Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Get Drunk, Go Caroling, Game On!

Not much going on in the land of Jax today, the work day has been a little slow, and it is raining here in the Mid-South. I'm still holding out hoping for a bit of snow on Christmas. I heard a report that we might get some snow. If so, maybe it will be enough to make a snowman?

We shall see.

Anyway, today I find on the calendar three weird holidays.
1. Games Day,
2. Sangria Day, and
3. Go Caroling Day.

I thought it was kind of funny, these three holidays seem to go quite well together. You can throw together a big pitcher of Sangria and get drunk, play some games and go out drunk caroling. (You can put these in any order you'd like, really, whatever works best for you. Now there are other little holidays, but those were the 3 that I found for today, December 20th.

Can you imagine the hilarious possibilities? Tell you what, YOU go out and try combining these, while I stay home and play my Sims 4 game, how about that? I'm too lazy to get out in this weather and go do much of anything after I get off work.

Let me know how it turns out, and party on! ~Jax

Still Better than Nickelback!! Hahaa!!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Holiday (2006) - A Regurgitation

I'm a pretty heavy movie buff, but I don't usually go 'ga-ga' over the movies that other people do. My tastes are eclectic for the most part, yet somewhat trite and cheesy for many people's tastes. It doesn't really bother me, I am not someone who has to follow the pack. I enjoy what I enjoy, and I am the weirdo who watches my favorite "comfort movies" over, and over, and over again.

One of those favorite comfort movies is "The Holiday".

I have read a lot of articles and notes blasting it for thinness of plot, overdoing it by having more than one central romance in the movie, or just general complaints about "why they did this, but didn't do that" with the characters or plot. Many have given this movie a low review, one or two stars... but why? It's actually a comforting movie, one of my favorite holiday movies in fact. It's like the over-sized fuzzy sweater that you feel a little guilty for wearing two days in a row but you do it anyway because it's just too comfortable.

Just because I love a movie, doesn't mean I don't have questions or things about it that irritate me too, however. I have several issues. I find myself analyzing it every time I watch it, and then looking through forums and sites for "movie goofs and mistakes" like IMDB (Goofs - The Holiday) and Movie Mistakes. These cite factual errors and continuity mistakes that have been spotted by various people. Very interesting indeed as I will go back and play and pause, trying to match these up, and find others. Then I'll find myself angry for not having caught these things on my own... am I THAT BAD AT OBSERVATION? Attention to detail?

Aside from those movie goofs and questions already addressed, I still have my own questions as I go along. Feel free to chime in, or help out if you're reading along with me.

The Holiday touches at my heart strings, I guess because I've been on that "unrequited love" bus more times than I would like to admit. Then I'm always a sucker for the love story, the one that apparently works out, because it is such a mythological creature in my own life. I like the characters in this movie, they feel real to me (even though "Amanda Woods' character has a dream job and huge house, and seems a bit unbelievable), her issues are still realistic, so I think I still identify with her feelings.

Before writing this I was reading through other articles that touched on this, and one good one I found below touches on some of my questions and issues, and I found it to be a good read (though I couldn't find a spot to leave a comment, which made me feel slighted):

See 30 Questions I Still Have After Re-watching The Holiday
(Re-watching The Holiday - thank goodness, I'm not the only one)

So now, I'll touch on those points about the movie that bother me the most. It doesn't mean they are errors, or real problems, just a personal issue for me.

First, when Iris finds out Jasper is engaged, she's so upset she cries all the way home. Once home, she turns on the gas at her stove, inhales deeply trying to end it over Jasper. (I've read that this is not the way gas works, as the UK changed to Natural Gas decades ago. The previous Coal Gas would put you to sleep with a couple of breaths and kill you in minutes. Natural Gas is not toxic at all and could only kill you by displacing all the air in a room, which since it is lighter than air is unlikely... so um, unrealistic).

Plus ladies, NEVER try to end it over some idiotic jerk. Period!!!

Cameron Diaz didn't cry, in fact she evidently CAN'T cry, she dramatically tries to no avail. This is very irritating because she goes so overboard trying to 'force out just one tear'... Hey, she can borrow some of mine if she's that desperate to go weepy. I have plenty to spare. Ahhh, SO--Good Ol' 'rejected' Cameron Diaz goes away with the intention of finding herself, and being alone, but in a few short hours she gets bored and can't even give it one day to get adjusted, before she plans to leave. Only when she meets Graham is she happy to be where she is, once again "WITH" someone, not alone for the holidays (thus kind of sending the message you can't be happy by yourself, and jumping into a relationship right after another one ends). **me being nitpicky**

Someone else mentioned the fact that you leave your dog to be taken care of by someone you've never met (in the home exchange situation). Iris doesn't know if Amanda will actually treat him well... again, me being nitpicky, this is a movie and all.

Speaking of which, Charlie the dog seems to be the most well-adjusted character in the movie aside from Arthur (awesomely played by Eli Wallach).

Miles (Jack Black), while a lot of people didn't like the pairing between him and Kate Winslet, saying he wasn't a good leading man, I actually enjoyed their growing friendship. They don't jump into anything, they begin as really good friends who get along and are good for one another, and though they don't blaze forth in some unbridled passion that sets them on fire and drives them crazy, I find it very sweet that they begin what is quite possibly, the smarter relationship in the movie. What they have might, in fact, grow to be something solid, plus they have both found someone who is actually good to them for once, instead of yet another self-destructive, co-dependent relationship... that gives me a feeling of a happy ending.

Cameron Diaz's stuffy driver refuses to safely get her to her destination, stating that he'd 'never be able to turn the car around from there'. However, when you see the place it's pretty open space and it's not THAT much snow or ice, why couldn't he turn around? Then at the end, he has somehow miraculously come all the way down and turned around to pick her up, so what's going on here? Is he just trying to be a dick? Do your job!

Cameron Diaz goes driving recklessly to the shops to pick up goodies, driving down the same road that her driver, just hours earlier, said he couldn't manage (I mean yes I know it wasn't as big a car, but still). She got there in one piece, without killing anyone by some miracle of God. Then she goes in on a shopping rampage and they allow her to drink straight from the bottle of wine in the store? (Where do they do this?)

Speaking of the car(s), when she first arrives at the Cottage, I don't see a vehicle anywhere in sight, but there is evidently a car. Later on, when she and Graham are hanging out together his Range Rover is there and you also see the smaller car in the drive-they park somewhat in front of the cottage. Later, when Amanda leaves to go back to US, no vehicles are in sight. So where are these vehicles? Around back? Just kind of inconsistent... keep them in one spot. Also, if Iris does have a car, why doesn't she drive all the way to and from her job at the Daily Telegraph? She's shown taking the bus after being heartbroken over Jasper's wedding announcement in the beginning, and then you see her walking up to the cottage when she finally arrives... How far did she have to walk? Where did the Bus drop her? Once again, where's the damn car?

This thing about the cars is what has bugged me more than anything, and I don't see anyone else posing this question about the movie.

Graham (Jude Law) goes bustin up into the house unannounced (which I know is something his Sister is fine with), but the fact that Amanda so quickly jumps into bed with him (for her, a total stranger). Yep, she starts drinking and making out with him within 30 minutes of meeting him. She doesn't know these people at all, they could be a family of serial killers! Sorry, but someone beating down the door in the middle of the night would cause me to call the cops... but given the apparent feelings about the roads, the cops would probably claim they couldn't turn the squad cars around when the arrived, and not show up. Then again, if the serial killer looked like Jude Law, well... um...

The part where Amanda (Diaz) doesn't ask Graham (Law) to come in after their day on the town, apologetically saying she plans to take a nap, and then takes a bath in the tub that she so heavily doubted earlier, and kicks herself for being stupid, she decides to go and show up at Graham's house. How does SHE know where HE lives? Did she go through some address book of Iris's? Or had he told her where he lived? It doesn't seem that he would tell her where he lived, really since he was trying to keep the fact that he was a single father a bit silent. So can we say "Stalker Alert"? Maybe I was worried about the wrong character.

Movie Inconsistencies in general:  All the little continuity errors, factual errors and the like... Why? These are not low-budget films. Why can't they take the time to ensure that things match up, and that there aren't any inconsistent pieces (you know, the things that stick out like a sore thumb, like the shifting or change of scarf from scene to scene, or other wardrobe malfunctions. Or how candles are burned down to the nub in one frame and suddenly big again, then back to being burned down. Amanda holding a wine glass while dancing and in 1 breath, 1 lyric, suddenly it has been placed somewhere else.) Though the people who find these little movie issues wouldn't have anything to do if they were to pay attention to detail and fix these issues, it leaves me to wonder if they just don't care about the quality, or someone truly thought they were covering all the bases, and made mistakes. Who checks these before the movie is finalized and sent out? Don't they have some sort of QC?

Now all in all, as I said before, I am a fan of this "comfort movie". It's a good holiday feel good movie, I enjoy the characters, and I'm not bothered by the dual romances going on like many other people who have written about this. I also don't mind the "Iris and Miles" romance being somewhat 'friends first' and awkward... because if you think about it, real life romances sometimes start this way, meeting and spending awkward moments before asking someone out officially or letting their affections be known, and probably not operating very smooth to boot. It is very rare if ever that someone (aside from the movie stars and movie characters) to experience such a glamorous and starstruck type of situation. Therefore, Miles and Iris give a little hope to some of the ordinary friends and couples who don't necessarily start off with the glass slipper and the fairy dust and fanfare. They're sweet, they're comfortable and they've both been through their share of heartache and bad romance. They appreciated FINALLY finding someone who was happy to be with them and who would treat them well.

Finally, as the movie comes to a close I am left a little empty-hearted wondering what becomes of the newly formed romances of both of our couples. They finish off the 2 hour long flick with a very joyous New Years Eve all together with Graham's two children to the tune of "You Send Me" by the legendary queen Aretha Franklin, dancing around having snacks and looking like a family. I want to know what happens afterwards. The all have established jobs... Miles and Amanda in L.A., and the brother and sister, Graham an Iris, whose family is heavy into the publishing industry, very dedicated to their jobs. Do they attempt the long-distance relationship(s) wherein they do okay for a couple of good months and then begin to fade out due to schedules and lack of effort on someone's part? Do any of them decide to make a big life change and move to the other country and make a real go of it?

Help me out here...

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Until Further Notice

The following quote, which I first ran across some time ago is one that merits daily reminder, but we get so caught up in our day-to-day grind and are so busy 'white knuckle gripping' the things we are so hellbent on worrying and stressing over that we allow it to fall to the wayside.

"Until Further Notice... Celebrate Everything!"

Now I am not certain the origin of this quote, though I have seen it repeated many places, and also seen it as the title of published materials. No matter, the concept is one of the best pieces of advice we could receive. As most of us have experienced, or will realize soon enough in life, nothing is certain, nothing lasts forever, time flies and as Stephen King said it best in his novel '11/22/63' (which I highly recommend reading, by the way), "Life turns on a dime. Sometimes towards us, but more often it spins away, flirting and flashing as it goes: so long, honey, it was good while it lasted, wasn’t it?" So celebrating everything that we're blessed with whether that is some material gift, relationship, family, love, life, still being able to breathe and do daily tasks, or what have you _____ (fill in th' muthacluckin blank)... appreciate that, be grateful, remember it and celebrate it on a daily basis.

So a lot of these superficial holidays, the ones that have been over-commercialized, and exist in their current form now more than ever to feed the pockets of the already rich and greedy... their true meaning has been lost anyway. Can we take a moment to think of the reason behind these holidays? Some of them you wouldn't celebrate anyway due to a cultural meaning, a clash in beliefs, or just for the mere reason that it is nothing but a materialistic marketing ploy in itself. Many holidays are celebrated by people who don't even apply, and they do it just for the big delicious food spread, or the binge drinking, etc.  Now I'm not one to discourage any honors or celebrations, as that is sort of 'anti' what I'm saying here. I'm just saying that on these big commercial holidays, remember what they stand for and be 'awake' in that respect, you might be celebrating and supporting something that you're opposed to... instead, celebrate those important things, and the real moments of life. The little things that we let slide by while we're allowing those big, empty non-important distractions take us from what's real that deserves to be celebrated.

Take these thoughts and good vibes going forward through the holiday season that is upon us, and beyond. Perfect time to do at least one positive thing, or good deed, or project good thoughts and celebrate a moment today, right now, this minute... If we practiced this "Celebrate Everything" philosophy (yes, even the bad stuff, because it builds strength as well as helps us appreciate the good stuff) then we wouldn't even need those ridiculous New Year's Resolutions, most of which we don't stick to anyway. Good habits, the successful ones, are usually the small steps we take, daily that become habits. When you set outlandish goals and bite off more than you can chew, what happens? You likely choke and quit... Baby steps, little things, celebrating everything, big and small but setting realistic goals for ourselves will give us so much more to celebrate, and admit it, make you feel more accomplished in your daily flow. Plus, it gives you a reason to party everyday?? Ha, that's fine, just don't overdo it.

As my Mom always preached, "Everything in moderation."

Our society doesn't really grasp that very well. We are a modern generation of greedy, thoughtless, over-indulgent and gluttonous beings. It's why we're so unhealthy (for the most part) physically, mentally and emotionally for that matter. Not many of us like to admit we are not perfect or that we could really use improvement in these areas, but we get so caught up in ONLY what we see from our own perspective and never force ourselves to look around and see what anyone else is going through or needs, besides what we need and want. What goes around comes around, and that applies to good and bad, so I'd much rather have goodness flowing back to me... yes, I have really gone off the 'philosophical deep end' today, but hey, deal with it. Maybe it's the green tea. Either way, not a bad  message. Yesterday was cupcakes and over-indulgence (on my own part) and today I'm trying to be a better me, and pay it forward. :-)

Speaking of pay it forward, that happened to me in the drive-thru the other day. This was the first time it has ever happened to me, so I must make note of it. I was quite shocked, I must say because of that fact. I of course decided to pay it forward as well. My bill had been close to $8.00 (USD). Before I committed, I inquired the amount of the person behind me. The cashier checked and it was $5.20. So I paid for the person behind me. Please note that the amount wouldn't be an issue if I hadn't just begun working again (things have been a little rough lately) so I wasn't being cheap, I just wouldn't have been able to pay, say, a fifty dollar tab!!  I'm not sure if the people in the car behind me continued the gesture, I hope that they might. I think that 'pay it forward' is sweet... it is a small thing, of course and isn't curing world hunger or helping the homeless, but it is still a nice gesture and it filled my heart with a giving spirit. That's why I say, even one or two small gestures of kindness a day, even if that is just uplifting someone who seems to be going through something (perhaps with just a smile), they truly make a difference.

These are all great ways to 'celebrate everything'. Parties and celebrations don't always have to be for us, they can be selfless.

Enough of my psychobabble, you're probably not still reading this anyway... I don't think I have much of an audience, really. If I do, you guys never leave me comments. I would love to see more comments and more readers again. So if you're still here with me, please leave me a few words.

Though I'm trying to write more, I can't be sure I'll blog again before the week is through so I thought I'd make note of the upcoming 'unusual' and odd holidays from today through maybe Sunday (12/10). If you're looking for fun things to celebrate (as if you don't already have enough from just still being alive and kicking!) then you can use these little amusing dates below as prompts to laugh, and maybe start some tradition, or have some fun with your children and family. Be sure to read a little more about the ones that catch your eye, some of them stem from history, and some have some interesting stories behind them... so we learn a little something as we go. So read about them and enjoy! (I get these from a couple different sites, google "odd holidays" or check out the site Fun Holidays (click here).

For instance, this "Microwave Oven Day" (Dec. 6): I didn't realize that the "Microwave" was Invented by American engineer Percy Spencer during World War II, or that they were first commercially sold in the United States in 1946 under the name 'Radarange'. They rapidly became a coveted kitchen appliance and spawned a whole section of the food industry. Now, they're a common appliance in most homes. I remember our first microwave. My father brought it home when I was about 12. It was a Litton, I think, and the thing lasted until just a few years back before my parents' passing. That's pretty remarkable these days, as not many of our modern tools and appliances have a very lengthy lifespan!

Anyway, I guess I better get back to work, but in the  meantime, check out the next few days, there are some cool little funky holidays, and of course Christmas is here (12/25), Hannakuh (12/12 - 12/20), Kwanzaa (12/26 - 1/1) and more things going on. Do yourself a favor, get to know someone else's traditions and cultures, talk to people about the things they celebrate, educate yourself, practice diversity, understanding and kindness. The world is so much bigger than just your tiny little bubble of perception. Remove your cubicle walls. ;-)

  • Microwave Oven Day - December 6
  • Miners' Day - December 6
  • National Gazpacho Day - December 6
  • National Pawnbrokers Day - December 6
  • Special Kids Day - December 6, 2017 (First Wednesday in December)
  • St. Nicholas Day - December 6
  • International Civil Aviation Day - December 7
  • National Cotton Candy Day - December 7
  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - December 7
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 (Catholic)
  • National Chocolate Brownie Day - December 8
  • Official Lost & Found Day - December 8, 2017
  • Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day - December 8
  • Gingerbread Decorating Day - December 9, 2017 (Second Saturday in December)
  • International Anti-Corruption Day - December 9
  • International Shareware Day - December 9, 2017 (Second Saturday in December)
  • National Pastry Day - December 9
  • National Wreaths Across America Day - December 9, 2017 (Second Saturday in December)
  • Weary Willie Day - December 9
  • Dewey Decimal System Day - December 10
  • Human Rights Day - December 10
  • National Day of Animal Rights - December 10
  • National Lager Day - December 10
  • Nobel Prize Day - December 10
  • World Choral Day - December 10, 2017 (Second Sunday in December)
  • Worldwide Candle Lighting Day - December 10, 2017 (Second Sunday in December)


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake

Being back to the grind is an awesome relief after another stent of unemployment. I am so ready to find a more permanent place to hang my name tag and hairnet (so-to-speak). At this time in my life, I really need job security and something dependable.

Although office environments vary, one thing is usually common. Unhealthy sweets brought in by various employees, either as a treat, or for special occasions. Sometimes these are planned occasions such as birthdays, work anniversaries or going away "goodbye" cakes. The cursed evils can range from doughnuts, professionally sculpted cakes and pies to cupcakes and sweets based on various cultures and countries. The temptation is hard to resist, and there always seems to be some reason to celebrate. "Bob's Birthday", "Susan's Last Day", "Marcus's Promotion", etc. Since I am currently working in the field of Hospitality, it can be even more difficult to avoid the nefarious nom-ables, since there will be special promotions and sometimes celebrations or 'welcome' luncheons for new notables and such.

Today was just such a day. I was gliding through my day successfully avoiding sugary confection, and then she who was in charge of promotional fanfare summoned me... I was on my way back from the break room where I had elected to have a cup of hot chocolate and allow that to be my only 'sweet' for the day, when I heard her angelic sounding voice announce "Cupcakes! From Georgetown! Plenty left, go get one while you can!"

Georgetown Cupcakes (could you resist?)

I gave myself a stern "No!", I tried with all my might to steer myself towards my office to the right instead of off to the left to the evil land of demonic pastries... to no avail. I spotted them, all layed out with their little decorations and perfect frosting boasting Christmas cheer... and I crumbled.

Here are the ingredients to the evil little bastards:

Now I was sitting at my desk with a cup of hot chocolate and cupcake, feeling like a pig, wallowing in regret. Then of course came the sleepy aftermath of the sugar rush, that 2:30ish insane need for a nap. There was no way I was going to get through the rest of the afternoon and accomplish Jack S***!!  All Hail the Cupcake... Devil in Disguise.

Elaine Explodes of the Office Cake Ritual (Seinfeld):

Then Once She Scorns the Group, She Begins
To Miss The Cake and Eats Her Boss's Collectible:

Laugh, just laugh, and don't condemn me... The deed has been done. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.