December 31, 2009

The More You Stay the Same, The More They Seem to Change

Don't you think it's strange?

I was reading another blog, or maybe it was a Facebook note, and it was all about things that person had come to realize. It was just a list of things they had figured out after different life experiences, big and small. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool, so I thought I'd do it, too. This isn't about things I've just realized in 2009, but it's also not not about things I've just realized in 2009. There was definitely an easier way to phrase that last sentence, but I consciously chose the more difficult route. (I just like that you can apply math rules to the sentence: let that double negative cancel itself out and what are you left with? Go ahead, I'll wait. ............ See what I did there?)

Okay, okay. All double negatives aside, here are some things I've come to realize:

.: I've come to realize happiness isn't as easy as just being happy, as some people would have us believe (I'm talking about you, Leo Tolstoy). It is something you have to work at. :.

Leo Tolstoy is the guy who said, "If you want to be happy, be." I used to think it was really clever, and it changed the way I looked at things for a while. Don't get me wrong, it's still a nice quote, but it's rather misleading. Over the past three or four years, I've had to work at happiness, and it's been hard. Trust me, if it came down to me willing myself happy, I would have been walking on sunshine years ago. Better yet, I wouldn't have been unhappy in the first place. However, I'm finally in a place (mentally) where I consider myself 'happy'. Things aren't perfect, not even close, but I'm up and at 'em everyday and I'm working on making things perfect. I'm feeling like I haven't felt in years (years!) and I'm proud because I worked hard at it.

.: I've come to realize that family is family, for better or for worse. :.

Being a part of a family is a marriage like no other--you can't get divorced and split up the loot. When you're born there aren't any contracts drawn up. While you're in the womb, there isn't a lawyer preparing a pre-familial bond agreement. The cord is cut, but suddenly, you're more attached than ever. There's no courting involved, you get what you're born into--almost like an arranged marriage. Despite it all being completely out of your hands, you have to accept what you're given. That doesn't mean like--hell, it doesn't even mean love--it just means accept. The more I've accepted my family (and, trust me, it's many, many dysfunctions), the more I'm okay with myself.

.: I've realized having someone to talk to, who is completely invested in helping you deal, is wonderful and invaluable. :.

Just find someone (a friend, teacher, parent, relative, counselor, hotline volunteer, etc.) to listen to what you have to say. I'm a big fan of writing, but there's absolutely nothing that can compare to saying it all out loud. Seriously. It's worth it to find at least one person, someone you feel will do right by you, that you can open up to. That means they'll listen intently and only give advice when you ask for it. I've found it's best that this person isn't a friend or family member--they often want to persuade or fix things, and often times they end up invalidating your feelings. Not purposely, mind you. It's just sometimes, it's hard to see the ones we love struggle. My biggest worry was offending the people who cared about me by going to someone else, someone who knew nothing about the people I was going to rant about; it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

.: I have come to realize emotions, especially anger and hate, consume you. :.

I've spent a lot of time letting betrayals and injustices take over my world--sometimes to the point where I couldn't even get out of bed--and I've missed out on a lot of good things. I usually play things close to the chest, so stating that I've been betrayed and treated unjustly seems like I'm letting you all see too much of me. But, I know you guys, and trust you all enough to share with you (I know that this is open for anyone on the Internet to see, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm only talking to the few of you that I know will take the time to read this). I've carried around major feelings of anger, and even hate, and all it did was ruin me. The persons I harbored those feelings for didn't even know it, so it wasn't affecting them like it was me. As far as I knew, they were off, living life, and there I was, wasting away. Along with this, I now understand what people mean when they tell you that forgiveness is more for yourself than for the person you're forgiving.

.: I've come to realize that people look up to, and depend upon, me. :.

Many times throughout my life, I've been told that I'm a leader. I've been told that when I talk, people listen. That people respect my honesty and trust my opinions. I never really understood what being a leader meant, so I never really embraced the honor. I've started to see, however, what it entails and the realization has affected me. I feel there's no way to talk about being a leader without sounding completely egotistic, so I hope it's not coming off that way. I never feel like a leader; I usually feel more like the goofy, wise-cracking sidekick. This year, I was thanked by people I didn't even know I had helped. It's so hard to explain, but it's just a little overwhelming, quite scary and extremely humbling.


The person who did this just wrote one sentence about the things they'd realized. However, I decided part way through this post that, instead of just making a long list one time, I'd much rather elaborate a bit on the reflections I'm making. So, I think I'll try to squeeze in a thought about something I've come to realize on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.

I don't know if you all made it through the whole post, but if not, that's okay. It was nice just to write it.

Title Song: 'Put Your Records On' - Corrine Bailey Rae

December 30, 2009

In Each Life Some Rain Falls, But You Also Get Some Sun

I've made it a habit lately of not sticking to my habit of themed posts. That could be because I haven't had any obligation to anything (whatsoever) in the past however many days it's been since finals week, and it's kind of nice. It's also probably because I don't even have a clue as to what day it is...really. It's Monday or Tuesday though, right? Am I joking right now? No, sadly, I am not.

I do know, however, that in a couple days (maybe a few days if it's Monday) that we'll be done with the aughts and into a new decade. I've learned, from the wise women in my family, of a cool tradition/superstition of cooking certain foods to ring in the new year.

On New Year's Day there are four (4) (that always cracks me up when the number is written out and then the numerical symbol is right next to in parentheses. I shouldn't laugh though, illiteracy is still a problem, America.) foods that are supposed to help you in the new year.

1. Black eyed peas -- Because they swell when they cook, they symbolize prosperity, good fortune.
2. Greens -- For an obvious reason, symbolize money.
3. Pork -- Because of the way pigs root forward when they are foraging, it symbolizes positive motion.
4. Rice -- Symbolizes life and health.

Basically, have a nice, soul food-filled dinner and you'll be okay.

Around this time, everyone starts making resolutions. I never make resolutions. I've learned that, mostly, resolutions are just for show. Usually, people tell friends and family about their weight loss goal or their cutting-back-on-my-drinking goal or their "being better at keeping in touch with friends" goal, and, by spouting off their goal(s), they feel they look better to others and in turn feel better about their self. Then, January passes, February's shortness swings by and by the time we're well into March, they're feeling shitty because they've done no justice to those resolutions.

Well, I have enough crap to feel bad about without adding on a neglected list of empty promises I made to please others to please myself (did you follow that?). So, that being said, I'm keeping with tradition and will not be making any resolutions this year.

On the other hand, I will be making some changes. This is the first year, in 18 years, that I am to be without the organized routine of school. I have a lot of big hopes and even bigger dreams. There's an ache inside me every single time I write--a good ache. I know what I want to do. I don't know exactly what I have to do to get there, but I have a rough outline.

Now, this might sound cheesy, but I'm going to say it anyway. Every story I've ever finished has had an outline, rough or otherwise. As I wrote, the outlines were filled in, changed, rearranged and always became clearer. I have no doubt the outline to my life (well, the outline to this part of my life) will go through the same process--my life is just a bunch of short stories I'm writing with every choice I make. I'm always unsure in the beginning, but by the end, I've reached a point of satisfaction; I know if I'm not satisfied, it's not the end.

Well, let's be real, that was cheesy. But, you get what I'm saying and you have to respect me, a least a little, for carrying that metaphor all the way through, haha.

All that cheesy stuff aside, I'm not going to write down the changes I'm making. Let it be known, though, that I started making them weeks (actually, months) ago--another reason I don't make resolutions is because it gives the false sense that change can only come with a new year. I'm not telling you guys because I know myself enough to know it won't do me any good to share them. Certain things I tell everyone, because I know if I say it enough, I'll be sure to do it (like my impending fame). Then, there are the things that are better motivators if I keep them inside.

Anyway, I've rambled enough. I hope you all had a jolly Chrismahanukwanzakah, and that you ring in the New Year with someone you enjoy and care about (even if it's just yourself). Also, I hope whatever resolutions or changes you make (or don't make), inwardly and outwardly, are for yourself--that's the real key, I think.

Lastly, I leave you with these two (2) (haha) quotes:

"...I realized that my dreams of becoming a writer wouldn't just come true; I had to do the work. ... I learned that dreams don't work without action; I learned that no one could stop me, but me. I learned that love is stronger than hate."
--Roseanne, from Roseanne

"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
--T.E. Lawrence

Title Song: 'Roseanne Theme' - John Popper

December 22, 2009

What I Want, You've Got

So, I'm breaking the whole themed posts, but it's my blog and I do what I want. Plus, I wanted you guys to watch this awesome video. It was made at Shorewood High School (in Shoreline, WA) for a lip sync competition that another Shoreline school (Shorecrest) challenged them to. The whole video was shot BACKWARDS. Also, it's one continuous shot.

It's amazing that this was made by a high school film class. I wish I could have done something like this in high school.


In the interest of fairness (this being a competition and all) I'll post Shorecrest's video as well.

What do you guys think? Which one do you like best? I like the one from Shorewood better. I think the song choice and the fact that it's shot backwards is what makes me like it more.


The only time I saw something filmed in one continuous shot was a movie I watched called Nine Lives. Which is definitely worth looking up (I think it's even on YouTube [and not to be confused with the movie Nine Lives that has Paris Hilton in it]). It's about the lives of nine different women (hence the name) and each segment is shot in one continuous shot, it's really amazing.

Anyhoo, hope you enjoyed the video.

Title Song: 'You Make My Dreams' - Hall & Oates

December 13, 2009

They Know That Santa's On His Way

He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.

Normally, I don't ask for anything for Christmas, so I don't usually have a Christmas list. That being said, I'm still not asking for anything. However, I am going to make a list of things I want, and since it's Christmastime, I guess it can be considered a Christmas list. Before I begin, have I ever mentioned that Christmastime is probably in my top 10 favorite words to write? Well, there's a fun fact for y'all.

The List:

-MacBook Pro
-Rosetta Stone (Spanish - Latin America)
-Final Draft (screenplay formatting program)
-Dragon NaturallySpeaking (voice recognition software)
-Lastly, there is a ton of books and movies I would love to own

So, like I said: this isn't a Christmas list, just a list around Christmastime. It's short, but extremely materialistic. These are just things that I eventually plan to buy for myself--whenever I save up enough money. I have a list of things that I want that are far from material, but that list is private.

Title Song: 'The Christmas Song' - Me singing in my room (I might use this song again this's my favorite Christmas song)

There's a Special Kind of Feeling in the Air

It only happens at this time of year
When everyone is filled with love and cheer
'Cause that's what matters

Lately, my world has been filled with nothing but writing. No, I'm not complaining. I'm super happy that I'm finally done with the screenplay for my independent study. It was a tough script to write and I'm not too sure I'm happy with the ending, but eventually I'll come back to it and revise it to my liking. I was up until around 8am finishing it the other night/morning, so I definitely put in work to finish the draft. It'll be nice to get a break from it though. Now I can finally finish up stuff for my portfolio in my fiction class.

Another thing I've been doing is reading a lot of screenplays. Most recently I've read: Precious, It's Complicated and The Blind Side. I'm trying to decide between An Education, Up in the Air, A Single Man and Sin Nombre. I probably won't read A Single Man right away. I've only seen the preview and it didn't really make me want to see it, so I'm in no hurry. It looked like the kind of preview that producers whip together when the movie isn't actually all that great.

The last movie I watched was Shrink. It stars Kevin Spacey as a therapist to the stars whose wife just recently died. He's trying to help his really eccentric patients, while he's barely functioning. The movie has a real Crash feeling to it. The lives of random people intersect in different ways. It's not as heavy as Crash. I enjoyed it, though. I've watched it twice already.

So, just a week until I'm done with Linfield! Crazy how fast this semester has gone. I've applied for a couple of jobs, I hope to hear back from at least one of them soon, we'll see. Fingers crossed.

Other than writing, reading and watching movies. I've been listening to Christmas music!

I guess I don't really have too much to talk about. The main thoughts on my brain last week were:

-It's cold
-I have to pack
-I don't want to pack
-That screenplay
-I hate the cold
-Directing scenes
-Getting a job
-Thank you cards
-Being a stand-up comedian
-Oh, and, it's cold and I hate it

But yeah, that's that.

Oh, except for this commercial. I laugh every time it comes on.

Haha, good stuff.

Title Song: 'Greatest Time of Year' - Aly & AJ

December 10, 2009

I'll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours

Remember, back in the day, when the Disney Channel was "Zoog" themed? How about when The Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird and Bug Juice were the staples of the Disney line up? What about when the channel featured music by people other than the stars of their most current shows? Yeah, those were the good days.

Remember B*Witched?

I definitely do. I used to LOVE their music, and their Irish accents. They only had two albums, and I think I really only paid attention to their first one, but I was obsessed with that one album.  C'est La Vie and Rollercoaster were my two favorite songs. I was super excited when they played part of the song in the movie Smart House.

Haha, I've forgotten how corny 90s videos were.

Next up? Oh, just a delightful girl group from England that goes by the name of (Spice Girls) Cleopatra!

The sisters from England were awesome. I still have some of their songs in my iTunes library (as well as some B*Witched). I used to jam the eff out to their songs. Along with Cleopatra's Theme (the video below), I also enjoyed: Life Ain't Easy, Don't Suffer in Silence, A Touch of Love and The Bird Song.  Apparently, they are still active as a group today. I had no clue until I took a trip down memory lane. That's a recent picture of them up there. I'm going to have to look up some of their songs after I post this, I'm interested in hearing what they sound like now.

I thought this was such a cool music video, watching it brings back so many good feelings. Oh, and for those of you who have recently heard me mention them, if you look at video at the 2:14 mark, you will see a prime example of "Dookie Braids". All of the girls in the video (basically) have them, but that girl's braids made me cringe and flashback to the 90s when I would fight to not have my hair done that way.

Well, that's it for this Throwback. I had a good time listening to all of this music. You guys aren't too much younger than me, but there's a strong probability that if you don't know of one of these groups, its probably Cleopatra.

I leave you guys with an X and an O.

Title Song: 'C'est La Vie' - B*Witched

December 7, 2009

I'm Goin' to California; I'm Goin' Far, Far, Far Away

Goin' to California, yes,
To resurrect my soul.
The sun is always shinin', shinin',
Or at least that's what I'm told.
I'm goin' to California,
There's a better life for me.
Goin' to California,
I'll write and tell you what I see.
I'm goin' to California,
Somebody say a prayer for me.

A letter to a neglected love.

Dear California,

I know it's been a couple of years since I visited you, but please believe me, I haven't stopped thinking or talking about you since.

I remember when I crossed the border into your world. Gliding along I-5, into Yreka. Remember when I stuck my black and white disposable camera out the window in Weed so I could take a picture of the sign announcing my entrance into the oddly named town? Then, like blades of fresh grass appearing on the first warm day of spring, the peaks of Mt. Shasta sprouted up tall and proud, and I felt like I was home.

Down through Redding, Red Bluff, Orland, Williams, Woodland and into Sacramento. Driving through the downtown streets, I peered at the city lights that spotted the Sacramento skyline--they were like multicolored Christmas lights flowing across a towering evergreen.

After a one night stand with your capital, I exited the city limits with a smile on my face. Traveling down the 5, I weaved through the dung-filled cow towns, into the crowded cities.

Hours passed before I caught a glimpse of Los Angeles. I wondered about it's Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theatre. I wondered about all of the stars who had succeeded and died there, disillusioned by the warmth of flashbulbs and lost in the smoggy haze of stardom. But, I couldn't stop, I had to keep going, I would be back, though.

I went on through Anaheim, the gritty city blessed with Disney's magical touch. Through Santa Ana, past Irvine and, finally, I found myself rolling parallel to the warm sands in Laguna Beach.

I spent a few days getting to know Laguna. Before I opened my eyes each morning, I heard the sounds of chirping birds and rushing waters; I felt the warmth of the sun and reveled in the smell of the citrus trees (which, although not native, fit in so well with the beautiful scenery). I soon left Laguna and got my chance to visit L.A.

It was another one night stand, but it was worth it. L.A. took me to dinner and a show. L.A. showed me through Bel Air and Beverly Hills; drove me down Sunset Boulevard and into Hollywood. L.A. showed me landmarks like the Beverly Hills Hotel and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. L.A. held my hand on the corner of Hollywood & Vine and made me feel beautiful.

I know my hometown has been nothing but good to me, but I just couldn't help the feelings I developed for L.A. If Tacoma was the high school sweetheart I was set to marry, L.A. was the handsome, adventurous and more successful other man that I cheated on my sweetheart with. But, who says a relationship born from quick impulses and deceitful desires can't be a relationship that goes the distance?

Cali (if I may call you that), I know we've lost touch over the past couple of years, but I don't want to be estranged from you any longer. The moment I saw your forest filled north, your temperate center and your sunshiny, palm tree speckled south, I knew I loved you.

There is still so much I don't know about you and I have every intention of learning all I can. I want to listen to secrets of your hills and the whispers of waves. I want to read what's written on your walls -- "Call Hollywood for a good time." -- and then leave my own tag (Jamika wuz here). I want to find out which rumors are true, clarify the misconceptions and investigate the urban legends.

At this time, when I'm surrounded by the cold, your warmth calls to me. I can't come right away, but I'll be there, I promise. You and I? We're going to make it. I hope you'll be as excited to see me, as I will be to see you. Until then, I will keep you in my thoughts and speak of nothing but my love for you to anyone who asks.

Shine On,

Title Song: 'Gone to California' - P!nk

December 3, 2009

I Know Your Deepest Secret Fear

I know everything.
Everything you do.
Everywhere you go.
Everyone you know.

I'm going to throw it back to 1996, to Nickelodeon's first feature film:

'Harriet the Spy'

This trip of nostalgia stems from the discovery that there will be a TV movie coming out next year sometime that is also called 'Harriet the Spy'.
Different directors:
Old: Bronwen Hughes
New: Ron Oliver

Different writers:
Old: Greg Taylor, Julie Talen, Douglas Petrie, Theresa Rebeck
New: Alexandra Clarke, Heather Conkie

Different production companies:
Old: Nickelodeon, Paramount, Rastar
New: Disney, 9 Story

Similar plots:
Old: You guys pretty much know how it went.
New: Young spy, Harriet Welsch, crosses paths with popular student, Marion Hawthorne, as the two girls vie to become official blogger of their high school class.
(Notice it's 'blogger' and not 'editor of the school paper'...way to update it for '00's, Disney)

So, I think it's same name, but not supposed to be a remake. However, the plots seem to parallel each other. But Harriet was in middle school in the old movie. Also, this one doesn't mention her spy notebook being maybe there's none of that, "My friends hate me, I'm a terrible spy" business. Not that I didn't love it.

Well, knowing myself, I'll probably watch it just so I can see how it is. Since it's a (free) TV movie, I'll be able to see it when it comes out and not wait until I can find it online somewhere, haha.

Anyhoo, hope everything is great with you guys. Later days.

Title Song: 'The Spy'  - The Doors