Stickers and Cars Go Together Nicely

Before I moved to Los Angeles, I had removed my bumper stickers from my car.  It wasn’t that they were offensive in nature, but when I moved I thought it better not to  broadcast myself too much as I drove halfway across the country.  The only bumper stickers I have now is a band-aid and a reference to X-Files.  The prior sort of goes hand in hand with my view of you can’t have too many band-aids, hand soap, or chap stick.  I have one other sticker, Amoeba Records, but I go there more for movies.

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Since moving to Los Angeles, I never should’ve gotten rid of my bumper stickers.  I’ll always have the pictures as they’re on my computer somewhere under the non original file naming of pictures1, pictures2, pictures3, and so on.  I’ve seen a nice variety of bumper stickers and stickers ranging from politics to sexual preference to eating habits to various activists to music bands to those who have no issue letting others know they probably have crude tendencies.  I’ve seen stuffed animals hanging from rear mirrors and off hitches.  I’ve seen a few cool covers like the one I saw today.

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I’ve seen unique license plates and ones where it is obvious why the person would have it printed on his or her license plate.  While most of the time I watch the cars and road so I stay in my lane, when traffic is at a standstill or I’m driving insanely slow, I can be a people watcher too.  You find interesting things to think about when driving in Los Angeles when the radio isn’t playing anything decent.  I think of the time I’m wasting on the road.  I could be doing other things.  Yet, it gives me a chance to practice patience.  It makes me have to relax when I might not otherwise.

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Crap and More Quotes

When the day brings you unexpected crap to deal with and I’m not talking about work related issues, I tend to shift my brain eventually and focus on positive things in life.  I read on someone’s blog, and it isn’t on WordPress over two months ago, that he doesn’t like uplifting quotes and thinks they are more or less stupid.  Each to his or her own, but this doesn’t prevent me from posting them.  This person is in his early twenties and has some similarities in personality I had at that age. How time changes things, and as I’m approaching my middle age years, yeah my vision has changed literally and figuratively.  I don’t see as well and now have bifocals.  There’s an edge that isn’t so rigid and thick to my armor.  My psyche is able to bend a little more when things don’t go as expected.  I’m learning to let go of negative situations sooner and sometimes they don’t bother me at all where they would in the past.  It’s all a part of growing up.  Maybe, one day I will write something as if I had the mindset of a twenty year old. It would probably be a challenge, but these are the things I think about when things seem to get more complicated the older I get especially when I thought they’d get easier.    

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Movie Review: IT (Part One)

This review will contain some spoilers, but I’d venture to say the ones who wanted to see IT have already seen it and the ones who didn’t really don’t care, but for the ones who will wait until it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray this is for you.

THIS WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS BECAUSE I’M DISCUSSING THE MOVIE LIKE NO ONE’S BUSINESS OR PUT IN ANOTHER WAY I’M POPPING ALL THE RED BALLOONS!!!

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But not quite yet. I need to get a few observations out relating to the movie and other audience members. First things first. I realize Bill Skarsgård is not Tim Curry, but this did not detract in his performance playing Pennywise. It is incredibly hard to fill someone’s clown shoes especially the likes of Tim Curry. I noticed the shout out to Curry during the scene when Richie Tozier, played by the child actor from Stranger Things, was in that room full of clowns. I stand by my conviction. No one will beat Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown. NO ONE. Did anyone see him as the serial killer on Criminal Minds? Yeah, watch it. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Ryan Gosling as Pennywise though. Food for thought. Second things second. Because I read the book although I don’t remember it word for word because it was so long ago, but I do remember more the TV mini-series, I did some comparisons while watching the movie. Third things third. A handful of teenagers had no idea the story continued after the supposed defeat of Pennywise in the Derry sewer pipes.  The groans alone was evidence enough.  IT has to come back to terrorize them as adults. It’s only logical. It also reminds me to maybe wait to see the Chapter 2 after opening weekend. I’m not sure I can sit though a movie being so crowded again. Fourth things fourth. I never once jumped or screamed during the movie although I did laugh once or twice, but for all the right reasons. Richie Tozier could have used a nice cleansing of his mouth, but again 1980s were the 1980s. I’m curious what will transpire in the next chapter beyond the obvious.

Information about IT

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IT is the story by Stephen King and adapted for the world to see. The story is of a handful of children coming together in a small town in Maine called Derry to fight the disappearance of people especially children. It is a fact that children disappear at a faster rate than any other town in the United States in comparison to Derry, and has been happening since they can remember. The TV miniseries took place in the 1950s where the movie is set in the 1980s, and while I would have much preferred the 1950s, the story had to progress forward as with any adaptation. I’m glad the director, Andy Muschetti, decided to give the characters back their original names after Cary Fukunaga left due to creative differences. I’m sure I could have figured out who the child was compared to the 1990s version, but it would have detracted from the experience. This movie had enough freshness to it where I would rate it 4 Fingers at 90% because I looked at my watch once and couldn’t forgive one thing in the movie.

IT script was written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman. The characters are Bill Denbrough (played by Jaeden Liberher), Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly Marsh (Sofia Lillis), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhand), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff), and Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs). There are the nemeses to the Loser’s Club of Henry Bowers (played by Nicholas Hamilton), Belch Huggins (Jake Sim), Victor Criss (Logan Thompson), and Patrick Hockstetter (Owen Teague). We all know who Pennywise is played by, but if you need another reminder it is Bill Skarsgård. You can also see a glimpse of him in the trailer below if you dare.

There are a few parts I enjoyed in this movie not in the TV version. The first was getting to know the home of Pennywise on a more intimate level. I felt one of the strongest scenes was not so much in the rescue of Beverly after Pennywise had captured her and brought her to his lair. I was more interested in what was around her and above her. It hits home seeing all those toys and bikes and other things children would play with in a tall heap. I enjoyed seeing the connection to the past in regards to the circus beyond the newspaper clippings in the scrapbook as in the TV version as I was able to see him perform as a clown on his makeshift stage in the film. The suspended bodies in the air yet to be eaten had a macabre feeling to it. The gore of what Pennywise was capable of and did was more in your face, literally as the scene in the bathroom with Beverly showed, the blood was everywhere.

The director’s vision of the opening scene was exceptionally executed.  It couldn’t have gotten much better when Georgie Denbrough (played by Jackson Robert Scott) loses his arm. It is implied in the TV version he probably loses his arm, but in the movie there is no denying he lost his arm.  There is a slim chance he might get away with one arm as he hobbles away, but I knew there was not a chance in Derry Hell he would survive.  He  eventually gets sucked into the drain, which ended the scene just as well as it began.  This brings to me the portrayal of Pennywise. While I prefer Tim Curry’s version because even with the clown paint and costume, there was a slim chance he actually was a friendly clown until he changed his voice and opened his mouth, showing his razor sharp teeth. On the other hand, Bill Skarsgård’s version had the appearance of being really, really off due to his makeup and costume.  I’m sorry to say, but when a clown has two messed up two front teeth, semi-coiffed hair, and a clown outfit sporting something similar to an Elizabethan collar, I’m going to say you aren’t right from the start. It also had to do with contacts Skarsgård wore. They were a little scary. Okay, actually quite a bit scary. I’m sure if he was chasing me while cackling in that menacing tone I would be screaming my pretty little head. I thoroughly enjoyed him transforming from the various things the children were afraid of into Pennywise. My favorite was when he was the headless man slowly coming after Ben in the library, turning into Pennywise, and BOOM he is there. The other scene I enjoyed was the garage scene where the children are looking at the Derry’s sewer system from projector and before you know it the clown makes his grand appearance.

What Else I Liked About IT

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Despite all the gore and scare, this story does have resonance beyond trying to survive a killing eating clown taking different forms. This movie comments on the need for acceptance when particular children don’t find it whether related to physicality, race, or sex. It’s about how easy it is to overlook children and not listen to them. It’s about how children understand more than sometimes adults give them credit for. It’s about how groups survive better than one person acting alone. It’s about how karma sometimes happens in not so mysterious ways. It’s about reminding us to be cautious despite knowing most of us are safe. It’s about being aware there are things out there to hurt us, but even through the darkest of darks, there is a glimmer of light. And one more thing about this movie, it left me wanting to know who is going to play the adult characters, and hoping it doesn’t end with the non-scary ending as the TV version.

One Thing I Did Not Like About IT

This was the reason I gave it 3.5 stars out of 5. What was with Pennywise’s shaking head? I did not like it. I did not like it. I repeat. I did not like it. Call me intolerant. I couldn’t stand it. I’d much rather have him creepily come out of cabinets or closets. Give me his three rows of CGI teeth. I hope they take this out in Chapter 2. This is all I’m going to say about that because I’m probably in the minority here. 

Conclusion

I did like this movie overall and despite me looking at my watch. I wanted to be scared, but I wasn’t and probably because of who I am as a person.  I sort of went into it knowing I wouldn’t be scared although there were plenty of teenagers and children who did scream.  I’ve said before if any child tells me his/her doll is possessed, I will believe it thanks to the movie Chucky. The same goes for this movie. If any child tells me a clown is trying to kill them, I will believe it.  This is trending into supernatural territory and a topic possibly to be discussed later. As I was coming back from getting ice tea today, I saw someone carrying a bunch of red balloons and kid you not they were stacked similar to the ones held by Pennywise. So on that note, this review is officially done and sweet dreams.  

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Images by IMBD/Trailer by Warner Brothers

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Book Recommendation: The Color of Water

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The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother is 295 page book reinforcing that certain people follow their pursuits even when they don’t adhere to the standards of family. James McBride, the product of interracial marriage, is the “half White” and “half Black” author of this book who grappled with his identity as a child living in the 1960s. He tells the story of his mother’s plight growing up in the South, Virginia, in a Jewish family, and the hardships of not following Judaism set by her father who was abusive and racist. She was eventually disowned by her father. She moved to Harlem and married James’ father, Dennis McBride, and had more children than you can count on both fingers. Her religion was most important to her as she converted to Christianity, but she fiercely protected and guided her children with firm hands. This book is not only a tribute, but a statement of who James McBride is today. Although his plight growing up in Harlem, New York and Wilmington, Delaware, he had the intelligence to ask the right questions of his multiracial and multicultural roots. It led to him being who is today, realistic of the social world around him, but cognizant of his ancestors’ contributions on both sides.

Explore The Color of Water on Amazon

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Two Book Recommendations

I’m recommending authors where the book was their first novel. Are there signs pointing to a newly minted author versus one in the middle or end of their career one? Who knows? They are now published authors and that is all that matters (sort of). I will say if you are looking for something where you have to take notes on who is what and what is not, these books are NOT for you. They are predictable in some sense, but yet I wanted to keep reading both.

In a dark, dark wood is written by Ruth Ware and the 354 pages went by fairly quickly once I devoted time to it. Once I got past the setting of England, Nora’s invitation to the hen party, and her eventual acceptance to the party, the wheels started to move faster. The book did an adequate job switching between the past and present, meaning it did not overly focus on one or the other, and served its purpose. The characters had enough depth to them that they felt three-dimensional and by the end of the story it was satisfactorily wrapped up with a few loose strings, but that was intentional (I believe). I consider this an easy read book like Water for Elephants.

Reese Witherspoon is adapting this into a movie and feel it could definitely come alive on the screen although it must be done in the right way. The author faltered with some of her scenes especially near the end. Ware should have extended the last scene of Nora and Clare because that was the reason the story was written in the first place. What transpired prematurely ended between them, and if she dug a little deeper into her creativity well, I believe it could have been stronger. I will say the scariest part for me was the psychological make up of the characters Clare and Flo, which I’m not sure what was intended, compared to what actions any of them took. I will say enough information was given for why certain things happened, and that is why I’m recommending this book.

This Burns My Heart is written by Samuel Park and the 322 pages contains a love story set in South Korea. The story weaves between the 1960s when there was rapid change after Postwar Korea to the more current time of today. It focuses on the role of women, often having to sacrifice themselves for the happiness of their husbands and children, and how they navigate in this culture with strict rules. The characters of Soo Ja, her husband Min, and an acquaintance from her youth, Yul, were equally developed to satisfaction.

Soo Ja, the main character, is married to a man who loved her in his own way, and yet that was not enough. She bore a child named Hana. Her story continues and the ridicule she is forced to endure. How do you find your strength when you are married to someone who treats you poorly, where his family treats you even worse, and you are the one ultimately holding everyone together? The interactions and dialogue between Soo Ja and Min were the best parts of this book and the interactions and dialogue with her in-laws came a close second.

I would have preferred Hana to be a little less helpless during some scenes, but now looking back if she had acted in a different way it might have not seemed as realistic. There was too much usage of Hana’s name when Soo Ja spoke to her daughter and detracted away from certain scenes in my opinion. I really enjoyed the ending because there was proper closure to the main characters and most everything came full circle. This book edged out the other one by a few hairs, but again I recommend them both as first novels because let us face it, it takes quite a bit effort and time to write any novel.

Explore in a dark dark wood on Amazon

Explore This Burns My Heart on Amazon

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Bringing the Dinosaurs Back

It Came Down to One Dinosaur

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There were so many choices to pick from in terms of dinosaurs. I could have sifted through a very long list.  I decided to narrow it down by time and dinosaurs listed below.  The Cretaceous Period was one where the dinosaurs were at their best in terms of size and strength.  They were the ones that ruled the lands.  There was some focus on their eating habits of whether carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores, and if they were bipedal or not, but what stood out for me was the ability of one dinosaur to swim.  I came to the following conclusion.

My Favorite Dinosaur is…

Spinosaurus (Spine Lizard)

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By Durbed [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The Spinosaurus’s anatomy allowed it to be able to able to swim for long periods of time in order to hunt for fish and other water-dwelling creatures, which was its preferred diet.  It had features such as flat feet suitable for paddling, small nostril at the back of the head to limit water intake, dense bone structure of the limbs so it could submerge under water, and spine sail/fin.  It was opportunistic in its eating habits where it dined on land creatures such as reptiles as well.  It lived during the Cretaceous Period, and was as large as or maybe even larger than the Tyrannosaurus, Giganotosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus.  There has been some debate over the size of this particular dinosaur, but there is one thing for sure, and that is it was in a family of its own.

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A few more dinosaurs that existed during the three periods.

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Last of all very tiny tidbits of information.

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Oregon Trip

I decided to finally take a trip to see some family.  It started with a fire in Burbank, CA on my way to the airport.  I’ve been to LAX one too many times to know the little dinky Bob Hope Airport is the way to go for someone who’d rather not wait longer in lines.  I didn’t start off well as my flight was delayed by an hour, and then I lost my phone because I wasn’t paying attention.  Luckily, I had an inkling to circle back to where I’d been and found my phone still there.  One catastrophe avoided.  I got window seats to and from, which is fine by me because I’m short although my left foot was always pressed against the edge of the plane wall.  I’m more happy I sat next to decent smelling people.

Feet and Shadow

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I also now understand why I’m always seated way at the end in terms of Southwest when I get my tickets in advance.  So much for my laziness and not really giving too much thought into where I sit until the day of.  The only good part is by the time I get to the baggage claim my suitcase is ready for the most part.  I spent some days relaxing and reading while in Portland.  I actually got to finish one of my books.  Yippee!  I will be recommending it later.  A fire started in the Columbia River Gorge while there and could smell the smoke when I left.  They contained and extinguished the La Tuna fire in Burbank, but Oregon is a different story.  They basically have it only 7% contained.  The winds blew the fire in all directions and it rages on due to a kid using fireworks. Complete stupidity because hundreds of trees have been destroyed, not to mention wildlife displaced.  I was able to get to the ocean by spending time at Smuggler Cove at Oswald West State Park.  My feet couldn’t stay there too long because the water was quite chilly despite baking in the sun.  I didn’t get sun burnt this time around.  Without further delay, here are some pictures.

Fire in Burbank

Sand and Water

Trees

More Trees

Beach

Smoky Sky

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Short Thursday Thought

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I want to take the time to say thank you to everyone who has liked or followed my blog. I know there are hundreds if not thousands to pick from out there.  I don’t take it lightly that you took the time to read my stuff.  I don’t have many followers, but life is not a competition I keep telling myself although regarding myself tends to be a different story.  I’m working on this.  I hope to post some more pictures I have taken way back when I was into photography and other random pictures.  I’m going to Oregon in a few days so will post pictures when I return.  There is a method to this madness so thank you again for your time and patience.

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Two More Quotes

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