becoming a blog contributor: shameless cheating

Tell me, dear readers, what’s better than a blog by a great blogger? A blog by great bloggers!

If you’re like me, you know there are too many great ideas to make a blog about and only so little time. I can’t make all the blogs. You can’t make all the blogs. But bloggers the world over are still making blogs, and we can’t let them have all the fun without us.

Becoming a contributor for a not-your-own blog is a great way to get to write about those things you’re still passionate about but that don’t mesh with the atmosphere of your blog. Shameless cheating for (former?) compulsive blog creators like me? I think so.

So show some love to my friend Anthony’s new contributor-oriented blog: fiction/nonfiction

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P.S. I will be contributing there. Plug yourself in somewhere, too!

irony

Someone should start a blog about irony . . .

Did you get the concept of irony the first time your high school English class delved into it? I’m not sure I did, and it never helped that most of the scenarios in the song “Ironic” by Alanis Morisette aren’t really ironic, but just terribly unfortunate (like “a death row pardon two minutes too late” or “rain on your wedding day”).

Ironic situations or statements are ironic because they are different than what you would expect to happen, or they take on a different meaning than was intended. But irony isn’t just for the stage or the story. Irony happens every day, and I enjoy finding it.

When I was student teaching, I called upon students for their best real-life examples of irony. One of my students said that his family member had lit some relaxation candles and left the house. They ended up burning down the house. I don’t guess they had the desired affect. (My own example of irony is terribly unfortunate as well, huh?)

Don't bet your bottom dollar on relaxation candles if irony has anything to do with it.

Someone should start a blog about the ironies they experience in life, the funny connections, and unexpected turn of events. One of my favorite sites on irony (since I have a category of favorite sites on irony and all) is Isitironic.com, where viewers can submit ironic experiences and examples and then vote on the best ones.

So, what would you rate my example of irony (based on a true story)?

This past week, I switched to a new moisturizer. It dried out my skin.

movies to watch for (and my predictions for best movies of 2012)

Someone should start a blog about movies to watch for . . .

Every time I’m ready to head to the movies, I have not the slightest clue about which ones are out, much less which ones are worth seeing. I probably can’t name a single movie out in theaters right now.

Someone should start a blog that keeps updated posts on movies to look out for in the near future. The blog could also include some movie reviews (after the fact), but it would focus mostly on upcoming movies.

Hm. So what kind of factors would the blogger have to consider in calling these movies worthy of “look out for this one” status? Probably, at minimum, these things:

  • Actors/actresses in the movie and their roles – Is this Harrison Ford in another Indiana Jones type film, or is he branching out and playing a softie minivan-driving dad?
  • Director, screenwriter, and the other big shots – If James Cameron is directing, it’s probably a winner.
  • Plot originality – No offense to the genre of romantic comedies, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Anyways, in celebration of the almost new year, I’d like to give my predictions for movies to watch for based on these factors.

Predictions for Best Movies of 2012

1. The Hobbit

Peter Jackson directing. Most of the original cast returning. Based on the novel by Tolkien. Follows in the footsteps of the trilogy for The Lord of the Rings, one of the highest-grossing film series of all time. Need I say more? Look for it in December.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

2. The Great Gatsby

Sure to be another great book-to-movie, this adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel stars three big names: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann, whose previous work includes Romeo + Juliet (which also starred DiCaprio) and Moulin Rouge, which was nominated for Best Picture back in 2001. I’m personally stoked to see this film, since DiCaprio is my favorite actor by far for his history of films like Titanic, Revolutionary Road, Inception, and Catch me if You Can, to name a few. I also look forward to seeing Mulligan’s development as an actress. For her work in Never Let Me Go, she was described as an actress who “feels” instead of acts. I can’t wait to see the two together. This one also comes out in December.

Cast of The Great Gatsby

3. Men in Black III

Though worldwide earnings were “down” to $442 million for the second movie, I believe it’s safe to say that people like the Men in Black movies. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back in their classic partnership. Can you believe it’s been over 10 years since they first hit the big screen together? Smith has developed so much as an actor since then, breaking his “funny man” stereotype with roles in The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, Ali, and I am Legend. Though he’ll likely be cracking jokes on screen for this one, I think his recent successes will bring a loyal fan base to theaters in May.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black

4. The Wedding

Although I haven’t heard much talk about this movie, it’s one of those “ensemble” or “all-star cast” types, with the big names being Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, and Robin Williams, plus more. I won’t claim the plot is very original (it’s one of those “let’s pretend we’re married for this-and-this reason”), but similar films like The Family Stone, which Keaton also starred in, have done well. It’s sure to appeal to families that want a good laugh. Look for it in October.

5. Les Miserables

This must be the year for novel-to-movies, because yet another classic, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, is lighting up the screen. The film will attract not only the literature lovers and those just curious enough to see a movie about a book they read in high school, but also those wanting to see how the producers have adapted this from its popular stage form to film. (Besides, Susan Boyle popularized the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical version in 2009. When things like that seep into pop culture, people don’t forget it.) Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway are the three main characters. Expect to see it in theaters in December. (Are you, like me, starting to wonder why all the good movies come out in December? It’s gotta be some kind of marketing scheme to steal our money intended for Christmas gifts.)

6. Safe House

This is a suspense/thriller, and the main plot is that a CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) must move a criminal (Denzel Washington) to a new safe place before violent forces kill them both. I believe the movie has a few things going for it: Denzel, the genre, and, of course, the whole CIA ingredient. It’s out in February.

7. The Vow

Starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams and based on true events, this is the story of how a couple’s life is torn apart when a car accident takes away the wife’s memory, and she can no longer remember her husband. He has to try to win her heart all over again. The film hits theaters in February, the perfect time to catch the romantics looking for a good Valentine’s Day date. Both of the stars previously acted in Nicholas Sparks book-to-films, so they’re sure to know how to pull the heartstrings.

The Vow

*** If you’re mathematical, unlike me, then you might have noticed that 3 out of 7 of my top picks are book-to-movies. I can’t tell you what percentage that is, but I would like to recommend reading this recent post, What Should Come First . . . by fellow blogger BookBlob, if you need help deciding whether to read the books or watch the movies first.

real moments

Somebody should start a blog about real moments . . .

(Warning/Disclaimer/Preface: This post is highly philosophical in nature, more so than most previous posts. It is not very humorous or knee-slappingly funny, but it was something I had to write about. End of disclaimer.) 

Do you ever have those moments when life is finally so real? You realize something. You experience something. You feel taken aback. Or amazed. Or alive for the first time. All of a sudden, the shams of your “existence” don’t withstand or last or satisfy or matter. You’ve stolen a glance at a massive shiver of light, albeit through the cracks of walls erected between you and eternity.

Real moments are like spotlights in an otherwise dark theatre.

It happens when I have a late night walk with friends. Or listen to certain songs on repeat for indefinite time. Or have an ephiphany – even minor characters can have them. Or something happens that is unbelievable for the cynics and those who believe in luck or chance, or their children coincidence and accident. It happens when I’m running “late,” only to cross paths with someone, and one of us desperately needed to see the other.

Sometimes it’s felt through words on a page, in a story, on a song sheet. Today, my real moment was here:

“Sometimes it seems like the most real thing is what we can see and experience with our senses around us – this life, the tangible . . . Ideas like love, like God – these things sometimes feel more disconnected and ethereal, like that’s the ghostly realm. But what if that’s wrong, and God and love is actually what is most real, and we are more like ghosts walking upon the earth, hoping to become more real?” – Michael Gungor

Someone should start a blog about those moments, the real moments when we feel life and, even if but for a moment, become real ourselves.