Living Write

Twenty Facts About Me

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Day two of the June blogging challenge sounded easy. Just needed to make a list of twenty facts about myself. Hmmm… this took a little longer to put together than I expected.

1. One of my favorite things to do is teach Bible class to little kids. I especially like teaching the stories that are a little gross or scary. The expressions on the kids’ faces are priceless.

2. I have lived my whole life in Texas, with the exception of a couple of summers spent in Idaho, when my dad staked mining claims in the early 1970’s.texas

3. I have seen every episode of Gilligan’s Island. Even the TV specials where they got rescued and re-stranded.

4. My favorite aisle at the grocery store is the one with the coffee, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter. The combination of those smells delights me.

5. I read Little Women a dozen times in the third grade. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer.

6. I have the original script to Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope memorized. I’m a complete geek.

7. I enjoy travel. I have a long list of places I’d like to see before I die.

8. I like to study history and geography. I am also a nerd.

9. I adore pirates, spies, Vikings, detectives, and space cowboys– real and fictional.pirates

10. I hate killing off characters in the stories I write. I will agonize and mourn for them for days. I know; it’s a problem.

11. I like birds, but only in pictures. They always poop on me. And no, I don’t believe that’s good luck.

12. I enjoy watching old movies, especially ones with Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn, or both.

13. I dream in color. Always. Once I even had a dream in cartoon. Really.

14. My favorite authors are Ian Fleming, Rex Stout, and Agatha Christie.

15. I love holding babies.

16. I have an irrational fear of clowns, sharks, and alligators, and a rational fear of spiders, snakes, and scorpions. (I have been stung by scorpions twice.)

17. I am allergic to strawberries. Not the throat-closing-can’t-breathe kind of allergy, but the hives-from-my-nose-to-my-knees kind.

strawberry

18. I was 38 years old when I finally got my ears pierced.

19. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always respond with “Carol Burnett.” I still do.

20. I can carry entire conversations with movie quotes and song lyrics.

Anything else you’d like to know? Just ask.

Cinema Toast

The Music Effect

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Music does this really weird thing to me. You know how in movies when you have this obsessed detective or even a stalker who has a wall or secret room covered with a jillion photographs connected to each other with a web made of about three miles-worth of brightly-colored yarn? That’s my brain on music.

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Example: After I added some music to a play list on my laptop, the song “Twistin’ the Night Away” by Sam Cooke began. I start to dance immediately. (I was also folding laundry at the time.) I did the Twist, the Fly, and the Watusi, as instructed. Suddenly I think about Gilligan’s Island, because of course, in one episode Ginger is instructing one of the other castaways in the correct form for dancing the Watusi.

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Before I finish that thought, my mind jumps to the scene in Innerspace when Martin Short’s character is drinking and dancing to the same song. I adore that movie. Fast-forward to the end of the film when the credits roll. Short is racing down the road to save Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan from the bad guys, and the song is blasting again, this time sung by Rod Stewart.

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For a quick moment I think of how much I appreciate Rod Stewart for recording older songs like that—fun and beautiful classics that deserve a new audience.

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Hopping back to “Twistin’ the Night Away,” which is only half-over at this point, I think about how smooth Sam Cooke’s voice is—even on a party song like this. What a voice he had. And how sad that a talent like his was lost in such terrible circumstances. He was killed in a hotel at the age of 33, his death ruled justifiable homicide because he was inebriated and… it’s just like a movie.

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Why haven’t they made a movie about his life? Who would play him? Denzel Washington is too old for the part. Even Hill Harper is past 33. Maybe that cute Dayo Okeniyi from Hunger Games? I wonder when the next Hunger Games movie comes out…

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Yep, all of that in a 2 minute-41 second song. While I’m dancing. And folding clothes. I told you it was weird.

 

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

Cinema Toast

Fun With My Imaginary Friends

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When I was little I always wanted to be my favorite TV or movie characters. That’s one of the reasons I loved Halloween and costume parties. Those were my opportunities, rare as they were, to dress up as Princess Leia (Star Wars) or Kelly Garrett (Charlie’s Angels) or Mary Ann Summers (Gilligan’s Island).
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In high school I took Theatre Arts so that I could reprise the roles of my most beloved actresses. Like Judy Garland, I got to play Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. I played the role of Lizzie, Katherine Hepburn’s role from The Rainmaker. I even had the part that Vicki Lawrence played in a skit once performed on The Carol Burnett Show.

 

 

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As an adult it’s much more difficult to “pretend” you are someone else, unless you’re a professional actor or don’t mind being put under doctor’s observation. My dilemma is this: how can I indulge that little urge without completely embarrassing myself or, more importantly, my family?

My friends and I came up with a fun game of make-believe that we play at restaurants. When the host/hostess asks for a name to call when our table is ready, we leave them the name of one of our favorite characters. It’s great fun. It makes the host smile when they recognize the name, and it’s a hoot to watch the other patrons’ facial expressions.

We’ve used Charles Carmichael and John Casey (Chuck), Jack Shephard (Lost), Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and others. At one of our preferred local eating establishments the hosts know us and ask, “Who are you today?”  It makes their job  more fun, too.
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Is this silly? Yes, and ridiculous, but don’t we have enough boring and grown-up stuff that we have to do already? I’m not suggesting taking on an alter ego for anything important, serious, or legally binding. However, for the little moments that would be otherwise boring and mundane, I say enjoy! Rather than saying good-bye to our fictional movie friends when the credits roll, enjoy them just a little longer by taking them with you for times such as these.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!

Cinema Toast

I Have a Theory

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This last week I watched the 1957 movie, Attack of the Crab Monsters, starring Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan and Russell Johnson, as researchers studying a strange shrinking island.

This film is a B-movie in just about every sense of the word. Sets, acting, “special” effects, and script all epitomize the standard of a classic (classically bad) sci-fi horror flick.

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But it was Monday night, and there was really nothing better on TV, so we pulled up the Netflix menu and decided to give the monsters a spin. We knew it had to be good, because the only actor we recognized was Russell Johnson, who later became the “Professor” on Gilligan’s Island. (I suppose I’ve always loved geeks.)

My oldest son, my husband, and I all watched intently. We gasped in “horror” when the first sailor had his head pinched off by the giant sea creatures. Radiation is never good for crustaceans that carry a grudge. We chuckled throughout the film as each of the main characters asked Dr. Karl Weigand, played by Leslie Bradley, what could be causing the noises, earthquakes, and destruction. Each time he would respond with, “I don’t know, but I have a theory.”

He would then proceed to explain exactly what was happening. He was an amazing guesser.

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We laughed, we cried, it was better than Cats. Well… it was. And all because it was completely terrible.

Why do I love these silly cinemas? I have a theory. I believe it’s because they are a somewhat skewed window back to a simpler time, technologically. In a world where every little aspect of life is controlled by gadgets and computers, a film about irradiated crabs causing whole islands to sink into the ocean is somehow fun.

Relationships were easier. The one woman in the movie had a choice between the two good-looking men. The monsters were overpowering, but easily defeated. Just a little zap of electricity turned them to ashes. The technology was simple. Just fix a radio. I’ve seen the Professor do it thousands of times with nothing more that a fish and a couple coconuts.

It was fun. Good writing? No. Great story-telling? Maybe not. A nice evening with my family? Absolutely.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.