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Friday, October 30, 2009

Monty Python, NaNoWriMo, and I Get Scammed!!!




You know I started this blog to talk about things that happen in my life and how events affect me. In the process I have also talked about my writing and other people's writing and highlighted some wonderful blogs. I have also met some great people and found that even though I consider my writing a series of mad meanderings a lot of you enjoy reading it.:) In fact, one person, Margaret whose blog is called Meditation and discusses its uses in your life, said that it was like "an online magazine". I thought I would share that with anyone who doesn't read the comments here.

I have learned to read the comments for everyone's blog, because I have learned so much from comments and I have actually met a lot of great people from them. I love new visitors and especially people like Margaret from whom I can learn so much. In some ways she reminds me of my friend Marilyn Campiz, writer of Lotus Sutra Chronicles, who is also a world traveler and has a blog. There is the same calm feeling with beautiful pictures. I highlighted her blog here in this meandering post: "Thoughts on a Sunny Day". Go ahead and check out her blog, because her pictures are not only beautiful, but they tell a story of life in Korea we never see.

Now for something completely different.:) How many of you have been watching the series about Monty Python? It brings back those crazy shows, when I had never seen anything like this group. It also explains a lot of the reasons for their relationships and the precursors to their show. If you have never seen Monty Python go to a much earlier post of mine: "The Good Banker and My Favorite Store", in which I use the same expression as the first sentence of this paragraph. All Monty Python fans know this sentence very well. To transition between hilarious skits they used this sentence. John Cleese, who was able to say this with a straight face all the time in his clipped elite British accent, is probably one of the funniest comedians I have ever seen. Just an aside to let you know that John Cleese recently celebrated his 70th birthday on October 27th.

This new mini-series "Almost the Truth" shows why the show was so amazing. With four out of the five principal guys from the original show there, it was fun hearing them speak about their experiences doing the show. I haven't been able to see the whole series but hope to see it in its entirety when it comes out on DVD from Netflix. These are the most original and side-splitting funniest comedians I have ever seen. If you haven't seen any of the bits they did you have to treat yourself to watching them on YouTube. The one I just linked you to is so hysterical I dare you not to laugh during this skit. It's a combination of the material, their timing, and all of their talents combined. Go ahead and watch all of them including the interviews with the older Eric Idle. You will see how hysterical and irreverent they are. Watch all of the best ones on the Monty Python page.

This week has been full of crazy things. One of the craziest is what happened to me on Monday. As most of you know, I have been looking for a job and a way to make money for over a year. So when this job offer came in an email for a liason for a company overseas I checked it out. Certainly I wasn't about to give my name to spammers. The company, Davies-Turner turned out to be a legitimate company and I filled out the information with my name and address and sent it by email to what I thought was the company's HR department. This was in August, and I completely forgot about it. However, Monday morning a FEDEX envelope overnighted was delivered to me. Inside was a check for $3, 750.00 that showed another company's name in the letterhead. Immediately following this delivery I received an email from this so-called Davies-Turner representative telling me to expect a check and to keep 10% for myself while sending 90% by Western Union to another address. Of course, I didn't do anything. With a lawyer for a husband you learn never to do anything without checking. I called the company on the check and they were a real company. But they told me they had problems last year with bogus checks and that this was not issued by them.

Darn, I thought, I could have really used the money.:) But now I realized that I had been scammed. I went online and found the exact email that had been sent to me as an example of a scam. Funny, this wasn't on Snopes.com, the website I usually use to check if something is real or not. But it was found on Google and then my daughter, who is a research expert, found more about the scam and what I should do about it. So by the afternoon I was talking with the US Attorney Generals office and explaining what had happened to me. I had a copy of the check and the FEDEX envelope that I had sent to the company on the check. The US Attorney General was only interested in whether I had cashed the check or given them my Social Security number. Neither of which I had done. I am naive, but I'm not crazy.

This has really caused me to be very wary of giving any information anymore. The scammers used a real company, Davies-Turner, which has a legitimate business. Then they scammed another business by forging a check with their name. They sent it from another person who did not have a real phone number. (I called the number on the FEDEX envelope immediately). If you clicked on the link for Davies-Turner you can see how someone might think this job was real. If you get a job offer from any company don't just go to their website. What I should have done was search the internet for their name and check the listings underneath the first one. Here is what is there for Davies-Turner. The person who is supposedly sending the email is the real name of the man who is really at this company. It's very tricky so you have to be very careful. I post this as a cautionary tale to anyone who answers this kind of email. Be very, very wary, because you might wind up in my situation. I am sending a copy to the FBI and will also post on as many sites as possible to warn other people from getting involved.

If I had cashed this check as the scammer requested I would have had to pay not only the amount of the check but a fine as well. The Attorney General's office told me it would have been over $5,000.00. Yikes! So, crisis averted, but that did start my week off with a bang!!

The rest of the week I have been occupied with thinking about the next chapter for my WIP, When My Life Changed. Tonight I had a discussion with my daughters about how I should end the book and they gave me some good ideas. Whenever I am really stuck I go to them, because though they are grown they still are closer to the minds of teens than I am.:) Bouncing ideas off of them helped and I think I have a way to end this, finally. Of course, I won't know until I start writing the chapter. Then I probably have two or three more until the end. But we'll see. Writing isn't an exact science. LOL

Speaking of writing, this might be my last post in October and November is going to be very sparse. So if you are missing me I am not posting because I will be doing NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month and occurs every year from November 1st to November 30th. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month! I did it last year and won. I posted my winning badge from 2008 here to gloat about it.:) Also the winning certificate everyone who wins receives. I plan to add ones from 2009! Wish me luck!

Until the next time, which might be way into November, have a Happy Halloween and if you're doing NaNo good luck to you! Please add me as a friend there. My username is: lionmother. It's grueling but worth it. Welcome to all the new readers and thank you again to the readers who have continued to follow my meanderings.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Leonard Cohen Concert!

Leonard Cohen in concert
flowertime.org

First of all, here is the explanation of why I decided to have two posts today. When I was writing the earlier post it was two days ago. I had just had a great radio show and I was looking forward to seeing the Leonard Cohen concert for which we paid a considerable amount. I was unaware that my post would not be available to me in a few minutes. I clicked on a friend's link and got an error message. So I tried to get around the error message and couldn't do it. I'm sure that many of you have gotten error messages, clicked them off and tried to go again with success. Not this time! I clicked it off and went to my Blogger home. I got the error message. I figured the message would go away if I quit Safari and tried Firefox. It didn't go away. So I decided to restart my computer and it still didn't go away. Finally I was so frustrated I needed help or I was going to punch my computer screen.:) I went into the Help Forum for Blogger and a lot of people had the same error message. They too were getting frustrated. I asked my question and left the forum for a few minutes. When I got back to the forum I saw this sad Sorry message as the first post. The message explained that Blogger was having a problem and they were working to fix it. They apologized for the inconvenience. I went to bed, because occasionally even I need to sleep.:)

The following day I had no time to think about the blog, but after the fantastic concert I'm about to tell you about, I had no energy to write anything on the blog. So I put it off for today and as a result all the information I was going to tell you about going to the concert became obsolete.:) Yet I wanted all of you to know the experience we had last night or should I say Friday night.:)

I have been to many, many concerts of all kinds, yet last night was almost a religious experience. Seeing Leonard Cohen at 75 performing for us in such a humble and simple way made me cry at times. His poetry is so beautiful I was wiping my eyes a lot during the evening. The band is composed of excellent musicians who play together in perfect harmony, and his back up singers also do some gymnastics, play the flute, and one had an entire solo. They are composed of two sisters, and another woman who is responsible for much of the co-writing on Cohen's new songs. The sisters sing like soprano angels and along with the third woman they provide a wonderful background to Leonard Cohen's low and gruff voice.

But the star is definitely Leonard Cohen who started out the show on bended knee with his first song and managed to captivate the audience in just a single note. Of course, this audience was in his palm before he began. He got a ten minute standing ovation before he sang a note. Then during the performance people spontaneously rose to give him one after many of his songs. Hearing Leonard Cohen's voice was for me like getting a warm massage. Though he has sparse gray hair he covers it with a felt fedora in the manner of Frank Sinatra and he has a great deal of energy. He's sexy in a way many singers cannot manage today. He goes from kneeling on one knee to standing and belting out his song/poems and at the end of the evening he had enough energy to skip off the stage after each encore. But his music and poetry are what captivated the audience. Before a few of his songs he would recite a poem and then the song would be the poem and at times this synergy was so amazing. Most of his songs are about love - having love and losing it or extolling love or love gone wrong.

Some of the poetry almost lifted me right out of my seat it was so good.:) Have you ever felt that if you didn't place your hands on your chest that the joy you were feeling would make you lift out of your seat and float up to the ceiling? That is how I felt at this concert. He did many of his new songs in the first half. Then after a long intermission he came back and did "Suzanne", "So Long Marianne" and some of his other songs. People were recording during the whole performance without anyone stopping them. Also something I have never seen at a concert before. And he is so gracious he introduced his band and then gave each of the players a chance to perform a solo.

Leonard Cohen plays the guitar, six string guitar and electric piano. He played on many of his songs, but he also sang without his own accompaniment with just a hand held microphone. He told the audience that he was there to give his all and he did!! He sang "Hallelujah" in a way that I have never heard him sing it before and people were recording like crazy on that song. Then during one of his encores he performed "Famous Blue Raincoat" . On the second encore after having done three songs for the first one he sang "Closing Time" and his last song for his last encore was "Goodbye"*. After the concert I knew that I had seen a very special performance.

For anyone who would like to see him in concert there is a DVD of him performing in London that shows him in performance. If you like Tom Waits you will love Leonard Cohen. Cohen's voice is stronger and less gravelly than Tom Waits and I'll be surprised if you don't fall in love with this singer/songwriter/poet and want to see him in concert. Click on some of the links and check him out. You won't be sorry.:)

Do you think I liked the concert?:)

Let me know what you think of Leonard Cohen's music or if any of you have seen him in concert. Hello to the new readers who just joined me and thank you again to the ones who have been with me reading my crazy meanderings.

*Correction: According to DrHGuy who has an awesome blog that features everything you could ever need to know or want to buy about Leonard Cohen, the last song was "I Tried to Leave You". Sorry as I mentioned in my comment to him, I'm really bad about song names.:) He has a few of the videos from the performance I saw if you scroll down to the end. Also some very interesting merchandise including a not so PG bath towel.LOL Thank you again DrHGuy for pointing that out.

New item added and What a Great Show!

It's coming up on Halloween and we don't celebrate anymore. I used to decorate the house and the trees were webbed. We even set out stuffed people one Halloween with the umpteen pumpkins the girls had picked with me after we had our hayride and they dumped us in the fields. That was when we lived in a house on Long Island and raking leaves and buying pumpkins were fall activities for me. We even had a Halloween party one year with our backyard as a spooky place and one whole room of our house was also creepy. Halloween was a huge holiday for everyone in our house except, of course, my husband, who tried to avoid all the festivities and came home late from work those days.

My older daughter loved to dress up and I made her some crazy costumes. One was so bizarre. It was a half man half woman. I sewed together half a pair of pants with a skirt on the other half and we made her up with women's make up on one half of her face and the other had charcoal as a beard. She wore a shirt/blouse and two different kinds of shoes. She loved it.:) My younger daughter was content to get a costume from the store each year and the two of them would go off hand in hand to trick or treat in the square block area that was our neighborhood. I went along with them until they told me they were too old to have their mommy with them.:)

I was always afraid that they would come back with eggs all over them from the older kids who egged each other for fun! But they managed to avoid that and came home with their Trick or Treat bags filled with candy. Then I would not let them touch any of it until I went over it and checked to make sure there were no razor blades or open packages. Then I divided it into two different containers for them. They were then allowed to have only five pieces of candy that night. They didn't know that while they were Trick or Treating the neighborhood kids had come by and I'd given out the candy we had. But in between I was munching on the candy. Halloween was the best, because the guilt you felt all year about eating candy disappeared and you could eat as much as you wanted.:) Except the morning after came and I realized I had eaten half the candy!

Anyway the reason for all this Halloween stuff is I have put one of the most loved cartoons on the blog for your enjoyment. I'm going to try to change the movies until Halloween. Click on the banner and you will be able to see "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". Hurry, because this will only be here for a short while.:) Just a little gift for all you guys who have to wade through all my meanderings and still keep coming back!

Also want to say that my second show for Blog Talk Radio, Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages was so much fun today or should I say two days ago.:) My two guests, Elizabeth Spann Craig and Karen Hunter had so much to offer. What I loved was the great discussion we got into when Karen and Elizabeth and I just got together and talked. If you didn't listen you can click on the Blog Talk Radio icon here and go straight to my program. It is now in the archives and you can hear it at your convenience. I was very lucky to have Karen Hunter as my guest and I thanked my friend Nicole who suggested her to me. I think you will love this program because listening to Karen Hunter is just so interesting and fun. She even made me feel comfortable for one of the first times on the radio. After all this was only my second show.:)

Of course, during the show the first half was calm and silent where I was. Then Karen got on and in the middle of her interview my entire family came home. My husband not realizing I was not just on the phone, but on a radio show talking to I hope hundreds of people, asked me questions and wondered why I wasn't answering him. So he decided to put on the paper shredder and I could barely hear. Then my daughters came into the living room and one started spraying the windows for Asian beetles or as we call them "lady beetles" that are infesting our area. They were swarming in front of our door, but we used Raid and many of them died. But then they came back so we sprayed this people friendly spray in the house and I could stop vacuuming them up every few minutes.:) They're not mean bugs or even ones you need to fear, but somehow any bug that is swarming starts to become a problem. Way too many of them. I kept thinking about that house I went into one year when I was recruiting families to be host families for exchange students. One whole wall of their study was covered with what I thought were lady bugs, but they must have been these "lady beetles". If they get into your house and lay eggs that is what can happen. Yuck!!! So we sprayed and we'll pray they are kept out of our house. They deserve to live outdoors, but don't come into my house. That's my credo for bugs of all kinds.:)

I couldn't move out of where I was because I would be in the room with the bug spray that needed to dry to be safe. I hope that you can't hear the shredder in the background, but if you hear a strange noise you will know what it is.:)


This is continued for today in the next blog post, because of circumstances beyond my control. An explanation in the next post for anyone who wants to read it.:) By the way, isn't that the cutest ghost you have ever seen on the top of this post?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New item added and What a Great Show!

It's coming up on Halloween and we don't celebrate anymore. I used to decorate the house and the trees were webbed. We even set out stuffed people one Halloween with the umpteen pumpkins the girls had picked with me after we had our hayride and they dumped us in the fields. That was when we lived in a house on Long Island and raking leaves and buying pumpkins were fall activities for me. We even had a Halloween party one year with our backyard as a spooky place and one whole room of our house was also creepy. Halloween was a huge holiday for everyone in our house except, of course, my husband, who tried to avoid all the festivities and came home late from work those days.

My older daughter loved to dress up and I made her some crazy costumes. One was so bizarre. It was a half man half woman. I sewed together half a pair of pants with a skirt on the other half and we made her up with women's make up on one half of her face and the other had charcoal as a beard. She wore a shirt/blouse and two different kinds of shoes. She loved it.:) My younger daughter was content to get a costume from the store each year and the two of them would go off hand in hand to trick or treat in the square block area that was our neighborhood. I went along with them until they told me they were too old to have their mommy with them.:)

I was always afraid that they would come back with eggs all over them from the older kids who egged each other for fun! But they managed to avoid that and came home with their Trick or Treat bags filled with candy. Then I would not let them touch any of it until I went over it and checked to make sure there were no razor blades or open packages. Then I divided it into two different containers for them. They were then allowed to have only five pieces of candy that night. They didn't know that while they were Trick or Treating the neighborhood kids had come by and I'd given out the candy we had. But in between I was munching on the candy. Halloween was the best, because the guilt you felt all year about eating candy disappeared and you could eat as much as you wanted.:) Except the morning after came and I realized I had eaten half the candy!

Anyway the reason for all this Halloween stuff is I have put one of the most loved cartoons on the blog for your enjoyment. I'm going to try to change the movies until Halloween. Click on the banner and you will be able to see "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". Hurry, because this will only be here for a short while.:) Just a little gift for all you guys who have to wade through all my meanderings and still keep coming back!

Also want to say that my second show for Blog Talk Radio, Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages was so much fun today or should I say two days ago.:) My two guests, Elizabeth Spann Craig and Karen Hunter had so much to offer. What I loved was the great discussion we got into when Karen and Elizabeth and I just got together and talked. If you didn't listen you can click on the Blog Talk Radio icon here and go straight to my program. It is now in the archives and you can hear it at your convenience. I was very lucky to have Karen Hunter as my guest and I thanked my friend Nicole who suggested her to me. I think you will love this program because listening to Karen Hunter is just so interesting and fun. She even made me feel comfortable for one of the first times on the radio. After all this was only my second show.:)

Of course, during the show the first half was calm and silent where I was. Then Karen got on and in the middle of her interview my entire family came home. My husband not realizing I was not just on the phone, but on a radio show talking to I hope hundreds of people, asked me questions and wondered why I wasn't answering him. So he decided to put on the paper shredder and I could barely hear. Then my daughters came into the living room and one started spraying the windows for Asian beetles or as we call them "lady beetles" that are infesting our area. They were swarming in front of our door, but we used Raid and many of them died. But then they came back so we sprayed this people friendly spray in the house and I could stop vacuuming them up every few minutes.:) They're not mean bugs or even ones you need to fear, but somehow any bug that is swarming starts to become a problem. Way too many of them. I kept thinking about that house I went into one year when I was recruiting families to be host families for exchange students. One whole wall of their study was covered with what I thought were lady bugs, but they must have been these "lady beetles". If they get into your house and lay eggs that is what can happen. Yuck!!! So we sprayed and we'll pray they are kept out of our house. They deserve to live outdoors, but don't come into my house. That's my credo for bugs of all kinds.:)

I couldn't move out of where I was because I would be in the room with the bug spray that needed to dry to be safe. I hope that you can't hear the shredder in the background, but if you hear a strange noise you will know what it is.:)


This is continued for today in the next blog post, because of circumstances beyond my control. An explanation in the next post for anyone who wants to read it.:)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Muse Online Writers Conference Is Over!





Some of you may have wondered why I didn't post anything new this week. I was trying to attend the Muse Online Writers Conference and my time was spent reading and interacting with new people and learning about writing topics. However, due to my family needing me for everything this week I didn't spend as much time as I wanted at the conference.

Let me explain this conference for anyone who is unfamiliar with it. Imagine going to a writing conference in your pjs and having access to not only fellow writers but editors, publishers and agents. Yes, you can meet editors, publishers and agents as well as fellow writers at a usual writers conference. But can you attend in your pjs? Can you make dinner, do the wash, watch TV, talk to your children, get phone calls and still be at a conference? That is the Muse Online Writers Conference.

The Muse Online Writers Conference is the brainchild of Lea Schizas who must seriously have at least a few clones, because the woman is like Wonder Woman. She has created this conference for anyone who in the past was unable to attend a regular conference due to travel issues or being housebound or the expense. The conference is free and Lea invites writers, authors, publishers, editors, and agents to give workshops. The workshops run for the entire week with presenters doing planned chats and participating in a forum where participants have more access to the presenters. The presenters give out handouts that are the jewels of the conference. When you are signed up for the conference you are given a chance to gather as many handouts as you can download onto your computer. These are full of information and contain links to all sorts of wonderful things for writers. Even if you can't attend even one chat, the forum and the handouts are enough.

Unlike most conferences the emphasis is not all on marketing and published authors. Anyone who feels they have the ability to carry a chat and/or a workshop is invited to present. The variety of presenters is astounding and it's amazing that this can be put together by one person. This year Lea added a chance for writers to pitch their finished manuscripts to the publishers that were there. Of course, I learned about this too late or else I wasn't paying enough attention to it to do it. So I missed out. But we have another chance, because just as in a regular conference, publishers have opened their submissions for just attendees of this conference. We have a secret word and you won't get it out of me.:) I think I have written about my secret keeping abilities here, but if I haven't you have to take my word that I can keep a secret a long, long time!

The other great thing about the conference is all the new people you can meet. I found out there are at least three people who live near me and that was so exciting. I connected with all of them and I hope to meet them in person. At the end of the conference there is an awesome end of conference chat party too. You can actually have everything you would have at a conference with none of the expense or aggravation. I am definitely signing up for next year and all writers no matter if you are published or not should try to sign up too. I am going to be interviewing Lea in 2010 on my radio show, Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages.

So here's the good news for me. During this conference I took a workshop with Margot Finke, who some of you may know has a very respected name in children's writing. The title of this was: "Write As Tight As Granny's New Girdle". With a title like this who wouldn't want to take this workshop? Margot and I have been friends for years so I thought this would be fun. We had to post one page of our novel and she was going to comment and critique it. She does it professionally, so I was very nervous. I gave her the first couple of paragraphs of If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor and prayed I wouldn't need to change too much and that it was ready to be sent again to a publisher. Well, I am happy to say that she loved my excerpt and only told me to cut a few words and put in one word. I was so ecstatic I did the happy dance.LOL Any writers out there will know what I mean!

I have renewed confidence that this can be published and I am sending it out this week again. I mean the worst that can happen is I will get another rejection. At least it won't be lonely. I already have three there already.:)

That reminds me to tell you that this week I will be doing my second radio show and one of my guests is going to be Elizabeth Spann Craig. She will be discussing her novel, Pretty Is As Pretty Dies, which is a murder mystery set in a small southern town. I read it and enjoyed learning about life in that town. Elizabeth will also be my guest author here on the blog next week.

Her bio:
Like her characters, Elizabeth Spann Craig’s roots are in a small, Southern town. She grew up in Anderson, South Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood in the county library, staggering out with books by the armful.

Her magazine articles have appeared in both England and the United States.

She’s the mother of two and currently lives in Matthews, North Carolina. Between juggling room mom duties, refereeing play dates, and being dragged along as chaperone/hostage on field trips, she dreams of dark and stormy nights beside stacks of intriguing mysteries with excellent opening lines.

Here is a short review of the book:

Book Review of Pretty Is As Pretty Dies

Pretty is As Pretty Dies is the story of what happens when a small southern town is suddenly rocked by a series of murders. The first happens to one of the wealthiest and most feared women in the town in the church. The second occurs a few days after her death to one of the parishioners. Was someone bumping off the churchgoers of this town or was it a serial killer on the loose? Or was there something political involved here? The dead woman has so many enemies it is hard to see how she was able to stay alive this long.

Unfortunately for the police chief his mother, an active octogenarian, is on the case. This causes a problem for him, because his mother is always getting in his way. Could the editor of the town’s newspaper where the dead woman had a column, help to solve the mystery? Or is it the brilliant award winning writer from New York who shared column space with her and the chief’s mother? Was it a case of writing jealousy or did it have to do with the dead woman’s son?

All of these questions are answered in this short novel packed with excitement and tension. Very much in the vein of Miss Marple, the police chief’s mother weaves in and out of people’s lives trying to solve this mystery. In the process we learn about almost every member of the town and as the book progresses it is hard not to form your own opinion about who murdered this woman and why.

If you like the character of the police chief’s mother, Elizabeth Craig has written several novels featuring her and her brand of sleuthing. Also when you read the book you will understand why there are gnomes on the cover.

****************************************************************************
Please join me and Elizabeth Spann Craig on Thursday, October 22nd at 3PM Central time when we discuss this book and her writing and get to know her a little better. There will be another guest on the show to be announced. Hope to have lots of you listening. Remember if you miss the show at the time it is on live you can still hear it as a podcast on the website.

Until the next time, thank you to the new readers who are now reading my meanderings.:) Welcome and I hope that you continue to enjoy all of my ravings.:) To readers who have been here thank you too. Everyone wish me luck on my submission. Ah, can you imagine hundreds of fingers and toes crossed for me?LOL

Please leave comments. I would love to know if any of my new readers met me this week. Leave a comment here and let me know how you found out about this blog.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Trucker" Is A Pleasant Surprise!

left to right: Jimmy Bennett as Peter and Michelle Monaghan as Diane in "Trucker"


Michelle Monaghan and Jimmy Bennett in "Trucker"



Jimmy Bennett and Michelle Monaghan in "Trucker"


I won't lie. I was disappointed that no one commented on the last post. So I wrote my own comment just so I wouldn't see that sad zero staring at me.:)

Anyway, this has nothing to do with the last post, but it does show how my life is a little unusual. So I saw the ad for the independent film, "Trucker" in the local art film theater's schedule and I wasn't that interested. The name of the director intrigued me, because I knew someone who had the same last name and I wondered if maybe they were related. Well it turns out not only are they related, but my friend is the film maker's father!

His father and I met during the dark days after the 2004 election when no one wanted to believe that there had been election fraud in Ohio. But Nick felt we needed to do something and I feeling the same way decided to join him and a group of like-minded people who came to demonstrate with him. We were in the forefront of the whole movement, yet at the time people were still uncertain about being vocal about it. We stood out there with signs to honk and we did get more support than we thought. Remember this was December, 2004.

Anyway, getting back to the reason for this post, Nick and I know each other since then.:) So a few days ago I got this email from him inviting us all to go see his son's film, "Trucker".

"Aha," I said as I read the email. "They are related!" And now I needed to see the film. There's quite a bond between people who have stood in front of the FBI Building and demanded an investigation into the vote.:) (For anyone who would rather forget that election or feels there was no fraud, you can skip anything related to the demonstrating.:)) The thing is I needed to know more about this film before I commi
tted my entire family to seeing it.

I read the Marshall Fine review with the film info on the Jacob Burns Theater's website and was very happy to see that he gave it a good review. Also, I saw that Nathan Filian was in it and I knew that would be a drawing card for my younger daughter. Anyone who doesn't know who he is here is some information. Nathan Filian is adorable and sexy. He is an awesome actor who is genuine and natural. I don't think he has ever been given such a chance to express a character as in this film, but more later.



{Look at this picture. Women who are reading don't you agree?
Men you have the video interview of Michelle Monaghan.:)}


The review and Nathan Filian hooked my daughters and we hurried to get tickets. I figured this wasn't that necessary, but we thought it would be better to have them early and I did want to be there to support my friend. I pictured a half full theater, though Janet Maslin was going to be interviewing the director, James Mottern and one of the actors, actually the main actor, Michelle Monaghan after the movie. It was in the biggest theater too. Then the Roger Ebert review came out and I guess a lot of people came for Nick as well as the review. Also I found out they gave out free tickets to the theater's educational annex's staff. The theater doesn't have the usual stadium seating, but it is probably one of the most comfortable theaters in Westchester. When they ran out of seating folding chairs were set up against the second level. I had never seen that happen.:) The place looks very much like a more luxurious school auditorium.:)

"Trucker" My Review

"Trucker" is such an amazing film, because it is a throwback to the kinds of films made in the '70s as the director/writer said. However, what sets this film apart is that the main character is a woman. This woman is what John Wayne might be like if he were to come back as a woman and look like Michelle Monaghan.:) Diane is tough and good at what she does, which is being a trucker. She doesn't need men except for sex and she's like that lone cowboy who loves em and leaves em. However, there is a problem since her son's father - they never tell you if they were married or not- becomes ill with cancer and his live-in girlfriend played by Joey Lauren Adams has to attend her mother's funeral. There is no place for Diane's son now 11 years old and he must stay with her. Never having seen her and knowing only that she walked out on him as a baby this boy rebels and Diane tolerates his presence giving him minimal attention and dragging him around with her on jobs. Nathan Filian is her friend/drinking buddy and there is a ton of chemistry between them. Some reviews say that their relationship is undeveloped. Without giving anything away, I disagree. He is only playing the part of the virtuous ranch owner's wife or the woman who is married but has a man as a best friend. The roles are reversed. When you take the idea of a woman acting as a man it works. But you have to see it for yourself to understand this whole role reversal thing.

James Mottern has written a screenplay that is nuanced and doesn't pull punches. His direction is effortless and it shows in the performances from all of the characters including the boy. Having taught boys this age I recognized the expressions of a boy who is facing problems at home. His performance is natural and genuine. In fact, he is probably one of the best child performers I have seen this year. But the gem of this film is Michelle Monaghan who shows us from the very first scene she is a hard boiled trucker. Her demeanor is tough and yet she is still a woman. I remember her from films like "Gone Baby Gone" where I loved her performance. This blows away every female performance I have seen this year. Watching her is almost like watching a documentary of a woman trucker. I learned after the movie that she actually got her trucking license! So she did all the scenes herself! This performance is the one I have been waiting to see. If you wanted to see a woman's role where she didn't have to wear a lot of make up or a cat suit or be the butt of men's jokes or else be the wise girlfriend/wife this is it. Though I know I could never live that life, I admire anyone who could live the life of a trucker.

We didn't discuss it, but I think this film pays respect to the people who travel our highways night and day in huge tractor trailers bringing us everything from fresh produce, ice cream, bread and canned goods to appliances. Basically, truckers are the heart of our country and it's wonderful to see a movie that shows us how important they really are to us. Maybe next time you are next to a huge rig on the highway you will understand a little more about their lives. You must go see this film if only for Michelle Monaghan's performance and one of the best screenplays in years. James Mottern has made a truly American film that is honest and I am looking forward to seeing his next film.
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So wasn't it great that I was able to greet my friend and tell him how I felt without having to lie.:) Also, I was able to meet the writer/director, James Mottern and I was very excited to meet Michelle Monaghan. She is so different than her character in the film. Of course, I didn't get any photos so you have to believe me.:) It's true, though. She is really delightful in person and I wished I had more time to speak with her.

One more thing before I finish this. On Monday I will be attending The Muse Online Writers Conference which is the brainchild of Lea Schizzas who I think cloned herself years ago and never told anyone. She puts this conference together every year and this is the 4th conference. With almost a thousand conference goers this is a huge event. The great thing is unlike other conferences where you need to get dressed, etc. you can attend this one in your p j's or whatever.:) You can attend as many chats and workshops as you can handle. The conference runs a full week and keeping my fingers crossed that Lea will be my guest for my second radio show: Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages. This will be airing on Thursday, October 22nd on Blog Talk Radio at 3 PM Central time. If you listened last month the show was one hour earlier. This time it is going to be at the regular time. I hope you will tune in to hear my confirmed guest Elizabeth Spann Craig, who doesn't write short stories, but her novel is short.:)

Until the next time thank you to all the people who have friended me and I hope to learn more about you. Thank you too to my regular readers to whom I apologize since I haven't posted for a whole week. Does this one make up for it?

I would be interested to know if there is anything you would like to share about your own life? I think it would be fun to share one thing you don't mind sharing.:)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hooray for Librarians with Guts!



Reading Twitter can sometimes be repetitive and many times you aren't learning anything new that you want to learn.:) But occasionally Twitter can bring you to an old story or show you a new one that is developing. That is the case with this letter to a librarian about the children's book, Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen. Recently a woman sent an irate letter to this librarian asking that the book be either taken off the shelves or placed in another area where parents could monitor it. This kind of behavior has caused many books to be banned and removed from their local libraries. People would rather get rid of a book than allow their children to read material of which they don't approve. The librarian wrote a letter back to the woman explaining why this book needed to stay right where it was!

Being a children's writer I usually keep up with the new releases. So when this book was released this year it created a very big stir. But this book is harmless and deals with a very complicated issue in a very simple way. The idea of gay marriage has it opponents and proponents. But this children's book allows young children to understand what is happening here. As the librarian explains, this understanding and beautifully written book shows the story of a young girl who worries that she will lose her uncle if he gets married. The letter that was sent back to the woman was very thoughtful and explored every possibility. Though the story happened in July it is still very timely. It shows the power of words. This librarian's letter gives you hope that more people will be able to answer the narrow minded people who call for banning or hiding controversial books.

Until the next time thank you to my readers and to anyone who has just found these meanderings. I hope that some of you got a chance to hear my new show on Blog Talk Radio that had it's first airing last Thursday, called Red River Writers Tales from the Pages. Happy October!!!

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