Friday, March 28, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things- The End of March

Thanks to Viklit for hosting us!
This week I'm celebrating...

Finally started writing up my A to Z posts!  I know some of you uber-organized folks have already finished writing every danged one of your 26 posts and have them scheduled to go live.  Well, I'm not that organized, so there!  *sticks tongue out in as childish a manor as possible*  Seriously though, it feels good to have started the process and if I can manage to stay at least a week ahead in scheduling then I should still be able to visit as many folks as possible (which we all know is the primary purpose, anyway).

House of Cards  After going absolutely nuts over this amazing show last year we moved on to several other fantastic series and sort-of forgot a lot of the details of season one.  When season two premiered back in February we were neck-deep in one of those other series and therefore unable to watch it.  Well, we finally switched back to House of Cards, rewatched the first season and then moved onto to season two.  That season two opener was just freakin' amazing.  There's a moment about 3/4 of the way through the ep that is so shocking it left both of us with mouths agape for several minutes as we alternated between "I can't believe that just happened!" and other exclamations.  There's just nothing that can compare with Kevin Spacey at his most evil.  So epic!

Well, I'm back to working on my A to Z posts.  Here's hoping you all have a fantastic end of March.  See you all on Tuesday!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Movie Review: The Muppets Most Wanted

Quick note: This movie doesn't take itself seriously enough to worry about spoilers but if you're really anal about that stuff skip this till you've seen it.  If not, read on!

Let me just take a moment and say how incredibly happy I am that they are making Muppet movies again.  2011's The Muppets was the first Muppet movie in 12 years and the experience of seeing my favorite childhood friends back on the big screen after such an incredibly long absence was just overwhelming.  Seriously, I cried like a baby throughout that movie because I was so happy to see them again!  Well, that and it was really sad at points.

The aforementioned is why I found this film so refreshing.  Not only does it prove that the franchise has been successfully revitalized (as their opening number "We're doing a sequel" celebrates) but it's also about a thousand times more lighthearted than it's 2011 predecessor.

They throw around ideas for what movie they should make in the beginning, poking fun at the plots they've already used in past films (and verifying that this 'sequel' is technically the 7th sequel since the original Muppet Movie).  One of the main bad guys of the film has the last name "Badguy".  When Kermit gets arrested they throw him into a police vehicle labeled "plotpoint".  When Tina Fey bids goodnight to the prisoners Waltons-style she calls Danny Trejo by name, just to point out how stuffed-to-the-gills with cameos the movie is.
More famous celebrities than you can shake a stick at!

But regardless of all this star power, we all know who we're really there to see and this movie features them more than the 2011 film did by giving them the bulk of the dialogue, action and singing tasks.  (It's not uncommon to find a scene with no human participants and I personally found that refreshing.)
The real stars
Which isn't to say that the actors don't do a bang-up job.  Ricky Gervais is fantastic as the under appreciated sidekick to Kermit's look-alike Constantine (A.K.A. "The most dangerous frog in the world") and holds his own despite a scene-stealing frog.

And Ty Burrell rocks as the Interpol agent trying to catch the criminal masterminds.  (It helps that he spends the bulk of the movie channeling Inspector Jacques Clouseau.)

But my personal favorite was definitely Tina Fey as the hard-nosed jail warden keeping Kermit locked up in Siberian purgatory.  Her performance of "The Big House" was delightful and her deft maneuvering of Kermit's many escape attempts will make every fan of prison break-out movies ecstatic.
“I have Netflix account with search key words ‘prison escape', I have seen every prison movie ever made, even the ones in space.”

Overall I'd have to say my only disappointment was the use of Kermit and Miss Piggy's wedding as a plot device.  I know that when you're raving about how overwhelmingly silly a movie is you can't really stand firm in your criticisms of that same movie's ignorance of the characters' previous canon- but I can't help it.  Their wedding in The Muppets Take Manhattan (which is still my favorite Muppet movie of them all) was one of the most romantic moments of my childhood and I just can't abide this film's refusal to acknowledge that it ever happened.  Though even I have to admit that Miss Piggy looks a ton more impressive in Vivienne Westwood than she did in that super-poofy 80's wedding dress.

Still, nothing will ever replace the moment Kermit finally sang his petrified "I do" back in 1984.
The most romantic moment of little Bev's young life

But I digress.  The almost-wedding doesn't distract from what is overall a kick-ass movie full of all the laughs, gags, singing, dancing and heart that one expects from the Muppets.  If you're a fan (and I assume you are, why else would you be reading this?) you will love this new addition to the long line of fantastic Muppet exploits.  And if you're a parent who grew up with these guys and want to introduce them to your little ones this isn't a bad start.  And heck, if you just like being happy, this is also a great choice for that.

I guess my point is that I love the Muppets.  Always have, always will.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Celebrate the Big Reveal!

Happy Spring, everyone!  Today's post is a double whammy to both reveal my theme for next month's A to Z challenge and Celebrate the Small Things.  HUGE thanks to my friend Writerly Sam and her super team Vidya Sury, Anna Tan, Csenge Zalka, Guilie Castillo Oriard, Jemima Pett & Mary Wallace!
Thanks so much for hosting!  You guys all rock my socks off with your awesomeness!

My theme for this year is non-fictional and revolves around my #1 non-writing pastime: Tang Soo Do!  
 I am going to be testing for my 3rd Dan (A.K.A. 3rd degree black belt) in June and in order to help psych me up for this mother of all tests I'm spending a month educating any and all who are interested about the martial art I study.  Ever wonder who came up with this particular martial art?  Wanna know where they got the colors for the belts we wear?  How the heck do those roundhouse kicks work, anyway?
Look no further than The Beveled Edge for the answers to these and many other burning questions about Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan.  It's going to be an epic month!

Don't forget to visit all the awesome bloggers revealing their themes today!  Just click here to see the full list.

Next up, since it is Friday:
It's time once again to Celebrate the Small Things with our very own Viklit!  What am I celebrating?

Tang Soo Do  Obviously.

Another 5 pounds down!  That brings my overall total up to 15!  I haven't been this light since college!  And my stomach is looking markedly more flat than it was when I started all this.  My aim weight-wise is to toss another 5 of fat and hopefully replace the left over pounds with lots of lean muscle so that come June I can totally kick ass at my test.  So needless to say, there's still A LOT more training to do- but 15 pounds is totally worth a pause and some serious celebration.

Muppets!  (For real this time)  So last weekend I posted on here that I was out-of-my-mind excited for the new Muppet movie.  Turns out I was so damned excited that I imagined the whole thing- today is opening day. 
My face was a brighter shade of red than Animal's when I found out I'd gotten the date wrong and I was super embarrassed to admit to my mistake.  But thankfully I only had to wait another week before the thrill of Muppets on the big screen.  Needless to say, I'm elated it's finally time.  (And this time you really can expect to see the review up here over the weekend!)

And now, as always, hop along to the other folks on the list to keep the celebration going!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It's the 2014 Wormfest!

This week marks the 2nd Annual Wormhole Week celebrating advances in science and all the amazing stuff those geniuses come up with!

For 2014, the theme is to name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where the same technology with unforeseen consequences will go too far and set mankind back. 

My selection is something that's been coming up a lot lately within my work (I'm a therapist): social media.  My clients will talk about time they spend on Facebook and I keep running into the same phenomenon: it's actually disconnecting people.  Rather than having an actual conversation, a REAL connection, we are instead connecting with these surface-level representations of people.  Sure, I can see pictures of your kids and I can catch up on what's going on with your hobbies but I'm not actually connecting with you.

The real danger (or least the issue that's coming up most often within my sessions) is that we see these presentations and we think that counts as connecting.  I sent a text, I left a comment, I posted a link- I connected.  But did I really?  Then why do I still feel so lonely?

A ridiculously intelligent woman named Sherry Turkel talked about this at great length (and with far more eloquence than I can manage) in 2012 and although it's a long video (20 minutes), it's so WORTH  it to watch.
"We expect more from technology and less from each other."

I appreciate the irony that this blog is in and of itself a form of social media.  I like to think that you all reading this post and leaving me your comment makes us connected on some level- but it's never going to replace the need for me to spend time snuggling with my sweetie, hugging my friend and having an actual face-to-face conversation complete with all the stumbles and slip ups that mark my humanity and let the other person see the unedited me.  That's what technology cannot give us.  We need to connect, for real.

Celebrating the release of Escalation by Stephen Tremp. 
Together, Breakthrough, Opening, and Escalation follow the lives of the unlikely participants from innocence to a coming of age through sacrifice, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, and hope. Escalation is an international thriller and will appeal to fans of modern-day science fiction, action, horror, and a bit of romance for the ladies.  (Click the pic above to get yours!)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things- March 14th

Happy Friday to all, and especially to this hop's founder, Viklit!

This week I'm celebrating:

My Truly AMAZING Co-workers  It's funny- the thing that I liked most about my last job was my co-workers or "work family".  I was a little scarred upon leaving them, not knowing who would await me at my new job.  Well, turns out my new work family is just astounding.

I had a mini-freak out in group supervision yesterday about all of my insecurities and fears (cause when it comes down to it the work we do really is pretty damned hard).  You know what I got?  Support.  A deluge of support and love and "I feel the same way" and "It just means you're doing an amazing job" and "you're a rock star" and so many other overwhelmingly supportive things I can't even recount them all.  It gave me a warm fuzzy that lasted all night long (actually, I've still got it).  I LOVE my co-workers.  And I'm astounded that I got so lucky as to be a part of this group.

Walt Whitman's Poetry  I wrote about it on Tuesday, and I will be writing more about it as I keep reading but suffice it to say that it's seriously effecting my outlook on things.  Several times this week I've found myself thinking of his words as I interacted with clients, listened to both the struggles and triumphs, contemplated the nature of things.  I don't think I've been this affected by poetry I read since high school.

MUPPETS!  Guess what I'm doing this weekend?  New Muppet movie!!!  *screams and throws arms in air in a decidedly Kermit-like fashion*
 You can, needless to say, expect to see a review on here by the end of the weekend...

And now, as always, time to make like a bunny and hop along...


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#NaNoReMo: What Walt Whitman Can Teach Me

I’m only a few pages into it but already I am absolutely astounded by the amount of love that this man has for the world he lives in, the body he occupies, the people he interacts with, the nature he sees, smells, feels and the entirety of the life that he lives. It just floors me.

Through his eyes everything- literally everything in existence- is a gift. And you can choose to accept it and if you do it can be used as a tool to build you up. (And it is equally true that it can tear you down, or that you can choose to reject it. But he rejects nothing.)

If you want to learn how to love your fellow man, read Walt Whitman. If you want to learn to love nature equally to the love you feel for the caress of your lover’s body, read Walt Whitman. If you want to let the morning light move you on a spiritual level, read Walt Whitman. If you want to embrace death rather than fearing it, read Walt Whitman. If you want every experience of your life to alter your perspective on life itself, read Walt Whitman.

At least, that’s what I’m getting out of it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things- It's March!

Happy Friday, all!  Thanks as always to the creator of this lovely hop- VikLit over at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author.

I have a lot to celebrate this week!

Ten Pounds!  My boyfriend and I made a bet with his brother and sister-in-law at the beginning of the year.  The terms are that you have to lose 10% of your overall body weight by April 30th.  I joined a gym and started going 4x a week not only for the sake of the bet but also because my 3rd Dan black belt test is coming up in June and I desperately need the strength and cardio training.  Thanks to my efforts, I've lost ten pounds!  Woot!

NaNoReMo  My wonderful friend John over at The Bathroom Monologues is again hosting the annual National Novel Reading Month over at his site (click on the link to learn more/sign up).  The challenge is to pick a "classic" book from off your shelf that you've always meant to read but never did and finally make time to read it.  My selection is Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass- a very ambitious selection for someone who reads as slowly as me- but I'm psyched to finally be tackling this giant tome.

Blogging Again  I put up two posts last month.  Two.  I missed last month's IWSG, countless Friday celebrations and more blitzes than I could count.  Horrible.  I'm so incredibly happy to just be here again, connecting with you fantastic folks and talking and thinking about writing.  It's been entirely too long and I am NOT going to let it happen again- this is just way too important to let go of again.

A big, fat "YAY!!!" to everyone on their celebrations- I'll be hopping along now...