snoopyThis Monday snuck up on me. I’m not sure what happened to the weekend. Friday afternoon was hot. I remember that. There is no air conditioning in my car and the window don’t roll down. We had to go to appointments in the next city over so the kids and I were well done by the time we got home. Everyone went to bed early.

Saturday I went to visit my folks and my dad fixed the passenger side window so now we have at least one window that rolls down. I took a walk with my camera and took a bunch of pictures but haven’t actually sat down and looked at what I took.

Sunday we went to see Detective Pikachu. It was an okay movie. I probably would have enjoyed it more if we hadn’t missed the first 20 minutes. When we got to the theater we were directed to screen 6. So that is where we went. We waited long past the time for the movie to start. I had a feeling from the moment we sat down that something was off. Soon some nice gentlemen showed up and were really confused because we were in their seats. Turns out screen 6 was showing John Wick 3. (Which I wouldn’t have minded watching too.) Detective Pikachu was actually playing on screen 4 which was on the other side of the theater. Fortunately, our seats were in the very back as you entered so we didn’t disturb anyone else by our late arrival but it still annoyed me that we were sent to the wrong area and I was annoyed at myself for not listening to my gut.

Afterward, we stopped by the bookstore for a couple of new books. My eldest was going through emotions like bored couch potato flipping channels. My youngest found two books and was ready to go home immediately thereafter. We decided to call it a day. Everyone went to bed early last night.

This morning I awoke to the alarm going off and realized I hadn’t packed lunches or any of the things I usually do the night before. Clean clothes had to be pulled out of the dryer and random things stuffed into lunch boxes before everyone head out the door. I am pretty sure we may have even forgotten to let the dog in last night. (Not that she minded. She likes it outside at night because it is cooler and she does have a sheltered place to sleep. She came in for breakfast and wanted right back out.)

I also realized I didn’t do my usual weekend blog post which is why I am writing this on a Monday morning. I am not ready for the responsibility of a new week. I’m going to need extra coffee or something. 524px-S2e8_jake_drinking_hot_tea


Star Wars: A Non-Spoiler Post

My family went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weekend. I can easily say a good time was had. My daughter is in that awkward teenaged mode where she is too cool for everything, so she was just like: “That was a good movie.”

My son on the other hand is 11 and he left the theater exclaiming that it was:”The best movie ever!” He also wants to build his own droid and cobble together a soap box racer/x-wing.

(I worry about this because my dad and brother are small engine mechanics and my cousin is our family mad scientist. My dad and my cousin live next door to each other. I bet it would take little prodding for my son to convince them to help him build something that makes me envision broken bones.)

We bought him a Star Wars hoodie from the stand in the theater lobby. He put it on immediately after purchase and didn’t take off even when he went to bed. My brother also bought a hoodie. I haven’t checked with his wife to see if he wore his to bed, but he was adamant with her about not sharing. Sarah, my loving sister-in-law, just rolled her eyes and smiled.

It was thrilling for me to see my child’s eyes light up with joy at something that was such a big part of my own childhood. I watched episodes IV, V, and VI so much growing up, I still know all the words. When they were re-released my friends and I were standing in line, in costume. This weekend my daughter and I continued the costume tradition though we bought our tickets in advance. (She may be too cool to react outwardly to the movie, but she doesn’t pass up an opportunity to wear a costume.)

I think I would like to see it again with my mom and dad. I know they would enjoy it. My dad watched episode IV fourteen times when it originally came out in theaters.

I know there is a lot of hype about the fact that Disney owns the franchise now. Honestly, I am more concerned with the quality of the movie rather than who produces it. If it is bad, it is bad regardless of who paid the money to have it made. The reverse is also true.

Watching The Force Awakens with adult consumer eyes, I can see where certain things are going to be big marketing pushes. However, it was done well enough that it didn’t distract from the enjoyment of the film. I left the theater this weekend with a satisfied feeling and echoes of my youth flitting through my mind.

I look forward to the next one.


Raleigh Comic Con Part 1: Or Why Sean Astin is my hero.

When I was younger I loved the movie Goonies. I thought it was probably the best movieGoonies-poster in existence next to Star Wars. Kids were the protagonist, they were on a treasure hunt, and the leader was an asthmatic. What more could an asthmatic kid want?

Mikey’s struggles of being a regular kid and attempting to breath at the same time were personal to me. Too many times had I sat on the sidelines and watched my friends run or trotted slowly behind them gasping for air, holding my inhaler, and trying to keep up.

color of magicLater, another favorite was The Color Of Magic, one of Terry Pratchett’s adored Disc World books brought to life.  There was also Rudy. I am not a huge American Football fan, but I loved the movie Rudy because it proved determination can get you places your size and you brain can’t.

Then came The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Everyone knows Frodo would never had made it with out Sam. These were all good movies that encouraged and, in some small way, helped shape me into the person I am.

However, these movies and the many more Sean Astin has on his professional list are not the reason he is my hero.  That begins with the voice of a turtle and time taken for a small boy.

Among the many feathers in Sean’s cap, is the voice of Raphel from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon. I was unaware of this as my son and I stood in line to get his autograph this past Sunday. The line was long and jittery with anticipation.

I was standing in line because of Mikey, Rudy, Twoflower, and Samwise. Maybe also sean astin 2015 raelighbecause I had seen a few short clips in the dvd extras of Sean Astin being Sean Astin. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, and he obviously has good taste, so I wanted to meet the man in person. My son was with me because in large crowds he is never very far away from my side. (His sister was off raiding the concession stand under adult supervision.)

We had gotten in line early because I missed my chance for an autograph the day before. Sean was late arriving and my feet were sore by the time he made it to his table, but all that was forgotten in the excitement of meeting someone famous. (He ran a marathon that morning, so I think being a few minutes late is understandable.)

As the few people in front of me greeted their hero and got their autographs, I was seized by a case of blank brain. Then my son bumped my hand and I looked down.

gaming (2)Blue eyes, under a yellow plush Pikachu hat, looked back at me. I thought of all the times those eyes were clouded in tears because of bullies at school, or the frustration of being mistaken for a kindergartner even though he is in fourth grade.  I thought of the parent teacher conferences where his teacher insisted she wanted him to “be a lion not a turtle.”

So when my turn came I stepped forward…and didn’t have to say much of anything. Sean Astin didn’t over look my son. He said hi to him and greeted him in a voice from a cartoon he watches every morning before school. You could see the dawn of “hey this guy is pretty cool” spread across my son’s face. I got my pictures signed and traded a few words of my own, and then mentioned that my blue eyed boy was in the fourth grade and sometimes got picked on.

Sean took over from there. I had hoped for a few words of encouragement. Instead we held up the line for at least ten minutes, while Mr. Astin looked at my son straight on and talked to him as a person. He passed on words of encouragement of course, but more than that was the feeling that he understood. It wasn’t just empty platitudes. It was: You are an awesome person no matter what your size. I believe in you and I mean it.

By the end of conversation my sometimes shy son, was showing Sean pictures of his dog on my phone and chatting away. We walked away from the table with an autographed picture of Raphel and feelings of awe and gratitude.

raphMy son wouldn’t let me put his picture with mine for safe keeping. He carried it around with him for the rest of the day and read the words written on it over and over to himself. Looking at my son I had to blink away tears a couple of times.

I am sure that the people waiting in line behind us while Sean Astin took those ten minutes were wishing we would hurry up. However,  I will be eternally grateful that the other fans waited while he took the time to talk to a small boy. That is why Sean Astin is my hero. Thank you sir.

Hello Monday my old friend

I haven’t slept. I spent the night chain watching Harry Potter movies with my 12yr old daughter. It is her first time watching them and mine too in some cases.  I read all of the books as they came out, (I worked in a bookstore at the time and it was very hard not to.) but I never got around to watching all of the movies.

My mom loved both the books and the movies and has all of both versions. We borrowed the movies from her and my kiddo is now expressing interest in the books as well.  We still have the last two movies to go, so we will see if she changes her mind.

Regardless, I will probably pick the first book in the Harry Potter series as our “chapter a night” bed time read after we finish the book we are on.  Both of my kids read well above their grade levels but there is just something about snuggling up together and sharing a book. I don’t have to read to them but I sure do enjoy it.


Today I’ve felt kind of lazy, not the I don’t wanna do anything lazy, more of the my limbs weigh more than my entire body and somehow gravity seems to have increased kind of lazy.  Caffeine usually helps me combat this type of lazy and restores gravity to its normal strength. It’s not working today. I think I abused its restorative powers too much yesterday.

So, after getting my necessary writing done, I am going to sit down and do a dialogue study.  Which honestly means that I am going to pick out a couple of my favorite movies and kick back with a bag of popcorn and try to figure out why I like them so much.  (This works best with movies that have been seen so many times that you don’t become so engrossed with the movie that you forget to pay attention to what they are saying.)  I ask myself  questions like:  Why do I like this movie so much?  Is it the awesome special effects or the witty comebacks that make the movie?  Why do the characters work?

I watch the movie like a writer.  I often do this with books as well but there are no rules that say the same process can’t be applied to Dead Poets Society or The Last Starfighter. I keep a notebook handy just in case something triggers an idea I may want to utilize later.  I suppose I could take notes too but then I would have to pause the movie every few minutes which would cause me to lose the feel of how the movie flows from one scene to the next.  I prefer to watch it all the way through and just jot down the really important things.   Try it the next time you’re having a lazy day.  Just remember to get your writing done first.