Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 2 - Your Favorite Movie

Ah, movies.  Once again, I don't feel it possible to pick just one movie as my favorite.  I like many different movies for many different reasons, so here's my award list of my favorite movies in different categories.

Disney Movie - The Little Mermaid.
I love all of the 90's Disney movies, but for me, The Little Mermaid started it all.  Perhaps this is because it was the first movie that my father took me to, just me and him.  It was a very special treat for me, and the movie will always have a place in my heart because of it.
Honorable Mentions: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin

Comedy - Princess Bride
Without a doubt, I can watch Princess Bride over and over again.  The best one-liners and funniest quotes come from this beloved flick.  From Andre the Giant to Carey Elwes, the cast is stellar and the delivery INCONCEIVABLY perfect. 
Honorable Mentions:  Easy A, Idiocracy, Mallrats, Accepted, Spaceballs

Political - V for Vendetta
Remember, remember the 5th of November.  A very well done movie with an important political message.  I love Natalie Portman in this one.  (For my husband's sake I must mention that Atlas Shrugged was overlooked because I couldn't get over the bad acting of the main character.)
Honorable Mentions: Braveheart, Wag the Dog, Election

Action - Pirates of the Caribbean
A tough call because I'm not a big action buff, but I love pirates and Johnny Depp, so this was a natural choice.  Gotta say, the most recent one was a bit of a flop for me, but the first will always be a favorite in our house.
Honorable Mentions: The Mummy, Taken, Day After Tomorrow

Fantasy - Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
In books this may be tougher, but without a doubt Lord of the Rings trilogy takes the cake for this one.  I am partial to the first one, but love all three and have watched them multiple times.  I am fascinated by elves, entertained by hobbits, amused by dwarves, and allured by rangers :)
Honorable Mentions:  Percy Jackson, Stardust, Interview with a Vampire

Animated - Finding Nemo
I really enjoy the animated movies intended for both adults and youngsters alike.   Many are favorites, but Finding Nemo epitomizes everything I love about this style of movie.  Dory is awesome!
Honorable Mentions:  Sword and the Stone, Toy Story, Monster's Inc, Shrek, The Incredibles

Sci-fi - Galaxy Quest
It may be argued that GQ is a comedy, and it is very funny, but it has all the aspects required to also fit into Sci-fi.  Since I'm not a big Sci-fi movie fan (preferring TV shows of that kind) it made it to the top of the list.
Honorable Mentions: Men in Black, Xmen

Spiritual - What Dreams May Come
I feel this is an often overlooked category, perfect for an often overlooked movie.  I love this movie, the painting scene alone is pure visual splendor.  I always feel something when I watch this movie.
Honorable Mentions: What the Bleep Do We Know, Dogma

Drama - Shawshank Redemption
Wonderfully written and incredibly acted, Morgan Freeman at his best.  This is the first drama movie to really get me.  Thought provoking and riveting.

Musical - Chicago
I love the show because of the strong female roles.  The movie, while creatively cast, had a very different take which I came to appriciate over time.
Honorable Mentions: South Park, Hair Spray

Fairy Tale/Medieval - Ever After
I love versions of fairy tales and this one is from my teenage years meaning fond memories.  I like the grittiness of this take, showing it's still a fairy tale without the fairy godmother and magic intervention.
Honorable Mentions: Ella Enchanted, First Knight

Fun Classic Movie - Love Potion #9
There are so many funny classic campy movies from the 80s and 90s and this one epitomizes them for me.  I have always loved Sandra Bullock in this movie, but the whole idea is a fun magical twist to a romantic comedy.
Honorable Mentions: Freaky Friday, Weird Science, Clue, Breakfast Club

I know there are many I have forgotten, but this is what I came up with while sitting here.  Feel free to chime in some classics that you love.  Some are omitted on purpose, but I may have forgotten some.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 1 - your favorite song

Your Favorite Song

This is always a tough question, as a I feel like my favorite song changes depending on my mood and over time.  I really like songs with meaningful words.

Truly Madly Deeply is the song my husband and I danced to at our wedding and will always have a special place in my heart.

One of my all time favorite songs is River of Dreams by Billy Joel.  I love the abstract message and cool beats of the song.  I also love the imagery and the vocabulary (I'm a sucker for any song that uses some of my favorite words, lol)

One song that I really identify with is Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.  The first time I heard it I was in a strange place in my life, and it really resonated with me.  Particularly the line "we've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way".

Another strange one that I absolutely love is Pure Imagination from the original Willy Wonka movie.  While it may not have been the best adaptation of the book, I loved the character of Wonka in that movie with his quotes and songs referencing so many things.  But the song Pure Imagination used to speak to the importance of imagination I felt as a child and now it speaks to my hopes and dreams.

My favorite Christmas song is a tough call because I LOVE Christmas songs.  They are all about magic and giving and believing.  I would have to go with Belleau Wood, the only Christmas song on Garth Brooks album Sevens.  It's an amazing story about war at Christmas time.

The hippie in me loves John Lennon's Imagine.  The mellow rocker in me lives for Margaritaville.  The New Ager in me loves Let Your Love Flow by the Bellamy Brothers.  The Taoist in me longs for Let It Be by the Beatles.

Other honorable mentions:
Don't Stop Believing - Journey
Wonderful World - Louie Armstrong
Rhythm of Love - Plain White T's
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
Joy to the World - Three Dog Night
Lean on Me - Bill Withers
Will You Be There - MJ
Bare Necessities - Jungle Book

I guess I turned this simple question in to a musical evaluation of myself, it was fun for me.  Any recommendations based on these?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

30 days of useless information

I have decided to participate in a blogger tradition from several years ago, and provide you with 30 days of useless information about me.  This not only helps readers get to know a little more about me, but helps to teach me about the features of blogger and gets me out of my own head.  A win/win situation, right?  So here's the list, I'm going to start soon and hopefully post everyday for the next 30 days.
  • Day 1 - your favorite song
  • Day 2 - your favorite movie
  • Day 3 - your favorite television program
  • Day 4 - your favorite book
  • Day 5 - your favorite quote
  • Day 6 - 20 of your favorite things
  • Day 7 - a photo that makes you happy
  • Day 8 - a photo that makes you angry/sad
  • Day 9 - a photo you took
  • Day 10 - a photo taken over 10 years ago of you
  • Day 11 - a photo of you recently
  • Day 12 - something you are OCD about
  • Day 13 - a fictional book
  • Day 14 - a non-fictional book
  • Day 15 - your dream house
  • Day 16 - a song that makes you cry (or nearly)
  • Day 17 - an art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc)
  • Day 18 - my wedding/future wedding/past wedding
  • Day 19 - a talent of yours
  • Day 20 - a hobby of yours
  • Day 21 - a recipe
  • Day 22 - a website
  • Day 23 - a youtube video
  • Day 24 - where you live
  • Day 25 - your day, in great detail
  • Day 26 - your week, in great detail
  • Day 27 - your worst habit
  • Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse
  • Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days
  • Day 30 - a dream for the future

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Revelation of Good Fortune

I have had a revelation of sorts today.  It is the beginning of a new year and I am fresh with new perspective.  I would like to share a few stories that some friends shared with me recently that really struck a cord.

Good Fortune
A man named Sei Weng owned a beautiful mare which was praised far and wide. One day this beautiful horse disappeared. The people of his village offered sympathy to Sei Weng for his great misfortune. Sei Weng said simply, "That's the way it is."

A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sei Weng for his good fortune. He said, "That's the way it is."

Some time later, Sei Weng's only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sei Weng's misfortune. Sei Weng again said, "That's the way it is."

Soon thereafter, war broke out and all the young men of the village except Sei Weng's lame son were drafted and were killed in battle. The village people were amazed as Sei Weng's good luck. His son was the only young man left alive in the village. But Sei Weng kept his same attitude: despite all the turmoil, gains and losses, he gave the same reply, "That's the way it is."

 Don't Hit the Dog
A man who had come to visit his brother for a few days went out one morning wearing a white coat.  It rained while he was out, so he changed his white coat to a black one before returning to his brother's house.  Upon the visitor's return, the house dog barked ferociously because it couldn't recognize the guest.  Angry at the dog's unfriendliness, the visitor picked up a stick in order to strike it.

"My dear brother, please don't hit the dog.  What if a dog with white hair had gone out in the morning and returned with dark hair in the evening - would you have recognized it?" his brother pleaded.

Looking at his black coat, the visitor laughed and put down the stick.

In most cases when people criticize us they have a reason, just as the barking dog.  So instead of getting upset and hitting back, maybe it's wiser to view ourselves from the angle of our critics, and we may even learn something.
~Luke Chan

Once upon a time in ancient China, there was a sage who taught the Tao to three disciples at a distant temple. Once every few months, they would make the long trip into town to purchase supplies.
On one of these trips, they paused by a field overgrown with weeds. The sage said to the disciples: "This field is like the human mind, and the weeds are like negative thoughts. Tell me, what do you think is the best way to get rid of the weeds?"

The first disciple was quick to answer: "Just pull up the weeds with your hands, Master. What can be easier than that?"

The second disciple disagreed: "That is not very effective. Look at how many weeds there are. You can only do so much before you get tired. The best way is to use tools like the shovel to uproot the weeds. In the same amount of time, you can do a lot more with less effort."

The third disciple shook his head: "Even that is not effective enough. Look at how big this field is. Even with tools, it will still take quite a while, and it will still be exhausting. The best way is fire. Set up a perimeter around the field, and then burn the whole thing. It takes some effort to preapre, but once that's done, you just stand back and watch the fire do all the work for you."

The sage smiled approvingly: "You've given three answers that are quite different, but all interesting."

Months passed, and soon it was time to go into town for supplies again. The sage and the disciples passed by the same field as before, but this time it was different. They saw that farmers had turned it into rice paddies.

The sage turned to them and said: "This is the reason why I did not name any of your answers as the correct one. None of you touched the level of the Tao."

The first disciple was curious: "What was wrong with our solutions, Master?"

"They were all temporary measures." The sage pointed out: "The weeds will grow back after you have cleared the field, regardless of your method. The only way to ensure that won't happen is to replace the weeds with something else - like the rice crop you see in front of you. Similarly, it is not enough to eliminate negative thoughts from your mind. You must also plant the seeds of positive thoughts. That is the only way to ensure that the negativity will never return."

~Derek Lin 

These are just a few of the stories that have helped me usher in the year of the Water Dragon with a completely new outlook.  
Be at Peace.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Typically, at this point in the year I reminisce about the happenings of the previous year.  I'm choosing not to do that this time, because frankly, the mere idea makes me sad.  It hasn't been a great year for me, emotionally, physically or spiritually.  We bought a new house and I completed my Master's degree.  These are the only things I wish to share, because I don't want to relive the frustrations and heartaches of the rest of it.

What I need is a new beginning, and on January 23, I will get one.  2011 was the year of the Gray (Metal) Rabbit, and it will be ending as we enter the year of the Blue Dragon.

The Dragon is my favorite of the Chinese astrological signs, because well, its a dragon.  It is the only mythical creature present among the animal representations (rat, ox, tiger, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig are the others).  Water is my favorite element, because it not only represents the Tao, but it has a calming effect on me, and I always feel better submerged in water.  It represents flexibility, patience, and power.

So, this coming year is the year of my two favorite things, water and dragons.  What does that mean for us?

The dragon represents intense power and divinity.  Keep in mind it is westerners who have formed the idea of dragons as beasts that need slain.  The ancient Chinese revered the creatures with honor and respect.  Dragons have always been a symbol of good fortune, meaning this next year should find some things looking up (great news for me!). 

Water appearing in the same year as the Dragon has a calming effect on the creature's uninhibited temperament, making Water Dragons the only ones with the ability to practice the art of patience.  They are very evaluative and flexible, able to get along in a variety of situations.

So, I'm looking forward to the year of the Blue Dragon, may it bring you all good fortune.