Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sunflowers for Tina Downey

For those of you who knew blogger Tina Downey of Life is Good and the A to Z Challenge, I wanted to write a quick post letting you know about tribute we've set up in her honor. 

Tina had a special love of sunflowers, so before September 8th, we ask that anyone who would like to join us in honoring the life of a wonderful friend, mother, wife and blogger, please purchase or plant a sunflower in her memory. Take a photo with your sunflower and upload it to your blog as a tribute to Tina. 

You can sign up now or add your link when you've posted. Please help us spread the word by using Tina's motto #LifeisGood as a hashtag when you share about this blogfest in any social media forms.

Let's honor Tina's memory and light up the blogging world the way she did throughout her life.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Prayer for Tina Downey

I'd like to take a moment to honor someone very special to the world. Many of you bloggers may be familiar with Tina Downey, but for those of you who never got a chance to know her, she was a devoted member of the blogging community. Apart from being a member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, and her own blog Life is Good, she was one of the team members in charge of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. 

I am beyond saddened to write that after many months of health struggles, Tina passed away Saturday, August 23rd. 

I cannot say that I knew Tina well. In fact, I'd only just "met" her last week when I was asked to join the A to Z Team. But from the true emails we traded back and forth, I recognized immediately how special she was. I don't say this lightly, nor do I mean to evoke the cliched pathos used when someone of a mere passing acquaintance passes away. Rather, I think her emails demonstrate exactly what kind of person she was:

"I'm snarky, like to quote movies, stir the pot, and kick some ass when I feel things aren't going in the right direction.  Feel free to talk back!"

She also took the time to say a personal hello to me, and went out of her way to assure us new recruits that though the challenge we were about to undertake would be immense, she would go out of her way to make it fun, and to see to it that we never felt alone. That alone would have won me over, but her sense of fun, her snarkiness, and her open generosity shone through like a beacon. I greatly regret that I was unable to correspond with her more before illness took her. 

I pray for Tina and the family she left behind, and I hope that wherever she is, she's in a better place. She wrote of her love for sunflowers, so to honor her I thought I'd post one on my blog. I invite anyone who knew Tina or who lost someone they cared for to post a sunflower as well, or to just take a moment to honor her memory. 

Rest in peace, Tina Downey. You sunny presence in the world will not be forgotten. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Mobile Library

It's been a very, very, very long week. Because for my husband and I, it's moving week. Ugh. And let me just say, I hate moving. I've hated moving ever since college and the exhausting ritual of relocating to a new dorm room every blessed year. But this move has been particularly brutal because, for the first time in my life, I'm moving for two. And let me tell you, my husband has a lot of stuff. 

Now, that being said, I will admit that I might have my fair share of stuff as well. And in particular, I have a lot -- and I mean a serious lot -- of books. I learned during those many college moves that the best way to deal with transporting the vast quantity of exceedingly heavy tomes was wheelie suitcases. The problem then becomes one of housing. As my collection has outgrown my current shelving, my husband very gallantly went out to procure some bookshelves for me. And this is how it went:

Me building the shelves . . .

Me insisting that there would be shelf space left over for knick knacks . . .

The moment I started wondering if I might be wrong . . .

The clear-cut proof that I was, in fact wrong. There was no extra room. . . 
[Note: That top right section is reserved for my Harry Potter 
books which I lent out to a friend prior to moving]
I'd also like to note that a fair amount of my collection still lives at my parents house. My dream is to one day own a house with a library that looks a little something like this: 

I can't be the only one who feels this way, am I right? But my friend suggested that, after seeing the amount of work it took to transport my entire collection, I might want to look into something more like this:
But I fear that while I might indulge in the occasional e-book from time to time, I will always prefer the real thing. My wheeling suitcase full of books is as mobil as my library will ever be. I'll continue to cart them from place to place until my Beauty and the Beast Library fantasy is finally fulfilled. 

Anyway, hopefully we'll be done soon so I can stop packing/hauling and start reading. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Blow to Childhood

I'm sure all of you have heard by now, the cinematic world lost one of the greats this week. Robin Williams was found dead on Monday, a death that shocked many. A man known for making people laugh, it's hard to know that he struggled with depression himself, a depression that eventually lead to the end of a life that touched many. 

Celebrity deaths often make a huge impact; however, as a friend of mine pointed out on Monday, this one holds a very specific kind of pain for many of my generation because, in a way, we grew up with Robin Williams. He was my childhood hero. The genie we all desperately wanted to befriend. The housekeeper that made us laugh and the teacher that made us think. I still remember every word to the "Batty Rap" from Fern Gully and long to play Jumanjii, the scariest board game known to man. And I will never forget watching him in one of my absolute favorite childhood movies, Hook. 

For the most part I try to avoid the celebrity craze, but losing Robin Williams feels a little like losing a friend. Or at the very least, a piece of my childhood. 

R.I.P. Robin Williams (1951-2014)

And though it didn't stir the media quite the same, I'd like to take a moment to honor Lauren Bacall as well. I was dismayed to learn that she died last night from natural causes. She was a beautiful woman, remembered for her magnificent performances in To Have and Have Not and Key Largo along with her late husband, the great Humphrey Bogart. On a personal note, my parents loved her so much that they actually named me after her. It always made me laugh a little, because she was born Betty Joan Perskey, but my name remains Lauren nevertheless. 

These two wonderful actors will surely be missed. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

I FINALLY got to see Guardians of the Galaxy (twice as a matter of fact), and It. Was. Amazing. The cast was absolutely superb (who would have ever thought Chris Pratt would be so phenomenal in this roll?), the musical choices, spot on. And the one liners, wow!

But more importantly, this film shows us, as so many have before, that the geniuses at Marvel know exactly what they're doing. Where DC Comics scrambles around making one blunder after another (with, of course, the notable exception of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series), Marvel learned from their 2003 Hulk flop and recognized that the key to cinematic success was collaboration and cohesion.

For it's a cohesive Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) we're seeing now. No longer does each series stand alone . . . Thor blends together with Iron Man, ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reacts to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and so on. All these films and TV shows are part of a intricate and complex world that Marvel execs have determined to bring together in one cinematic cosmos. And how fortuitous, they already had a vehicle in place that could blend the many different threads together into one complex fabric -- the Avengers team. 

The use of the Avengers allows MCU to delve into a vast array of different comic book superheroes while still maintaining an overarching storyline. Iron Man, Captain America . . . all roads lead to the ultimate endgame, Avengers 3. And that's where Guardians of the Galaxy takes it's place, giving us the first (non-post credit) glimpse of the final film's antagonist. 

Basically, Marvel is a genius. And with their Disney merger in 2009, they've become even stronger. If only they could get Fox and Sony on board, MCU could take over the world!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! If you're an insecure writer or just looking to give some support to those of us that are, check us out here. And as always, a HUGE shout out to our fearless Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group and giving us all so much support. Check him out here

This month I am facing a a new dilemma. I'm several chapters into a a redraft of an old story, and it's humming along fairly well. But to be honest, I'm just not feeling all that invested in the project. And to make matters worse, there's another project that's been running around my head the past few days, but I'm struggling to get anything on paper. I'm feeling a little defeated, but I really need to keep working. And more to the point, I need to make a choice between these two projects. Any advice? 

Good luck to all you other insecure writers out there!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday Movie Marathons: Disasters

Last night I saw a preview for the upcoming Into the Storm movie, which has the potential to be an awesome new disaster movie. As a huge fan of the genre, I'm really looking forward to it. And in anticipation, I thought I'd post a Monday Movie Marathon blog on, you guessed it, disaster movies. This list could just go on and on, but here are just a few of my favorites to get the ball rolling. 

Disaster Movies:

What about you guys? Any favorite Disaster movies I didn't include?