by MD Maurice
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Welcome to the place were I chronicle my own falls down dark holes and adventures chasing white rabbits! Come on In, Take a Bite, You Never Know What You May Find...
"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice in Wonderland
|Blog Harbor Challenge Weekly Theme: MUSIC
Prompt - Day 17:
Moment of truth time. If someone were to put your entire music collection on random, what would be the most mortifying song to come up? In other words, of all the songs you own, which one is the most embarrassing to admit to? C'mon... fess up! *Smirk*
I am immensely proud of my vast and varied musical tastes. My playlist is an epic journey through many different genres and a celebration of everything from smooth jazz to classical piano, to acoustic singer-song writer gems and crushing rock anthems. I pride myself on having an open appreciation of musical talent even if my playlists seem to be generated by someone suffering from acute identity disorder. I connect with certain things about artists/songs and they stick with me. For example, I love Joss Stone. Her voice is soulful and sultry, a bit raspy but wholly unique in the way she oozes through any song, barefoot and breezy on the stage. I appreciate the verbal command of Macklemore, the poetry of "Neon Cathedral" is simply amazing, especially paired with Allen Stone's soulful chorus. Jack White's, "Lazaretto" is just profoundly good, driving rock that shakes you out. For the most part, songs that make my playlist ultimately do it because there is something about them that sets them apart...sometime its talent of the artists, the lyrics, the musical composition or arrangement.
However...there is that rare time when I like something for a reason even I can't explain or justify, my "guilty pleasure", my "something doesn't belong with the others" song. For me, that would be pretty much any song from Hole's 1998 album, Celebrity Skin. I simply do not know why I like that album so much, only that I do. Much to the chagrin of my college roommates, I played it a lot in college. A lot. Courtney Love leaves much, much to be desired as a lead vocalist and the arrangements of many of the songs sound rushed, as if they threw them together to save on studio costs. Yet...in it's messy, ugly chaos, there is something that I just enjoy. One of my particular favorites from the album is "Doll Parts", and its an languid sort-of ballad in which Love almost sounds like she's trying too hard to be the ethereal Mazzy Star. The hard driving song "Violet" gives way to Love's screaming through the high notes with an ugly brilliance that I sometimes leave on repeat to get me through a particularly tough day at the office. So, there you have it...the worst album I am be a bit embarrassed to admit I love. In case you need a dose of Ms. Love in all her messy glory...(you're welcome??)
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 1582- Prompt: April 17, 2018
Prompt: What makes us emotionally dependent on people or anything else? And do you think a person might have emotional dependencies with or without being conscious of them?
I would like to think that as human beings we all have the capacity to be emotionally dependent on someone. If not, how else would we experience love and loss so acutely? I think in any life journey we develop those dependencies, some of which we may not even be conscious of, and it makes our lives richer, more full. Of course, there is the risk of being co-dependent which is why maintaining our own outlook and presence is so important. We can not love someone so much that we begin to live only for them. We always need to remember to take care of our own needs, even in the midst of a committed relationship. Even the most dedicated and devoted mother understands she's raising a child that will eventually leave her, and move into their own life. We are raising our children to be adept at leaving us, and building an independent and successful existence for themselves.
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1979: April 17, 2018
Prompt: What are your calming rituals?
My job can be demanding. There are days when the stress level drives me to the edge of sanity. I employ several calming methods to avoid pitching my computer out of my office window or throwing hot coffee on my man-baby coworkers. On the days when I want to calm myself and simultaneously scare any interlopers from my office doorway, I'll play my "angry tunes" on Spotify. Nothing says, "leave me alone" right now like blasting Saliva or The Pretty Reckless at almost unacceptable volume.
Also, nothing saves me from going to prison like sipping a cup of steamy, frothy latte in the abandoned coffee room. Sometimes that silly latte machine is all the stands between me and cursing tirades worthy of a straight jacket.
When my coffee and my tunes are not readily available, and a glass of wine and bubble bath are not in the cards, then I count. I count over and over again from 10 down to 1, each time taking one or two seconds more between each number. I might do this ten or 20 times before I find I'm breathing slower, that I feel calmer and more centered.
DAY 1581- Prompt: April 16, 2018
by Prompt: Is opportunity something that happens or comes to you on its own or is it something you can create for yourself? If both, which one applies more to your life?
In my life I'd had several opportunities that have come to me both organically and because I actively pursued them. More often then not, I've sought out the opportunities for myself, worked for them. It is rare that an opportunity has come to me by pure chance.
Once upon a time I found myself a recipient of a scholarship to the Semester at Sea. A teacher had nominated me for consideration for the program and written at letter of recommendation and support. I was given the opportunity to do a week of scientific research and study aboard a 180 foot teaching sail boat out of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It proved to be one of the most rewarding and revealing experiences of my high school career. It was challenging, the first 24-48 hours I battled crippling sea sickness and crushing fatigue. Then, as our young captain said it would, the sickness left us as suddenly as it had come upon us. The next three days were filled with deck side classes on sailing, long sessions in the learning in the lab and exciting experiences like finding ourselves on the edge of the Gulfstream where the water turned an amazing 70 degrees. We all were allowed to jump over the side and swim in the open ocean. One afternoon we worked with the other scientists to pull the rafts of floating sargassum weed out and onto the deck and spent hours categorizing the organisms we found living on these islands of seaweed. On the way back, we were treated to a visit by a mother and calf humpback whale. Their immense gray bodies slipped under our hull and out the other side with a quiet grace that left us all speechless. It was one of the greatest, most memorable opportunities that was ever granted, unsolicited, to me.
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1978: April 16, 2018
Prompt: April 16 is Save The Elephant Day. Write a blog entry about Pachyderms. Do you have any memories of elephants you have seen?
What is not to love about Elephants? They are immense and powerful yet they can move with astonishing speed and grace. They are matriarchal, with the elder females running the herd. They are intelligent, emotional animals. What is more enjoyable then watching a wrinkled, furry baby elephant chase birds or play in the mud?
Like many of our planet's amazing resources, they are also threatened and in desperate need of conservation and protection. For more information on how you can be part of the effort to save these wonderful creatures, here are a few groups that are doing some amazing work to help:
|Blog Harbor Challenge
Weekly Theme: MUSIC ▼
Prompt - Day 16:
Soundtrack songs. Which song from a movie/TV/game/etc. soundtrack has the most emotional impact on you? What song, when you hear it, brings you right back to the scene in question and gets you teary-eyed, overjoyed, amped up, etc. all over again?
This prompt brings to mind two songs from two movies that are such complete and utter polar opposites I surprise myself!
One of my favorite movies from back in the day is the 1986 film Manhunter, based on the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. It was the first film to feature Hannibal Lector but it centered around another serial killer cops dubbed the "Tooth Fairy" for the bite marks he left on his victims. The final scene when Will Graham has closed in on the killer, played wonderfully by the uncanny Tom Noonan, the song accompanying the epic climax is "In a Gadda Da VIda" by Iron Butterfly. It is quite literally the most perfectly paired score for any scene ever. Okay, I may be overstating it a little but the song does fit it all the right ways to the killer's powerful screen presence. He stalks across the screen nearly in time with the song's rifts, cutting an imposing figure with an eruption of violence and force. Here's a link to the scene if you care to see what I mean.
At the other end of the cinematic spectrum is my second choice...a very close second. The soundtrack from Moana, in my humble opinion, features one of the best musical scores to date. The song, "We Know the Way" produced by the amazing Lin-Manuel Miranda is introduced by solitary drumbeats that bring to life the cave and its historical importance to Moana and her people. It tells the story in a beautiful, lyrical way - masterfully sweeping you up in the moment. The animation throughout the film is stunning, but even more so in this particular sequence, is stunning. The song is moving and catchy, you find yourself soaring with it, singing it well after the credits roll, days and days later.
|Blog Harbor Challenge
Weekly Theme: MUSIC
Prompt - Day 15:
Songs you hate. Tell us about one or more songs that you would be perfectly content to never hear again in your life, ever.
As my daughter was growing up, I had an expanding playlist of toddler songs that would play each morning on the commute to daycare. Most of them were tolerable. I even managed to find a They Might Be Giants children's album filled with quirky, catchy hits that became a car ride favorite. Overall, there was not one song that I genuinely disliked...until she found "Gummi Bear". It is a looping, electronic blunder with a maniacal chorus that sounds like its sung by a cocaine addiction robot from Hell. She used to listen to it on repeat. I was alarmed to learn it had been translated in several different languages including Spanish and German. Why?! It's, in a word, horrific. I'm not sure I can adequately describe its particular brand of awful so here is a link for anyone brave enough to give a listen.
Luckily my vast and varied musical tastes have rubbed off on my daughter. I consider it one of my parenting wins that she regularly listens to everything from Joss Stone and ZZ Ward to Broadway show tunes to Walk off the Earth and Santana. Now our rides are filled with a full and complex soundtrack that winds through countless genres and artists. There is still that odd, random morning when she gains control of my "phone music" and finds that one musical selection that I keep forgetting to delete from the musical memory. She plays it now to mess with me more than anything and as my ears bleed, I catch a glimpse of her smiling wickedly in the rear view mirror.
|"Blog Harbor from The Talent Pond"
PROMPT (DAY 14): Blogger's Choice! All you have to do today is write about any movie and tell us why. What are you dying to talk about? Do you want to praise or rip on a movie you just saw? Mention your favorite movie that didn't fit into any of the prompts so far this week? Talk about your most eagerly-anticipated movie of this year? As long as you talk a little about why you picked it, write about any movie you want, past, present, or future!
One of the most thought provoking films I've seen recently is the movie, "The Shack". I found myself at turns both hating and loving it. Admittedly, tackling the concepts of Heaven, life after death and the holy trinity as central themes, is certainly admirable for how ambitious it is. I also laud the movie for having the best of intentions as well. I found the inclusion of some of the darker elements of the crime, namely the kidnap and murder of a young child, hard to justify in end. I argued with myself whether or not viewer needed that particular scene in order to accept the fundamental premise of the movie. I loved the casting and portrayal of the character meant to represent Jesus Christ in his earthly form. The writers and director really made it easy to connect with the character in much the way Christians are raised to see Jesus of Nazareth and his role in their spiritual journey to God. Scenes with this character brought to mind the engaging and comforting elements of Sunday school teachings for me.
I was raised Catholic and married into a mixed faith marriage. My husband and I are both largely lapsed in our respective faiths and we watched this movie together. He found it interesting and the physical depiction of the holy trinity might have made a little more sense to him as opposed to my convoluted explanations. Overall the movie message was universally about forgiveness and regardless of your faith, its a concept that we all can get behind. It was very thought provoking, not all entirely enjoyable in the traditional sense, but it made us think and talk about it after. It has stayed with me long after the viewing which, in my book, means something.
|Blog Harbor Prompt - Day 13:
Adaptations! You're still the head of a major studio, so what piece of material (can be anything except another movie: a book, comic, TV show, toy, news article, real life true story, etc.) would you choose to have adapted into a feature motion picture? Also, which movie do you think was the absolute best adaptation of the source material (best can be either most faithful or most improved, your choice)?
Each time I've read a great book I've thought about how it might be translated on the big screen. Dan Simmons epic coming of age novel, "Summer of Night" is perhaps the one book I'd most like to see adapted for a feature film. The story follows a raggy crew of small town adolescents during the summer when something begins to take shape in the shadows and under their feet. The "something" is a slow burn of uber-creepy events leading up to an epic showdown, not unlike when a similar group kids face-off against the murderous clown in "It". Simmon's writing is top notch. He lures you into this idyllic every-town and allows you to be engaged by these ordinary, familiar kids and their summer flavored adventures. These are likely characters...the caring brothers, the tom-boy girl, the budding writer and the reluctant hero. They are endearing and awkward. I have to believe the casting director would have a blast casting the young actors that would anchor a story that is at turns, part "Stranger Things", part "Goonies". I would love to see how Hollywood would handle the big scares that come increasing more frequently as the book boils to its conclusion...the giant "worms", decaying corpses and murderous farm machinery to name a few. The tale has the potential for a great film I think if the adaption stays true to the vision of the author and the screenplay is as well written as the book.
As far as what movie, in my opinion, was the best adaptation of the source material...I'd would have to go with the Chronicles of Narnia or the Harry Potter's franchise. There is pure enjoyment for me in seeing these stories, so ripe with imagination and magic, on the big screen. You read about Aslan and you picture him in your mind and then, there he is, bigger than life with that magnificent mane, those soulful eyes - just as you imaged he would look, and its just amazing. It is equally joyous to read about the halls of Hogwarts or the quiddich field and then get to see them translated in living color. I'm impressed with how well the movies have mirrored these books and how well the studios have given life to JK Rowling's worlds and characters.
|Blog Harbor Challenge
Prompt - Day 12:
Congratulations, you're now the head of a major motion picture studio! You have the final say over what films get made and how much money is spent on them! With your newfound authority, you can remake or reboot any film from the past. Which will you choose and why? And, more importantly, how big a movie would you make? Would you want to do a big budget remake of a cult classic? A Star Wars movie with a small indie feel? A complete reboot of the Transformers franchise? A future-set sci-fi adaptation of Titanic? This is your chance to overhaul a movie of your choice from the past... tell us a little about what that project is and how you see the new version turning out!
One could argue that The Goonies might well be perfect the way it is...but part of me wonders what the big studios could do with the movie today. I'm on the razor's edge of the possibility though because I loved everything about it as it was...the cast, the creepy caverns, one-eyed Willy. In its time, the movie was epic. Some of the best movies are memorable because they so perfectly captured the time and place of the story that its difficult to think of them undergoing a slick updating without losing some of that retro appeal. For example, could Reality Bites be redone as effectively in today's social media savvy world? What would we lose if it was recast without it's grunge and snarl? It would lose more than it would gain as a picture I think. The same case could be made for The Goonies. So having talked myself out of a great Goonies reboot, I would most likely tackle another favorite classic of mine...The Lost Boys.
The Lost Boys is in far less danger of losing character to nostalgia and could reap more from being recast and remade by a big studio with large a large budget for special effects. The ramped up cinematography could only bring a new audience to a genre that is well-loved. It may even reclaim that genre for those of us who do not think Vampires should ever "sparkle in the sun".
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 1577 April 12, 2018
Prompt: A colorful way of living. Write anything you want about this.
The spray can coughed up one final blaze of cherry before it hissed empty in her palm. She tossed it aside and took a step back, surveying her work. She smiled. It could have used a bit more red but overall it was pretty epic, stretching as it did, along most of the building's south wall. She lost herself following the lines and swirls of color for a moment, her eyes traveling the expanse of her art, appreciating its scope and statement. Realizing she was losing the light, she quickly tagged the piece and tossed the expired spray cans in her backpack. She took a few more photos on her phone and uploaded them to her blog, #artfulprotest, and turned off into the night.
The building would be torn down within the week. Her masterpiece, like all the others, would fall to dust and mortar as they always did. For a few days though, her protest would rage in blazing pigments, urban and brutal and beautiful. She had coaxed her cause to beautiful, colorful life and there was a strange power in its brief existence.
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1974 April 12, 2018
"The meditative state of mind a poem induces can be a rehumanizing force, an antidote to the din of daily life. More than anything, I'm looking for the kind of silence that yields clarity." Tracy K.Smith America's Poet Laureate
"the kind of silence that yields clarity", is a scarce commodity in my household. There is near constant noise, constant demands on my attention. Every app my daughter uses on the ipad is infested with juvenile sounds. Youtube is a frequent auditory plague in my house. The dogs chime in with their raucous chorus whenever anyone passes the house, rings the doorbell, or delivers food. Silence, that true and pure kind, comes as a rare and beautiful thing in my home. On the nights when both my daughter and husband go to sleep early and ensconcing the dogs in with them, the house falls miraculously quiet. I cherish those hours of relative silence.
|Blog Harbor Challenge - Day 11:
It's Oscar time! You get to put together your all-time best Oscar ballot! Movies don't necessarily have to have been nominated for an Oscar or even be an awards-type film (if you truly think the Best (Quality) Picture you've ever seen is Caddyshack, or that Ryan Reynolds' turn as Deadpool will never be surpassed by the performance of another actor, that's totally okay as long as you honestly believe your selection is the pinnacle of achievement in that particular field. Not your favorite, not your guilty pleasure, not the one you'd like to win... your honest-to-God pick for the best representation of each category. Think of this like Fantasy Football for movies!
BIG SIX CATEGORIES (REQUIRED)
Best Picture: Mr Holland's Opus
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro for Pan's Labyrinth
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Richard Dreyfus, for Mr. Holland's Opus
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Charlize Theron, for Monster
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto, for Dallas Buyer's Club
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander, for The Danish Girl
Wasn't sure if these had to all be current Oscar contenders or not so I just used my all-time favorite picks for each.
Mr. Holland's Opus is an amazing, uplifting movie with a stellar cast about a composer and music teacher who's only son is born deaf. It is a marvelous story about human spirit and is a wonderful tribute to the impact great teachers have on their students. My all time favorite movie and worthy of accolades abounding in my humble opinion. Richard Dreyfus's portrayal is heartfelt and engaging and was an easy first choice for my Best Actor pick.
I love Guillermo del Toro for all his quirky and visually compelling work. He is a fresh force in the industry and I like that he doesn't easily slip into the mold.
Best Actress was easy too. Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful actresses to grace the big screen but her role in Monster of a female serial killer is such a departure for her that it sticks with me as one of her most standout roles. As convicted murder, Aileen Wuornos, she is physically repellent but incredibly compelling. Largely sympathetic, her performance is visceral and gut-wrenching and very memorable. I am certain she won the oscar for this role.
Another actual Oscar winner, Jared Leto, delivered a painfully compelling performance in Dallas Buyer's Club as a man dying from AIDS. He transformed his body and in one particular scene, looks to be nothing more than skin and bones. The whole cast was incredible in this film but Leto's was the standout for me.
Lastly, Alicia Vikander, as the loving wife of the artist Einar Wegener, is as moving as she is beautiful. She never wavers in her support of her husband as he becomes one of the first people to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. The camera loves her in all the scenes, whether she is joyous or grief-stricken. Her performance is so memorable for its credibility and the incredible range of emotions she reflects for her character.
|Blog Harbor Challenge
Prompt - Day 10:
Only 33 films in film history have managed to surpass $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Of those films (listed below for your reference), which one(s) do you think is/are the most overrated/undeserving of being on this list? Which movie do you think should be on this list but isn't? Tell us why!
Furious 7? Seriously? I do not get the appeal of these movies. Each one seems more steeped in incredulity than the one before it. Despite a cast that is largely likeable and appealing, I just can't suppress actual reality long enough to accept the things this movie asks me to believe about cars. I think it ran its course before they got to Furious 7 - no pun intended.
As far as what movie isn't on here that should be...King Kong, the non-stop thrill ride from 2005 featuring Jack Black and Adrian Brody. By all definition, the movie is a blockbuster - large scaled and epic. I'm surprised not to see it on the list, it certainly ranks up here with Jurassic Park. The movie grabs hold of you and its ceaseless action for nearly two hours. From creepy, violent natives and an emotional and engaging giant ape to enormous man-eating bugs to vintage images of a New York griped in the great depression era...it is a cinematic wonder. I'm very surprised to not see it on this list.
|Blog Harbor Challenge
Prompt - Day 9:
Guilty Pleasure Day! What movie is your greatest guilty pleasure? The movie you know is terrible, but can't help watching every time you channel surf and happen across it? The movie you're almost afraid to admit you like, and yet find yourself popping in the DVD player or streaming a few times a year anyway? Confess your guilty pleasure and tell us what you like about it!
Recently, after the untimely passing of David Bowie, I hosted a Labyrinth viewing party in my house. I was very excited to introduce one of my favorite movies from my youth to my daughter. She loved it, from start to finish. She loved the music and the muppets and the "bog of eternal stench". She delighted in the weird characters, the shriveled apple-faced goblins and the heroine. My husband abandoned us about midway through. Admittedly, years and years later watching it again, I found it pretty cringe-worthy at parts. The special effects were pretty pedestrian and the dialogue pretty lacking in substance. It was not by any stretch of the imagination, a great film. BUT, there was Bowie...and his music and his terrible,but awful catching "Magic Dance and Chilly Down" numbers. There was that horrendous 80's hair and glam, and there was, dare I mention it, the Goblin King's impressive....ball juggling skills...(what did you think I was going to say?..."
All in all, the reviewing of this classic clearly redefined it in my mind as one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies.