Category Archives: Movies

I’m back: The 2014 Oscars

I have to open with some humble apologies because it’s been two years since my last Oscars post.  During that time I was unfortunately with someone who doesn’t like movies. Oh, who am I kidding? That was said so gently it doesn’t really give the proper gravitas to the situation. No, I must speak the truth: I was with someone who HATES movies. 

Dear Lord, I think my friend Squee just shot her soda pop all over her screen as she went,


Sorry Squee!

But yes, that is the unfortunate truth. When you are around someone who hates movies, merely watching the Oscars, God forbid tweeting or even thinking about writing a word about them becomes impossible. Say the word “actor” around that person and all that hisses from their lips is “thesssssssspian,” like a poisonous viper, spewing and filling the atmosphere around them with their venom, purposely ruining the magic of the movies for the entire theater-going and movie-loving crowd for at least 10 miles around them.  Yeech!

Yes, I was dating Lord Voldemort…with Nagini in tow…

And while you’re laughing…


Cue music!

 While the music is playing…keep reading!!!


I can love movies all I want again!  Hooray!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s one of my favorite nights of the year, the one where I’m grateful I’m not an actor but ultimately grateful for all of the hardworking men and women that create the magic of the movies I love watching so much. Everyone but everyone who knows me knows how much I love movies.

From buttery popcorn to the concession stand napkins used to dry my eyes, movies inspire, fuel and ignite my imagination in a way nothing else in the universe can.

Think about it, without the magic of the movies, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do for a living. If it weren’t for pioneers in special effects, I would have never known what it was like to be inside the digital world of Tron. So I guess you could say that I owe a lot to Hollywood and it’s that time of year to show my gratitude to everyone that participates in the film industry, from film students to riggers to high-paid directors.

But let’s get the details covered:

Preparing for the Broadcast

This morning when I woke up, I could feel the buzz in the air as I realized it was Oscar Sunday. As I went outside for my morning ritual of news and fresh air, I realized that I was LONG overdue for an Oscar-fueled extravaganza. After all, this is the very first Oscars post on the new site, so why not bring the thunder with one heck of an adventure!?!?

After that, it was to the showers because I realized that there are a few things I have always done for Oscar Night: have incredible food, comfy surroundings and with phone in hand, report it all to my Twitter feed.

The behind-the-scenes was the fun part this year. Between whole wheat angel hair pasta in meat sauce accompanied by fresh french bread and a salad drizzled with my mother’s homemade balsamic dressing (OMG, better than any dressing you can buy at the store), we watched the majority of the Red Carpet coverage from the dinner table.  As the Red Carpet wound down, I was done baking my world-famous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (which I have aptly nicknamed “C4’s”) that explode with gooey chocolaty goodness over the tastebuds and are just as decadent as the fashions walking across the screen.

From this:

Ingredients all laid out
Ingredients all laid out

To this:


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Onto the sheet

To these:


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies ready to be eaten!
Cookies ready to eat!

Like I said on my Facebook feed earlier in the day:

Chocolate and Gold just goes.

With one bite into a C4, my mom went “Oh, these are rich.” Well, they’re supposed to be! It’s only Hollywood’s most glamorous night, so you better believe I’m going to have something that’s at least rich-tasting! (And if Hollywood got one taste of my C4’s, oh man, I’d be up to my armpits in orders for next year’s show! They are THAT good! The cookie dough smells like a Hershey bar before they’re baked. Even the most ravenous of chocoholics are sated with a single bite. No kidding.)

After the C4’s were carefully placed on the cooling racks, I was already onto Phase 2 of my Oscar-fueled nom-fest: The Brie plates. Filled with apples, red seedless grapes, crackers and small tub of spreadable brie, I brought the richness of the evening up another level. Like I said, I might not have all the money in the world, but my experiences are always worth more than a dime.

So, for your drooling pleasure, I present The Brie Plate:

Tell me your stomach isn't rumbling...

LOL! I just felt like Jerry Orbach’s “Lumiere” in Beauty and the Beast.

Now, let’s get on to the reason we’re all here:

The Broadcast

This morning, as I read the news, I happened upon an article in The Telegraph about how much pressure Ellen was under to deliver as host of the Oscars. The article even relived that eye-bleach needing, ‘please-don’t-make-me-watch-it’ feeling, “Styrofoam Man” debacle of James Franco’s, who with Anne Hathaway made a shambles of the Oscar telecast with their “young and edgy” thing. That banana peel of a broadcast made room for Billy Crystal to come back and host for a record ninth time (which I must admit…however much I love Billy…um, it didn’t go so well).

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not the biggest Ellen fan in the world, but I will tell you in a heartbeat that she hit that “just right” mark dead on. Academy, you’ve got a winner. For chrissakes, SHE CRASHED TWITTER with a selfie from the audience!

If that doesn’t spell W-I-N-N-E-R to you, we need to talk.

That’s right everyone, I’m one of the two million plus who’s retweet-madness helped crash Twitter with Ellen’s Epic Selfie, probably one of the most unforgettable Oscar moments of all time.  I know this because why? Because my tweets wouldn’t send, my phone crashed and it was just a mess, but at least I can say it was a good mess. 

Speaking of Twitter: to catch up on all of my Tweets during the broadcast, check out my Twitter feed at…


Oh my sweet Lord, Twitter’s still jammed up!  I tried to log on to get you the right address for my tweets and the sucker took forever to launch…gee, thanks Ellen. I know a couple of network engineers that are really thanking you in their prayers tonight!

After taking forever to load, here’s where you want to go to check out my Twitter feed:

But let’s get back to that epic selfie. Do you know, thus far, that photo has been retweeted over 2 million times?


And if you’ve not seen the selfie, here it is:


 Click on the pic to go to Ellen’s feed, the photo has reached almost 2.4 million re-tweets as of this writing.

Ironically, I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point. I think this could be the moment where Twitter really tips and goes from 22 percent of any target audience to well over 50-60 percent. (Just my trendspotter gene rearing its’ ugly head of course, but I’m guessing you will want to check those numbers in a few months… but it’s just a hunch. If you want to check the accuracy of my hunches, ask my friends Amanda and Dan…they’ll tell you. *wink wink*)

But, notice how much I’ve focused on Ellen? That’s because she made the whole thing work. Instead of uncomfortable silences, we actually sat waiting for what she was going to do next.  I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a very good thing.

I loved how she ordered pizza and REALLY passed it around, prompting me to look at the Brie Plate I had created and subsequently tweeted:

I’m not sure, and maybe it’s just me, but among the pizza and other high jinx,  I even think she addressed the horrific reboot/remake trend sweeping Hollywood. It might just be me, but when she showed up on stage dressed as Glenda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz, she looked ridiculous, but it also made me remember when Whoopi Goldberg hosted the Oscars and came out dressed as Queen Elizabeth. Remember?


Compare the two…



See? Even if she did it unwittingly, she still poked fun at the movie industry with a sharp barb. The message is the same: Enough already. Don’t reboot something that really doesn’t need it.

Please Hollywood, I wrote about this how many years ago??? Stop trying to resuscitate a dead horse. The damn thing is friggin’ dead! Stop touching it! Let it alone!

Speaking of reboot and remake mad equine corpse-humpers…HEY!  Hey YOU! Yeah you, J.J. Abrams, I see you over there skulking in the shadows trying to sneak past without getting caught…get your G.D. hands off of Star Wars.  You already touched Star Trek,  so drop the camera, walk away and leave well enough alone. It’s bad enough George Lucas came through with a weed whacker and cut Darth Vader’s balls off in the three poorly acted prequels to the classic (read: “should have been left alone”) trilogy, but then YOU come along and give us a Mr. Spock that runs like a girl! Shame on you. I mean, did someone order the castration of our most iconic characters and not tell everyone?  (Don’t get me wrong, I adore Zachary Quinto, but that run needs some serious work; and when the bangs parted down the middle in the last Trek  outing…I went on a Melissa Leo-esque F-bomb tirade that lasted for an hour. Man up Zach, for no other reason than to preserve Leonard’s legacy. Spock is a man’s man, even on Vulcan. That is all.)

J.J., you have shaken and lens flared us enough…and casting Benedict Cumberbatch (oh I would have loved to be in the room when they came up with that poor bugger’s stage name…Zenglebert Slaptyback…) as the new Khan???  Sweet Lord, Ricardo
Montalbán is going to come back from the grave and pimp slap you both.

(And now there goes my best pal Barry shooting his soda all over the screen…sorry man, but I knew the weed whacker thing would get you…I know you are laughing right now, my brother…better yet, you gotta admit I’m RIGHT.)

SECURITY! Grab that J.J. fella by the scruff of his neck and escort him from the lot!!!  J.J. Abrams is persona non grata in my house because he’s double-dipping into (and arguably damaging) two great, time-honored franchises. I mean, it’s bad enough the actors are doing it…(Harrison Ford as Han Solo AND Indiana Jones…Chris Evans as The Human Torch (in The Fantastic Four) AND Captain America…Not to mention Ben Affleck getting into the act by being Daredevil along with gaining the distinction of being the next poor bastard who tries to be Batman…) Did anyone see Michael Keaton change franchises?  NO! .. Sweet Lord, what is wrong with you people? Ever heard of giving someone new a chance? Hell, what about the words of Edna Mode?  Will those get through?



How do we cure this madness!?!?

Ellen’s ‘Glenda’ costume said it all…”STOP WITH THE *BLEEP*ING REBOOTS AND REMAKES!” Not everyone deserves to double-dip in the franchise and character well and get away with it.

Meanwhile, back in the real world…

I know that tonight’s Oscar theme was “Heroes”, but did anyone else beside me get that the theme of the night really wasn’t “Heroes” but “Social Justice”? Notice what won in the really high-profile categories:

Jared Leto wins Best Supporting Actor for his work in Dallas Buyers Club.

Lupita Nyong’o wins Best Supporting Actress for her work in Twelve Years a Slave.

Cate Blanchett wins Best Actress for her work in Blue Jasmine.

Matthew McConaughey wins Best Actor for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. (#AllRightAllRightAllRight)

Notice first, not one single remake or reboot in the lot. Second, look at the topics of the films…AIDS, slavery, mental illness, gender issues…these are all very, very much social justice topics…AND THEY ARE GETTING AWARDS for bringing awareness of these extremely real people into our collective consciousness!

Okay, if you want to have all the depth of a shot glass, you can say that they were just really good performances. Those of us with a little more depth are going to realize that the ultimate privilege that those four actors have is little thing called awareness. Awareness of social justice issues that Jared Leto talked about so brilliantly in his acceptance speech. “The Unshackled Minds” that Kim Novak eluded to when she helped present the awards for Animation…


You get it, I know you do.

When Matthew McConaughey won for best actor, the whole living room went up in cheers. Well, he is from Uvalde (for you non-Texans, it’s pronounced “You-val-dee” – emphasis on the You), how do I know that?  Let’s check the map…

Need I say more?

Oh there is one more little photo I just loved…especially since I live to be Chasing Tron:


That’s a quote I can definitely agree with.

All Right.
All Right.
All Right.

And for song of the day, one that hails the Sophomore back to the days of old when one of my old pals found me crying and asked me if I was going to be okay…

I looked them dead in the face and said, “I’m not okay right now, but I’m going to be.”

I’ve once again rescued myself, and I can promise you, no man, and no one, will ever be reaching down to push me further down while they claim to be trying to rescue me. I can do it myself, thank you very much. Tonight’s post proves it.

I’m back. Permanently.

Life’s Movie Moments: Twister

Disclaimer: This one goes a little long. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you start. You may want to grab a snack and a drink on the way back.

Two weeks ago, I got a large manilla envelope in the mail from the county courthouse. Judging from the content of my last post, you can probably guess what was inside: a bundle of legal documents also known as my divorce papers.

When I first saw the envelope, I was expecting it to be the final divorce decree, so in my own way I dreaded opening it. But, I sucked it up and charged head first into the breach. In true Sophomore fashion, it wasn’t what I expected at all. Attached to the top of the pile of papers was a note informing me of something I would have never guessed would happen.

I think I may be the only woman in the world besides Helen Hunt’s character “Jo” in the film Twister to forget to sign the final page of her divorce papers.

As I read what was attached to the top of the document, I was mystically transported into the film with Jamie Gertz’s character of “Melissa” (complete with long Bassett Hound ears, surrounded by a snarling pack of rabid footballs on feet) looking at my ex and asking “Did she sign it? [pause] She didn’t!?!?”

Unlike Jo, I didn’t do it on purpose. It wasn’t some desperate attempt to keep my ex-husband in my life. I was just so stressed out by the whole process that I simply missed a page.

Upon realizing that my signature and address were missing from the most important page of the document, I filled it in. As I did though, there was a lump the size of a softball in the pit of my stomach. I was suddenly filled with a deep regret realizing that my life, as I once knew it, had come to an end.

But here I am, talking about endings again. Seems I’ve had a lot of them lately, but like the Myst Universe teaches:

The harder an end is to face, the more hope we take with us to the next beginning.

That’s really what I’ve got my mind focused toward right now, new beginnings. As I’m finding out, while the lessons of the Myst Universe are poignant and extremely worthwhile to keep in my pocket, I still feel like I’m caught in the middle of Twister.

If you remember from Twister, there is a scene where Jo’s whole gang of storm chasers is sitting around the table at Aunt Meg’s: Dusty’s going on about “imminent rueage” in regards to a rival storm chaser, Cary Elwes’ character “Jonas”, futile attempts to go head-to-head against Bill’s “The Extreme.” That line of conversation is followed quickly by talk about the Fujita Scale and the F5 tornado being called “The Finger of God.”

Remembering that movie moment reminded me of how fast and out of control my life has been since that April afternoon when it seemed my world had completely shattered.

If you don’t remember, here’s the clip:

My moment of regret is more akin to what Meg says to Jo: “He didn’t keep his part of the bargain. To spend his life pining for you and die miserable and alone.”

Every time I see the scene between Jo and Aunt Meg, I think especially of my Auntie June. I remember after my ex left, she had very similar words for me.

Meanwhile, back in the real world… After signing the last remaining page, I found myself downtown in a long line outside of the County Clerk’s office. In line with me was a man whose life’s work is serving divorce papers. He mentioned the diametric opposition of how men and women handle the news. He noted how women accept the situation with strength and composure while men crumble to pieces. I was quite surprised by the revelation, and it made the very emotionally troubling trip worth it as it made me laugh during a moment that threatened to make me cry.

It was then that a woman named Karen came out and asked me what I was there for, so I handed her the envelope and she proceeded to check it over and inform me that she would send it over to the judge’s office.

With that experience behind me, I got into my car for the trek home and the entire time driving, for the first time I didn’t find the need to dwell on it. I guess you could say that the bridge my friend KP helped me build to get over it was hard at work holding me up.

However, any way I try to slice it, I’m in what Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character “Dusty” calls “the suck zone” because I feel like a tornado has come and sucked me up into the middle of it.

As I’ve written a thousand times before, when you are handed a rough situation, you have to make choices. Whether we want to admit it or not, the choices we make when things seem at their worst is what defines us. The emotional risk we all fear becomes unavoidable and in that moment we either stand strong or we crumble.

Since I am a notorious (to the point of self-destructive) emotional base jumper, I guess it’s time for me to get a little extreme. I’ve made my choice and no matter how scared I get, I’ve got to walk up to the raging storm ahead of me, tell it to “have a drink,” chuck the bottle into the tornado and be just as amazed as everyone else when the bottle never hits the ground.

Inside the storm is my final semester at UNLV. I got all my classes lined up and during the time between now and May, I’ll apply for graduation, get fitted for my cap and gown; get my photos taken in my cap and gown (especially for Mom) then have my graduation invitations printed and mailed out. That’s all got to happen while I’m taking Photojournalism with an award-winning photographer, going through a stint as a Leadership Intern and wrapping it up with my Leadership Capstone class.

Simultaneously, the lightning and thunder will be coming from the pursuit and hopefully the public release of what has become my magnum opus, finally Chasing Tron to the most unlikely of places, going into the digital universe in an effort to help parents pull their child out of what I lovingly call “Console Quicksand.”

With everything else in my world feeling unsteady, the storm clouds over my work have seemed unceasing, that is until recently. As everyone knows, since stepping out of a movie theater in 1982, I’ve spent my life desperately searching for the Encom laser to pull me into the digital universe. The best way to illustrate it is “The Grid” monologue from Tron Legacy.

The Grid.

A digital frontier.

I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer.

What did they look like?



Were the circuits like freeways?

I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see.

And then,

one day…

I got in.

I felt like a complete idiot when I realized that my search had been fruitless because I didn’t see that it had been right in front of me all along. I had been looking for exactly what has evolved around me over the last ten years…and I’m lucky I guess because I’m the only one who can see it.

The hardest part will be taking the brunt of the storm head-on. I won’t lie, it’s going to hurt when it hits. It’s going to come from folks not ready to face hard truths I’m going to be revealing. I mean, seriously, when was the last time anyone enjoyed holding themselves accountable for the obstacles they have to admit to creating?

It’s truly hard to fathom the mere idea that my colleagues and I could possibly be the only people in the universe that will have a decisive impact in the current battle of man versus machine. I have the distinct feeling we’ll be the crew who tethers themselves to the water pipe only to have the F5 of modern technology pass over us as we watch our feet dangle over our heads as we get the rare privilege of watching the storm from the inside.

Just like the storm chasing crew in Twister, if we can get Dorothy to fly, I’ve got a distinct feeling, as a line in the film says, “We’re going to be very popular.”

It’s all down to a little more writing, long hours editing and revising, then going toe-to-toe with the most intimidating thing I’ve ever faced when I present my revolutionary idea to the world. All this with a ton of reading for my classes and homework to boot.

Outside of all that stuff, there are a few funny ironies in the film clip I posted above with even more “life imitating art” moments: First, my pals from the Hairier Legion Flight Team inside will laugh their backsides off when they hear the character “Rabbit” say, “We’re going to take a little walk in the woods,” as I said that to them once while in the lead of one of our flights around the islands. And yes, I could hear them saying, “Mother of God…” just before promptly flying them into a no-fly zone on accident.

Secondly, the song “Humans Being” playing during the ‘walk in the woods’ scene by Van Hagar Halen literally has the line “like lemmings breeding” in it. You know me and my lemmings…the constant symbol of mindless following I’ve railed against now for over four years.  Yep, that’s in there too.

So ladies and gents, the only thing I can say for sure from my point of view: a storm is coming. As Dusty says,”It’s headed right for us,” only to have Bill reply,”It’s already here.”

Here’s my last dose of irony for you: If you keep track of astrological signs, I’m a Libra, one of the cardinal signs. Guess which element it rules over?


So, with that in mind, I always have to remind myself that there is always one phrase inextricably tied to air when it is in its’ excited state. You might know it best as “winds of change.”

Things are changing quickly and for the better, so for today’s song of the day, I’ve actually chosen two. From the Twister Motion Picture Soundtrack: “Humans Being” followed by what is argued by some as Eddie Van Halen’s finest instrumental, the Grammy-nominated (perfectly titled for today’s post): “Respect the Wind.”