watching her play the prim and proper know-it-all against Melissa McCarthy‘s street-smart scrapper. This was a good buddy movie, in my opinion. Physical comedy reigned supreme, yet there was a streak of dark, cerebral humor to balance it out. I especially liked seeing Thomas F. Wilson from Back to the Future playing McCarthy’s hen-pecked captain. A totally different character than what I remember him for (Biff). I also enjoyed seeing Marlon Wayans in a low-key role, playing an FBI agent with a crush on Bullock. I laughed a lot, watching this movie and I think most people would.

stuckinlove-poster-jpg_173305This is a good movie about a famous, divorced writer and his kids.  As a family of writers, the identity of each character’s favorite writer was a major subject of discussion in the movie.  The son liked Stephen King.  The daughter, someone I’m not familiar with.  The dad — in one scene, he tells his daughter’s college writing class he was inspired to write after reading a book by Raymond Carver called What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.  My jaw dropped and I felt chills when I heard this.  That book was one of my favorites when I was in college.  I was in awe of Raymond Carver’s style and loved reading his short stories.  Though I was never inspired to become a writer, I could understand how someone would be.

The movie is actually about each writer’s relationships — the father moving on after divorce (or not), the daughter overcoming cynicism and learning to love, and the son finding his first love.

The impression I got from a Q&A session with a couple of the actors after the advance screening I attended was this story was based in real life on a story written by the son.  I liked the movie, though there were a couple of scenes that seemed cliché (i.e. a couple falling in love, holding hands as they awkwardly skate around an ice rink).  I felt the story was interesting enough to overcome the clichés, and I especially enjoyed the characters.  I would recommend the movie to an adult audience, as there were scenes about sex and drug use.

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I enjoyed this movie. When I was these kids’ age, I lived in Okinawa, where there was little room for exploring the countryside. Otherwise, I may have tried an adventure such as the one shown in the movie. I totally felt for these kids who wanted to break free of their families for just a little while, who wanted to be accepted by their peers and suffered from unrequited love. Funny and touching, this could have been a story about me.

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Calvin and Hobbes has been my favorite comic strip most of my adult life.  Although I never had an imaginary best friend, my attitude toward life was just like Calvin’s:  Question everything, get into mischief as often as possible, and make the best out of whatever situation you find yourself in.  When I saw this on the Calvin and Hobbes Facebook page today, I had to send it out to my team at work, and I printed it out, posting the strip in my cube.

So much in life has to do with plan B’s, and sometimes, as in this strip, the plan B’s are just as good as plan A.  My life has been a series of plan B’s; the earliest I can think of would be learning to live without my mom at the age of 8.  Then going to college to be a naval officer was another plan A — plan B was volunteering for submarine duty when I dropped out of college.  When my ex-wife’s and my plan A for having children didn’t pan out, our plan B was adopting and raising my second-cousin, Kayla.  She has been a real blessing in my life.  When plan A for my marriage blew up in divorce, I was faced with my most recent series of plan B’s in my personal life and finances.  I’m still sorting things out.  Plan B at work seems to be taking me back out on the road, so I can make more money and pursue the second great love of my life, travel.  Plan B in my finances has taken me to the point of filing bankruptcy, to get rid of the debt I’d built up while married.  My hearing is next week, so I’ll see how this plan works out.  There may be other plan B’s to follow.  Then in my personal life, there are a couple of plan B’s in progress.  Will I become a loner or will someone I know accept my problems and my love for travel, and love me in spite of it?  So far, the first seems to be the most likely path, but one never knows….

That’s the optimist in me — always hoping for the best outcome.  That was Calvin.  Although he was forced to go to school and take baths, he tried to make the best of it.

Good God!

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Random Thoughts
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dream

I was with a friend in an unfamiliar house.  I’d never seen this place before.  We picked up some boxes in the living room and carried them into a room off to the side.  It was dark in the house, but I could tell this was a large room.  We walked by a wardrobe, and I could swear I saw its door handles move.  We set our boxes on a couch across the room.

Suddenly the room was brightly lit, and I could see there was a second floor, and we were in an atrium or commons area like that in a school building where I’d gone to church.  I noticed my friend was on the second floor, looking down at me.  Now this might be a little graphic for some, but I had to use the restroom, and since there was a creek and pond in the middle of a diorama in this commons area, I began to urinate in the water.  A class of students walked by and I tried hiding what I was doing by turning my back to them and walking away — but I didn’t stop what I was doing until my bladder was empty.  I sprayed pee all over the green fields and pastures in the diorama as I walked toward the door through which I’d entered the room.

Back in the living room, I stood near my friend, and saw a wadded piece of paper on the floor move as if it were blowing in the wind.  But there was no wind.  I thought this place might be haunted, and sat on the floor in the middle of the room next to my friend.  We began talking about spirits, and I recounted how I’d seen the wardrobe door handles move.  Then from that side room, which was dark again like when I’d entered it before,  I began to see a soft white glow reflecting on the open door.  The glow began to brighten.  We looked at each other with curious expressions on our faces.  “Listen,” I said, as a whirring sound began to emanate from the room.  The volume increased until it almost deafened me.  The sound suddenly ceased and the light went out.  I thought that was something….

I turned my head to the left and began to see a soft glow in the living room next to the front door.  I nudged my friend.  The glow began to grow brighter as it began moving toward us.  I was becoming excited, but not afraid.  Within seconds, the glow grew so bright it began to blind me in the darkness, and the light grew into the shape of a kerosene lantern, swinging in the air as if someone were carrying it as they walked.  The lamp quickly closed the distance to us, and I saw an arm carrying the lantern, and then began to sense the shape of a person.  The light passed through me and stopped between my friend and I.  There was a person, or rather many people, as the shape holding the lantern kept morphing into one person, then another.

Suddenly the living room was brightly lit, as the other room had become when I was in there.  This time, the spirit holding the light became many people who walked into an old-time western town and assumed roles of shopkeepers, blacksmiths and farmers.  I focused on one man who wore a strange cowboy hat holding a block and tackle under the man’s chin.  The man climbed to the peak of a barn roof, bent over and lifted something from the ground as he straightened up.  A mountain began growing from the floor, which had changed into a pasture while I’d watched the town take shape.  As the mountain grew and edged me out my place on the pasture, I noticed the word Santa followed by a name I was unable to make out before the mountain tipped me backwards off my feet.

When I recovered myself, standing up, I saw the mountain had actually become a massive chair carved out the base of a huge tree like a redwood or Douglas fir.  The seat on this throne was covered with leather, and the class from the other room began climbing onto it.  The wood was a rich, deep, dark brown.  The arms were carved up and in to a peak at the back, which had been carved into the shape of a face.  I followed the class, climbing into the seat.

The throne had a name, El Madre.  The wood came alive and the face at the top of the chair back stretched forward toward me.  The face began to speak to me in a deep, overpowering Native-American voice.  The throne began to rotate.  The face said to me, “You will never understand me because you have no trees.”

I looked at the land in front of the throne, and the land was bare, like a desert, or even more like the surface of Mars.  The throne continued to turn, and the landscape began to sprout ponderosa pines.  My friend was sitting in one of the tree tops.  The face said to me in a voice that made my chest shake, “You will never understand me because you have no animals.”  True, there were no birds in the tree branches or animals in the forest.

The throne turned toward a hill with a steep cliff on one side.  I saw a bison standing above the cliff.  There’s an animal, I thought.  I jumped from the throne toward the buffalo and grabbed its back.  I pulled it from the top of the cliff as I fell to the foot of the throne.  My friend jumped out of the tree top.  The seat of the throne turned from my view as I threw the bison’s head to the ground next to my friend’s feet.  But this wasn’t a bison at all, but a buffalo skin.

I still don’t have an animal, I thought.  I will never understand him.

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So what do you think?

I think I was simultaneously dreaming about caring for the earth, and God.

Why the earth?  I polluted it when urinating, the earth was scorched, without animals, and when I saw an animal, I sought to bring it down.

Why God?  First was the Spirit in the house, showing itself by moving things.  Then there was the light held by the changing spirit.  Many people created from the spirit built a community.  The name of the mountain that appeared said “Saint something” in Spanish.  The name of the throne “El Madre” meant Mother, but had the masculine article in front of the word, meaning Mother was both feminine and masculine, like biblical references to God.  I saw my friend a couple of times before I did something harmful to the earth.  The spirit stood between me and the friend at one point.  The friend represents sin, I think.  And finally, the living throne told me I would never understand him.  I don’t understand God.

But that doesn’t keep me from trying.