Posted in Just Funny, Quirks and Other Weirdness, Uncategorized

good luck will rub off when i shakes ‘ands wif you

She sat on the back row of the bleachers wearing a brown plaid A-line jumper and ribbed white turtleneck, swinging her feet back and forth and wondering why they were HERE on this show today instead of in Kindergarten melting leaves & crayon bits in-between pieces wax paper, or dancing around the room to “Chim Chim Cheree” like yesterday.

Who is Captain Spaceman anyway?” she wondered to herself, looking at all the rows of lights hanging from the high ceiling of the television studio. Oh, well, at least the man in the giant blue leotard says our time is almost up, he just needs to draw a name for the prize. Sure, a prize would be nice, but not if she had to walk down in front of everybody to get it. No thanks. Her little wallflower self would rather just sit here watching her feet swing than be made a spectacle of, thank you very much.

Wait. What did he say? T20000 leagues gamehe giveaway is a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea game? Icky Yucky Ooky. She may only be five years old, but she’s smart enough to know that Jules Verne, and for that matter, all Science Fiction stuff is for boys. And she did NOT want boy stuff.  No thank you very much. Besides, surely they wouldn’t call out a girl’s name for a boy’s toy. That would just be mortifying – like that awkward moment when the boy in front of you toots and then looks at you so everybody else will think it WAS you. She’s rather die. But she told herself there was nothing to worry about. Only a 1 in 30 chance even if they DID include the girls, “Which they wouldn’t,” she thought just as they announced … HER name. WHAT? NOOOOO!

1st Grade StephAnd that, boys and girls, was the beginning of my lucky streak. I have gone on to win tickets and gift certificates to nice restaurants and books and videos and essay competitions and savings bonds and a video player and $200 in a photo contest and numerous cds, weekend getaways, a smart tv, and if you have EVER been to a “sales party” with me, be it Pampered Chef or Creative Memories or Tupperware or whatever, you know my name is ALWAYS the one that gets drawn for the door prize. Always.

Some decades later, only a few petals remain from my wallflower days. I have since learned to embrace Jules Verne, giant squids, AND feminism, no thanks to that stupid boy board game.

Today the sun is shining, my one-year-old blog is flourishing, and no fewer than a dozen of my stories and articles have been featured or purchased by BlogHer, Experts Among Us, and others.  I feel very VERY lucky.

And since I just got my vanilla latte free, I guess my good fortune still holds.

Either that, or I’ve already purchased ten this month and my punchcard was full. Still…

*The little dude next to me was my first “boyfriend” despite the fact that I was clearly taller. But he gave me a bracelet. Gotta love a guy who gives you jewelry. And it’s quite possible the girl next to me was Cindy Brady.
Posted in Movie Mondays, Uncategorized

thriller

I’m a movie buff.  Not a total cinephile mind you, but I know more about directors, composers and how to play “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” than I do about, say, ratios, negative numbers, and how to “solve for X”.

So I’m often asked what my favorite movie is, and the only way I can respond is: “Why don’t you ask me an EASY question, like which of my children I love most?”  Sheesh. I can’t even list a favorite genre, much less a favorite film.

There IS one, however, that consistently floats to the top 10…

  • pongBack in the days when I wore a mood ring
  • and listened to the Bay City Rollers on 8-track
  • when I thought Pong was the greatest thing since frosted Pop-Tarts
  • and watched Brady Bunch reruns religiously
  • and believed that “Love Will Keep Us Together”
  • Before I started Junior High
  • or got my first bra
  • or began shaving my legs
  • or even had my first kiss in the back of the church bus

….this movie became the first-ever summer blockbuster.   Problem was, it was rated PG, and I had never been allowed to view a PG before.  This was a big deal.  A BIG deal.  It wasn’t just that I wanted to see ANY PG-rated movie.  It’s that I wanted to see THIS PG-rated movie.  After all, this was the summer of 1975. Everybody was going to the theater… and as a result, nobody was going in the water.

big eyes

I begged. I pleaded.  I made “Big Eyes” like a Margaret Keane painting and looked pitiful.  I kept my room clean to earn brownie points. I tried every method known to 11-year-olds to convince my parents that IF I DID NOT GET TO SEE THIS MOVIE I would certainly be mocked and ostracized by every single member of the incoming 6th grade class.

Finally an exception was made to the “not old enough for PG movies” rule, and Jaws became my introduction to “grown up” movies.  (I actually wrote “adult” movies, but realized the term “great white” would take on a whole different connotation. Haha. Sorry, I made myself laugh.)

Where was I?  Oh yeah. Jaws.

Cue the ominous, repetitive John Williams’ cello theme…

Truthfully, I think my parents gave in because I was a timid little thing and they thought the monster shark would scare the toe socks off of me.

Instead, I was hooked (unlike the 25-foot mechanical shark). From Chrissie’s first terrifying scream to Matt Hooper’s nerdy enthusiasm to Captain Quint’s riveting monologue to Chief Brody’s “I used to hate the water”, I was IN LOVE with this movie.

Frankly, I still am.

When I talk about it, I get giddy.  My eyes light up.  I can’t explain it.  Part nostalgia.  Part originality. Part dialogue. (“I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch.”) Part soundtrack. (Du du. Du du. Du du du du du du du du dududuuuuu!)  Part directing. Part…everything.  I’ve read Peter Benchley’s novel.  I’ve worn out a VHS.  I’ve purchased and repurchased the DVD. I’ve even read the script.

I can go a little overboard when it comes to Jaws.  (Hehe.  See what I did there?)

I tried to find an application for this blog.  Something like “Life lessons I learned from Jaws”.

  1. “The past always seems better when you look back on it than it did at the time.”  Especially true of old photographs of yourself.
  2. “Why don’t we start leading the shark to shore instead of him leading us out to sea?”  Simply put, why are we letting someone else call the shots in our life?
  3. “It’s only an island if you look at it from the water.” Yeah, sometimes what we fool ourselves into thinking is good and safe turns out to be tragic if we don’t step back and look at things from a different angle.
  4. “I’ll never put on a lifejacket again.”  Meaning, literally, “sink or swim” but don’t bobble in fear waiting to be eaten.

I also tried to find a comedic angle to this blog.  Like how I thought Brody’s line was “You’re gonna need a bigger butt”… followed by 10 steps outlining how I became an overachiever.

shark baitI toyed with doing a creature feature comparison between Jurassic World and Jaws, to include the subtle homage to Jaws where Spielberg’s original monster, the Great White Shark, is used as bait to feed Jurassic’s Mosasaur.

I thought maybe I could blog about how Chief Brody’s story mimics my own…well, except for bikinis and harpoons and other weapons.  But you know what I mean. Brody’s character wasn’t really pursuing the Great White – he was learning to stand up for himself.  A public servant bombarded by a sea of brass bands and demanding islanders.  Unassuming and accommodating, trying to please everyone, all the while losing himself. On the ONE occasion when he does speak up, he’s shot down – metaphorically told not to rock the boat.  “Don’t mess with our little community’s way of life.” Little by little, however, it’s all left behind, the voices grow quiet, the music simplifies…everything that prevents Brody from being true to himself is stripped away until he is left all alone to face the beast…and is able to emerge victorious.

11166199_oriBut the only real angle I have for this blog is that I STINKING LOVE THIS MOVIE. The Hitchcockian filming.  The M*A*S*H-like characters. The iconic soundtrack.

No, it can’t measure up to today’s computer-generated special effects, but darn it, it’s 40 years old.  It was brilliant in 1975 and it’s brilliant in 2015. Drama, action, horror, comedy, suspense – the “Quint”essential battle between good and evil – all rolled into one giant animatronic fish saga.  And a young Richard Dreyfus spewing out lines like, “He ate the light”.

I mean, what’s not to love?

On Sunday, June 21, Cinemark is reviving Jaws on the big screen in honor of its 40th Anniversary.

You know where I’ll be.